If you’re in the same boat as the typical American, your dilemma might look something like this:

You’re enduring some type of chronic illness, over-stressed and rushed, unrewarding job, little or no savings, greatly in debt, fat mortgage, two vehicles in the driveway with a 5 or 7-year loan on each, lots of gadgets and toys to keep you occupied, huge TV, little free time for yourself due to your career and a demanding spouse, weekends filled with church and/or senseless entertainment, and a bathroom cabinet heavily stacked with pharmaceutical tic tacs to help cope with the emptiness of it all.

This is probably you and it’s OK. This is considered normal in America. You are a success. You’ve achieved the American Dream. Your obedience and education and hard work have paid off. Congratulations.

But the problem is that you’re miserable and shallow and quite possibly unhealthy and a little dispirited and you’ll likely die of either heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or suicide in the not so distant future — statistically speaking.

Or you’ll make it to old age with this all too common deathbed regret — wishing you had the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life of what others expected of you.

Despite living in the richest country on the planet with a gargantuan military (and budget) to keep you so-called “safe,” you’re frightened and unhappy more than ever before. Seems your material abundance and chronic hustle and “good citizen” ideals have done nothing for your happiness or well-being.

In fact, this status chasing, security-obsessed, hurried American lifestyle is draining you of your life energy. It’s killing you. It has been for some time. And you feel it.

The reason you don’t feel alive is because you aren’t alive. You’re merely going through the motions in a fast-paced, consumer-centered culture that has transformed our once beautiful land into an asphalt wasteland strewed with digital billboards, fast food joints, soulless malls, and complete carnage.

Your constant craving for objects and status (the American way) has robbed your life of its freedom and creative zest. You live routine and stressed and you’re chained to a sluggish and predictable way of living.

The less you are inwardly the more you feel the need to buy buy buy. And the more you buy the more hours you need to put in at a useless job that has your stomach riddled with ulcers. Or you go deeper into debt. Or likely both.

The less-developed you are as a mindful person the more susceptible you are to the psychological conditioning of the cultural engineers. The less you’re able to express yourself as a vitally alive human being the deeper the need is for you to hide behind luxuries and status.

You’ve become what they needed you to become. And you’re sick because of it.

You’re trying so goddamn hard to keep up with the Joneses because you lack in BEING. You can’t afford that “hey-look-at-me” lifestyle that you flaunt around but it helps decorate and perpetuate your otherwise empty image.

It’s not all your fault. You’re a victim of a fucked-up culture and the indoctrination system we call “education.” You were raised and molded in a distorted environment. Who you are today is a manifestation of the social arrangements you were accidentally and randomly born into.

But it’s not natural and it’s killing you — this American life you’re living.

Your life is so much more precious than the automaton it has become. I think deep down you feel it, you know it. But it’s hard to break free from the chains that you can’t see or the shackles you were taught to adore.

In spite of a so-called thriving economy in the land of plenty, a great number of people still feel insecure, lonely, depressed, and suffer from a lack of enthusiasm over the miracle of their own existence. We’re all bogged down and life doesn’t make sense to us because we’re living so far from our nature as humans.

Many of us, if not most, are too thoughtlessly caught up in the facade of culture to see what we’ve become as modern people — alienated, mindless consumers patting each other on the backs for our worldly success at the expense of wreaking havoc on our inner lives and the entire ecosystem that sustains us.

We’ve been led, and yes, I do mean led, deliberately so, by persuasive, scheming forces into believing we can buy our way to security, to happiness, and, even on a deeper level, to immortality.

Our deluded industrialized mindset, manufactured for us generation after generation, has us chasing empty pleasures and glittering gadgets at the cost of turning us into over-medicated debt-serfs.

We the people of the United States have been led far away from the vibrant American spirit of Emerson, Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. Instead of living poetic lives close to the earth with little possessions, we barricade ourselves behind drywall and plastic and sit in front of screens, constantly buying things we don’t need to impress assholes who are doing the same thing.

We prize HAVING over BEING, material possessions over experiences. We have contempt for nature these days and are too engrossed in the mechanical ways of living to truly FEEL what it means to be alive on this planet.

Even the devout Christians among us, as far as I can see, are more influenced by our diseased culture than the “give it all away” teachings of Jesus.

Christians tend to be up there with the most materialistic people among us, which is ironic because they supposedly follow the teachings of the least materialistic human known to man.

The culture of materialism and consumerism is our God. Yes, even among the devout.

The cultural programming runs deep and it’s clear to see that our hearts and minds have been severed from the sacred.

It’s an empty existence, this object-oriented world we live in, and everyone knows it on a spiritual level. It’s not where it’s at.

We’ve all been lured into the trap which is why we’re so busy all the time running from one lame obligation to the next.

Quit doing things you hate to impress the faceless people among us.

Decondition yourself from culture, quit suppressing your uniqueness, travel to places that frighten you a bit, learn to embrace silence and solitude a few times a week. And most importantly — you must awaken from your culturally-induced slumber and try to find simple joy among the sacred.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

That’s where it’s at — it’s where the fullness of life reveals itself to us. Simplify, simplify, simplify, and become one with yourself

It’s no secret that the happiest people on the planet are those who live with little. With little leaves more freedom and playtime to discover our true creative genius within — our true nature. We all have it.

Become the person you are, and perhaps would have been, before culture contaminated you and brought you into disharmony with yourself.

You can choose to live your life in the vital mode of BEING rather than the empty mode of HAVING.