The One Thing We Take Most For Granted
I was recently talking to my girlfriend about whether or not the 1969 moon landing was real, because she had just watched a conspiracy video about it. Regardless of what I, or she thought about the landing, I brought up the fact that it's important to question things we take for granted.
So I thought about some big concepts in our lives that very few people question.
What came to mind is the following: when we are feeling unsatisfied in our current situation, we tend to immediately look at our external conditions to figure out what's wrong.
It seems obvious, right? Something's wrong. It must be in the outside world. I must go fix it. Nothing earth shattering there.
But very, very few of us stop and realize that what we're doing is perhaps the most ludicrous and pointless thing we could ever do. Trying to "fix" everything on the outside, just so we can feel good on the inside, creates a never-ending cycle of doom.
It never works long-term.
As soon as we fix one thing, we're tasked with maintaining that thing, and then finding another thing to fix.
Let's say you're dissatisfied with your current job, and you feel you need to make a change. So immediately, you assume the job is the problem. You never stop to question if you're the problem. "I'm unhappy at work. It must be the job!"
You're so unhappy that you do everything in your power to find a job that will fill you up and give you meaning. Soon your life is consumed around finding that dream job, and complaining about your current job.
And then one day, miraculously, you get the new gig! Alas! Things are amazing. You feel fulfilled. You feel satisfied. You're truly happy.
As routine sits in, you start to cling to that job. You become fearful that one day you'll lose it. You start to hold on to it tighter and tighter. You use your interactions with your coworkers as a way to hold on tighter. You fear taking risks because you fear losing the one thing that fulfills you. Your identity becomes your job. With a new identity, you see everything through the lens of that job. In other words, you're not seeing clearly anymore. It's all about keeping the job and making sure nothing else changes.
You may appear happier on the surface, but deep down, everything is about the job.
What was once a dream, is now a reality, and now you're faced with a new problem. Maintaining that reality.
You see, the problem never lies in the outside world. Sure, there are problems out there, but I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about you, in there, suffering because things aren't the way you want them to be.
Fundamentally, there's two different ways we can go about finding an inner sense of well-being.
1) We go through life trying to change our external conditions to constantly meet our personal preferences.
2) We learn to work with what's inside and let go of the part of us that creates preferences in the first place.
A wise being realizes that reality and the moments happening in front of us are not the result of our doing. Sure, you can type a word on a computer, or call a group of people into a meeting room. But did you invent the computer? Did you create all those people in the room? Did you build the walls around you? Did you organize everbody's life so that they'd end up right there, right now, with you?
You soon start to realize that you have absolutely nothing to do with what's happening around you.
You're just a piece of a puzzle that is large beyond comprehension.