Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Goal of Life

The post I wrote last week about chasing likes made me question everything else in my life. Where am I headed? What is it I hold dear, and what, exactly is the goal of my life? Up until this week, I would say I've had a foot each on two different horses. One horse is headed toward self-realization and service to humanity. The other horse is headed toward name and fame, wealth, love, and making money doing what I love.

When I realized accolades and accomplishments don't have any lasting effect, that they don't make me happy for long, I started to wonder about the other things I've been chasing after. What about the desire to be a best-selling author? Or to find a great love? Or to make a living writing and talking about spirituality? That last one could turn into a whole separate blogpost, but for now, all I'll say is I've realized I don't have to monetize everything in order for it to be valuable.

Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to see this in person, but should that be the goal of my life?
Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to see this in person, but should that be the goal of my life?

What about all those once-in-a-lifetime experiences? All the places I've traveled to? Is that the goal of my life? Should it be? Chasing experience after experience? My dear friend Amal Jacobson discussed this in an essay he wrote about such an experience. He said, “But what did it all amount to? Experiences I could pocket away like fashion accessories? Something I could uselessly recount to somebody someday as proof that I had lived?” That's been the case for me. When I want to seem exciting and interesting I'll trot out a travel story, or casually mention that time I did whatever. But for what? As proof I lived?

I'm going to quote the great bard himself, William Shakespeare, who said:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
In the end, the things I've longed for will crumble into dust. My life is but a brief candle, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing unless I change which horse I'm riding. I'm coming to the same conclusion as Jim Carrey who said, “I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it's not the answer.” I think you're right Jim, those things are not the answer. Infinite happiness does not come from finite objects, it can only come from something infinite. That something is God/cosmic consciousness/brahma/higher power/source – an entity with many names. I will gladly accept blessings along the way such as a great love, but I can no longer make finite things the goal of my life.

It's become clear to me that the goal of my life is to merge with the Supreme and to help others along the way. To be of service in any way I can, but to recognize first and foremost I am an instrument. I am a finite self looking for an infinite Self and nothing short of that will give me the infinite happiness I seek. I get glimpses of infinity when I meditate – not all the time, but enough to assure me I'm headed in the right direction. I have that wish for others too.

I dream of a world where we all take a look at what the goal of our lives is. A world where we recognize what will give us the happiness we truly seek. A world where we each dance with the divine and awaken the spirit within.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

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