When you've been on a spiritual path long enough, you start to realize that life isn't about going anywhere, getting anything, or becoming anything different than what you already are. With wisdom comes the realization that at your core, you already are everything you've been searching for.
You come to realize that the money, the fame, the job, the relationship, the life circumstances that you so crave, are all just triggers that ultimately point to the same thing - the feeling of being fully alive.
Before our awakening, we know that certain things turn us on, but we don't really know why. We don't even care why. Knowing that something makes us feel good is enough reason to pursue it. So we build a life out of getting what we want, and avoiding what we don't want, all in hopes that we feel fully alive.
We equate more money to more freedom. We equate a better job to more meaning. We equate nicer things to more status and recognition from others. And then we go to work on getting those things.
We think the purpose of our lives is to get something, go somewhere, become someone other than who we already are.
While there's absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying what material things the world has to offer, it's a dangerous game when we think that's all there is to life. This is when life becomes a struggle. This is when we get depressed. This is why life seems so unfair - because our desires of getting things and fears of avoiding things don't always align with how reality unfolds. In fact, they rarely do.
So a wise person catches onto this game and wakes up from the slumber. They realize that the game they've been playing is really a never-ending cycle, like a dog chasing its tale. Maybe some temporary relief comes along here and there. But sooner or later, the dog is spinning again, just like the hamster tries to run up the wheel.
Underneath this chasing is someone doing the chasing. When we can learn to return to our true essence and reclaim the part of us that is searching, the part of us that is guiding the underlying force that drives our actions, then we begin to realize that many of our worldly efforts are in vain.
There is no need to keep wanting, wishing, and waiting for someday in the future for things to get better. Those who are well into the second half of their lives realize that this strategy doesn't quite work. It's why people have mid-life crises. They wake up halfway through their lives and realize that the way they've been doing it hasn't paid off yet. It's no wonder why most of us experience this pain at some point or another in our lives.
Of course we do, for all of the above reasons.
We don't win this game of life by devoting ourselves to getting things, going places, or becoming someone. We win this game of life when we return to our true essence of who we are in this moment, no matter what's happening around us.
We win this game of life when we can participate with reality without being burdened by our fears and desires. We win this game of life when we realize that the freedom we're searching for is always right here, right now, if we know where to look.
It's rare that a single article or teaching will unlock the truth. However, they can certainly point to it. Let this be a pointer to what you already know to be true, but perhaps haven't spent enough time observing.
Perhaps you start to devote your life to finding this truth. What you continue to look for out there, has, and always will be, in here. You just have to keep looking.
Live with substance!