Have you ever felt like your whole life has been building up to something, but that you’ve never really arrived?
Do you ever get that anxious feeling like there’s something you’re supposed to do, or that time is running out?
Are you always thinking of the future at the expense of the moment?
It happens to all of us and it’s the route of so much anxiety. So What’s the rootof it all?
The famous philosopher Alan Watts once said:
“Don’t you remember when you first went to school and suddenly there was a path already laid out before you?”
Before you’d just been playing in the sand, now your teacher begins telling you all the things you’re going to learn and all the things you have to do in your life in order to become part of ‘The World.’
And you’re captivated…It’s like an oracle is telling you your future. So you climb aboard this ship that is your life and begin to sail.
You go through your first year at school and there’s this pressure to learn so that you can do well in the next year, and before you know it you’re sitting your first exams, and this is the moment you’ve been preparing for your whole life…or so it seems.
And then you’re in secondary school and it’s a whole new world, and you sit down with your new classmates and your new teacher tells you that all of that was just child’s play, and that now you will be really learning, and there’s all this stuff to prepare you for.
So you go on up the years and there are more tests and more pressure, and then you graduate from secondary school and someone sits you down again and says:
“OK, so you made it this far, but that was just a stepping stone, and now you need to study hard to go to college, and university, and if you ever want to be a part of the ‘real world’ you better do well, or else!”
So you go to college and you go to university and every step gets harder and harder and there’s more pressure, and when you finally graduate you go out into this famous world…
And there you begin the struggle for success in the workplace.
And again it’s like there’s a ladder before you and you have to do well so you can get a promotion and climb up the next rung, so that you can have that house and that mortgage you’ve always been told about.
And somewhere along the line, maybe when your 40 or 45, in the middle of your life you wake up and go:
“Huh…I’ve arrived. And you know what I feel just about the same as I’ve always felt, in fact I don’t know if I don’t feel a little cheated.”
Again, stop me if this sounds familiar…
And some people work all their lives until they’re 60 or 65 and when they retire they say “Aha! Finally I can live my life…but now I’m old and have no teeth, and a bad hip, and two bad knees, and I can’t climb that mountain I’ve always wanted to climb, or skinny dip in that lake because I’m all saggy and old and I don’t want people to look at me anymore.”
Because you see you were fooled…You are always living for somewhere you aren’t.
And when you finally get to that future and it becomes now, you’ve not really there, because you’re living in some other future that hasn’t happened yet.
And so you will never be able to truly inherit the fruits of your actions.
You can’t really live at all…unless you live fully…now.
One morning a violinist stood in the middle of a subway station in Washington DC and began to play. He played for nearly an hour, and in that time no more than a handful of people stopped to listen. He made about $50.
This was the great violinist Joshua Bell who has commanded millions of dollars playing in the some of the greatest venues in the world. The case where people threw their change usually housed a $1,000,000 violin.
You see people are so engaged in attempting to climb this invisible ladder, that they never actually stop to appreciate the beauty in the world all around them.
And their anxiety springs from the fact that they are always reaching for something that they cannot grasp, so they will never be happy with what they have, because they’re always looking for something more.
Forever is not a point far in the future, or something that happened a long time ago. Forever is now!
So Live Forever!
In Part Three…
In part three I will tell you about The Wall. This is the moment in your life when you feel you cannot go on, when some insurmountable object lies in your way. I’m going to tell you how I came across The Wall and how I got around it.
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