Circumstances change, but the human experience doesn't. Rich, famous, poor, homeless. Addicted to drugs, obsessed with sports. Whatever the human life looks like on the outside, a soul is a soul, trying to find home in this world.
Whenever you look at someone who has something you want, ask yourself, do they really have that thing I want? Sure, they have the house. They have the car. They have the job. But is that what you really want? Or is it something else, something deeper than those things?
The truth is, what you want goes far beyond what any house, car, or job could give you. You want an ever-present sense of uplifting joy, passion, love, excitement, enthusiasm. You want to feel ecstasy every waking hour of the day.
You've just been conditioned to see those external things - the house, the car, the job - as a means to your well-being, and anything that gets in the way of you getting them needs to be eliminated, according to what society tells you. We build our lives around making sure these obstacles don't stand in our way, and some of us do whatever it takes to ensure we get those things.
But at the end of the day, what happens to people who achieve everything they ever think they wanted? They end up broke, empty, alone. They've reached what they thought was the pinnacle of success, only to find that it's quite empty.
Why is this?
It's because they were searching in the wrong place. They devoted their life's energies to searching for a pot of gold that was promised at the end of the rainbow, only to arrive after many years of being lied to.
There's no pot of gold once something happens - once you get something, once you go somewhere.
That's perhaps the biggest lie society tells us, that we need something out there in the world for our well-being. Never mind marketing, which tells us that we need particular products to be happy. Look at the deeply engrained scripts our society inculcates into our kids from a very young age. It's all about building a safe, productive, and successful external life.
Very, very little about the internal life. Yet, ironically, that's where it all points. All the worldly affairs that we strive towards - they all point to a desire for a better inner state. For some reason, we just fail at recognizing that truth. It's as if the world knows it, but thinks everything will fall apart once we admit this truth. Are we really scared of something better, simply because it's unknown?
Why has this lie become so pervasive? Why have so few of us uncovered this lie, and then lived a life according to truth?
Perhaps because it's hard work? But isn't it also hard work to spend your life trying to achieve things you think will make you happy? Where is the middle ground?
At the end of the day, these are all worthwhile questions to ask ourselves. This exploration of where and how to cultivate inner fulfillment is a quest of a lifetime. But it's also a quest of now, wherever you are.
If there's one thing that I know to be true, now is all we have. Ask yourself, where are you now? Really, where are you?
If you realize you're not fully here, then perhaps that's your first signpost pointing back to the truth you seek.
Live with substance!