So last week I asked you to focus this week on two questions: Who am I? What do I want?
These are questions that are at the heart of all practical ethics, philosophy, and psychology. By flip of a coin I decided to take “What do I want?” first.
I assume that whatever the list you have is it probably boils down to one of four things:
- Things you would like other people to do (child succeeding in life, having better coworkers, world peace)
- Physical items or actions that require you to make money to pay for them (new house, money in the bank, etc.)
- Relationship (love, etc.)
- Accomplishments that you need to do (a bucket list basically)
Now, if I forgot something I’m sure it will still fit into what I’m about to say.
First off do you have any power to control these things (for the moment let’s ignore the law of attraction, the idea that your thoughts help create the world around you and just focus on what you have control over in a simple physical world)? The Lotto ticket, the behavior of others, world peace. You have little control over these things. Scratch those off the list for the moment because if you’re only focused on what you can’t control you’ll often ignore what you do have control over.
The next thing I want to ask, does your list include one of the following? “To achieve Happiness” or “To achieve Enlightenment.” No? But isn’t that what everything else is for, to be Happy? To be complete? Add at least one of those to your list.
Now, in light of that last addition (kudos if you already had it on the list) the next question is will what is left on your list actually bring you happiness? If the answer is no, then strike it off the list.
Now you probably have a few things left like a healthy sum of money or having a job you enjoy. With something like money, money is a very nice thing and I have no problem with it, but understand mostly of what you want it for is not the lavish lifestyle it could bring, but for the safety it offers. If you have money, if you own your own house, car, whatever free and clear, if you’re completely out of debt there is security in that. I’d be a fool to deny it. But understand that security, while wonderful, is hard to buy. Disease strikes the poor and rich alike, despite what people who whine about universal health care claim, accidents can hit everyone. I’m not saying don’t seek the safety net money provides, you’d be crazy not to seek it to some degree, but understand you’re going to die one way or another, so it matters more how you live what time you have than delay and say I’ll live when I have X.
So we should be down to the things that will make you happy (which strangely enough often bring money with them). I do foresee however that there may be some things left on the list that you wish were different but don’t realize that you already have the power to change. Probably the most common is that you want a better job. Fair enough. But understand most us don’t have a perfect job with a high salary, good hours, rewarding work, great bosses, coworkers, subordinates and customers. If you do you are blessed. Most of us don’t. But you need to realize most of us are also not working for a pittance (yes, I realize with Obama in office some of us may be, but I’m envisioning someone reading this meditation long after that useless ass is gone), bad hours, meaningless work stupid and vicious bosses, terrible coworkers, horrific subordinates, and god-awful customers. The jobs I’ve ever had didn’t have everything terrible (and I’ve had some jobs you wouldn’t do for twice the salary I was being paid). We’re usually somewhere in the middle. Yes some of us have a truly horrific or even no job…but most of us aren’t in that horrific situation, and if you aren’t at the far end of the spectrum, understand it’s perspective on your job that makes it miserable or fulfilling. The issue is often that if you are doing everything you can, even significantly less than perfect situations can be quite enjoyable…and there are lots of situation that aren’t your job but are comparable in that you first have to ask are you giving everything you should before you should ask for something better.
A word on relationships. I’m probably not the best person to ask as I am currently single. However I will say I have realized settling doesn’t lead to happiness. You want a relationship with a person who is perfect for you…not just a relation for the sake of having a relationship. And really finding that relationship may not be in your power to bring it sooner rather than later, so enjoy what relationships you do have (friends, family, etc)
So this week, and sorry for being a little late, I want you to go back over your list. With these thoughts in mind does the list look any different? And whether it does or not are these items just on a list or are you actively working toward them? And how are you going to act after any realizations you come to?