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Archive for January, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

“Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?”

As a child you probably asked this question at one time or another and, if you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard it from your child as well.  “When are we going to get there?”  As adults we ask:  “When am I going to meet my partner?  When am I going to get that job I love?  When am I going to get my raise?  When am I going to have a great meditation practice?  When am I going to get into that yoga pose?  When am I going to be happy?  When am I going to be free?”

From the beginning of time we’ve been told that as soon as we get “there” or get “that,” then and only then – we will be happy.  We will be successful.

What a carrot to be chasing!

Somewhere in the process of self-exploration I realized that living for some future goal was a lie.  When I discovered this I decided that I wasn’t going to wait until something occurred before I was going to be happy.  I was going to be happy right now.  So I stopped setting goals.  I went from day-to-day, and life seemed to be okay for a while.  Then I discovered that I was depressed.  I felt aimless and life seemed pointless.  Sure I was enjoying the moment, but something was missing.  After some deep reflection I realized that I didn’t have a purpose.  I was just being.  In fact, “just being” had become my new goal . . . just to be.  I wasn’t going to get caught up in all that future planning stuff.  But I was still depressed.

Something was wrong.  I felt like I had been lied to again.  It was at this point that I discovered that next to every truth stands a lie.  Here is a truth:  “Always tell the truth.”  That’s a good truth.  But then there’s a guy standing next to me with a gun to my head saying he says he kills people who drink water.  When he asks me if the cup of water on my desk is mine, I say, “No!”  I lied.  In this situation, a lie is okay.  In fact, it’s considered smart.

So now with this new awareness of “next to every truth stands a lie,” I began to think about my own decision not to set goals, not to live in the future, or to think that I would be happy when something occurred.

I realized that I need goals to work toward.  When I do this it gives me a purpose and a sense of contributing to a bigger picture.  I also realized that achieving the goal, did not always mean or guarantee I would be happy.  It just meant that I had arrived at a certain point.  I realized that I had to enjoy the process of moving toward the goal in order for me to experience joy.  It also meant that I had to enjoy the process of doing things that were scary.  I had to risk and enjoy doing things I had never attempted or done before.  I had to make mistakes, and as strange as it might sound, I had to enjoy making those mistakes.  In the process of struggling toward my goal I discovered that I would occasionally disappoint others and myself.  And, when I got to my goal – I had to set another goal.  I had to keep going.  There always seems to be a next step, another hill to climb.

A friend once told me, “When you think you have arrived at your destination – put ETC on there.  ETC stands for Eternally Traveling Consciousness.”  So, when you think you have arrived – keep going.  There is more joy to be discovered.  Enjoy the process of the moment as you climb that next hill, and when you arrive at the top of that hill give yourself some words of appreciation, and then look forward toward your next adventure as you experience the freedom of being in the moment.

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