Everyone is longing for something in life. We all have goals; some short term, some long term. Goals to be somewhere other than where we are today, to be someone other than who we are, to have more money so we have a bigger house or an even nicer car, to have a life partner because we want to be loved, etc…
When we have a goal, we wake up in the morning and are excited to start our day. We think about our goal and work hard toward achieving it because we think if we get there, we will feel alive and happy.
And then after all the struggle, and overcoming obstacles, we will finally reach our goal if we are good achievers. And that feels wonderful; we feel proud, confident, happy and hopeful that we can almost do anything we want in life.
We feel a sense of accomplishment. We feel ecstatic. Our boss praises us for our achievements, our partner is proud of us and our children look up to us and want to follow in our footsteps.
Why Does It Feel Good to Achieve Goals?
What are we feeling at this moment that feels so great? If we look deep within for the answer, we will realize that the driving force behind these achievements is an emptiness; a lack of something meaningful and crucial that we have experienced before but have lost.
Of course, this may be difficult to see initially, especially since we have a feeling of pleasure that comes from achieving success. But if we look deeper, we will see that it is actually something a lot more profound than that.
Our Ultimate Desire
Our ultimate desire has been to feel that at least for the time being, we put an end to our struggles; we gain a sense of not needing to do anything else but to just be; we gain a feeling of being whole and complete. What we crave is peace.
We have our boss’s approval, we have our partner’s love and our children’s attention and admiration; we have accomplished what we wanted; we are done. Peace is really what we have been trying to achieve all along;
After we reach this state of “peacefulness” and a few days pass, we realize that our boss seems to have forgotten about our achievement, our partner criticizes us for doing something, and our kids seem to have a mind of their own and don’t follow our orders any longer.
Suddenly we feel that sense of “peace” in us fading. Now we need to do it again, except this time we need to work harder at it, do it better, bigger and more noticeable.
What Are We Saying to Ourselves When We Set These Goals?
What we are saying to ourselves is that we have a need and don’t have what we need but one day we will have that and then all will be good.
We are telling ourselves that we “need” to be with a life partner to be happy, we “need” to drive a nice car to feel good about ourselves, we “need” our kids to admire us; otherwise, we are not good parents.
Unconsciously, what we are saying with all that, is that we want our partner, our boss or our kids to fill our emptiness. To heal our injured, fearful and inadequate selves.
When We set Goals, We Have Hopes and Vice Versa
Setting goals makes us hope for a better something. When we hope, we are saying to ourselves, that even though at the moment we feel inadequate, we will one day be complete.
So we keep seeking a better future by setting new goals because we are not where we want to be yet. And when we think we are not where we want to be, we will be restless. That’s why we depend on hope. That’s why we have a “need’ for it in our lives. That’s why some of us die without it.
We become attached to this “hope” and constantly set goals and make plans because it gives us a sense of liveliness and activeness; and peace of mind.
But What If We Never Reach Our Goals? What If We Reach Them But We Feel We Want More?
The problem is that the peace of mind or the sense of positive energy that we achieve from reaching our goals is not derived from our soul or real being. It may calm the mind; but only temporarily.
It is not real; it doesn’t serve the soul in any way. It is a mask that helps us survive for as long as we can hold on to it. It helps us survive by hiding our flaws. it helps us hide our weaknesses, loneliness, and insecurities.
What Happens When the Hope Goes Away?
Hope is only a mask to hide our needs and emptiness. So when it’s gone, the mask will disappear, and we come face to face with our fears and insecurities. Therefore, since we have no control over everything that happens to us in life, the positive energy that we get from hoping is very temporary. The liveliness and the peace unexpectedly turn into anxiety, depression, and feeling of inadequacy. Suddenly, we become restless and paralyzed.
To avoid feeling depressed, we constantly search for ways of feeling good about ourselves. We find it absolutely necessary to go from one goal to the next because it gives us hope; our happiness and peace depend on it.
If we don’t, depression kicks in and we abandon ourselves. We stop having fun and enjoying our lives. We are attached to our goals because they give us hope to live. Without them, we feel lonely, bored, scared and unworthy.
So many have committed suicide due to this exact dilemma. When they lost hope, they faced their emptiness which is part of the process of reaching inner peace. Where they went wrong though, was when they abandoned themselves at the first experience of emptiness.
At that point, they relied on alcohol and drugs or they ended their lives when they felt vulnerable. If they had more patience and knowledge that peace is just around the corner, they could have practiced being without their masks; they could have reached acceptance. Through tolerating the pain, they could have found ultimate peace.
Basically, they lost hope, depression kicked in and they felt paralyzed. Couldn’t see a way out! Because in their knowledge, peace only resulted from feeling no pain;
The Solution-End the Struggle
Now, what if we knew that everything we want and need, we already have right now, here in this moment?
What if everything that we want to feel as a result of these achievements already exists in us?
The confidence and security, the courage, the love, the compassion and the peace which are parts of our soul, parts of our existence, are already within us.
These qualities are our real wealth; our being and our truth. They don’t depend on the outside forces. They are independent of what goes on in the external world. Once we have access to them, they grow big within us.
What if we could find a way to be in touch with this wealth within us and discover our truth?
What if we ended our struggles and our suffering by discovering this path to our inner peace?
Is it possible to achieve what billions of people are struggling to have in their lives with just accepting the fact that what we want already exists in us? By surrendering to the fact that we are already complete, whole and adequate? That we don’t need to do anything to measure up? That we don’t need anything or anyone outside us to give us that harmony and contentment?
What if we eliminate the feeling of pleasure to feel at peace with reality?
I’m not saying at all that we need to give up on our hobbies, jobs, homes, boats, and partners. If we enjoy being with these things, that’s all great. But our peace must not depend on external factors that we have no control over or things that we must own to be happy.
All of these goals are the result of an emptiness deep within us that we try to patch up with falsehood.
We hold on so tightly to these goals and dreams as masks to help us hide from our deficiencies. Without these masks, we feel anxious, lost, hopeless and empty.
When We Accept Hopelessness, We Reach the Ultimate Peace
The solution to this feeling of despair is actually simple: When we accept reality not as part of our journey to finding our inner peace but as accepting it for what it is regardless of its effect on us, we reach our ultimate peace.
“What does that mean exactly,” You may ask…It means that we are aware and know that reality is not always fun and in fact sometimes very painful and difficult to tolerate but we are at peace with it. And more importantly, we don’t accept it so we can benefit from it. We accept it because we understand it.
It means that we stop trying to be somewhere other than where we are, we stop expecting ourselves to be a certain way to measure up in society and we allow our feelings to be there. When we are at peace with our feelings; we are at peace with reality.
Our real peace, inner confidence, and inner strength are part of our essence which is our true nature; our true being and real wealth which is only within us. This “wealth” is not money, fame, or pride; it’s not even our family.
Having said that, having access to this inner wealth, will help us bond deeper with others and create richer and more meaningful relationships, become productive and enjoy the simple things in life. However, we will be completely unattached to the results and at peace with reality.
When we choose to stay depressed it means that we are unaware of this valuable asset and the divine being within us.
If you have anything to share, I’d love to hear your comments below.
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