It is often stated in much literature that we should live without goals, yet many people end up realising that living without plans is harder than what they originally thought. Taking this path often frustrates friends who do make plans, and it can leave you home alone with your thoughts on a Saturday night. So why would we want to live without goals?
None duality, Buddhism and many eastern ideals discuss the importance of the present moment. Anguish can be found in the past and worrying often belongs to the future. This tied in with a rampaging ego can be detrimental to the human psyche over time. So it is often taught that future goals and expectations (which are tied in with the ego) can lead to emotional harm. And one of the most important lessons on this line of thought deals with our emotional ties to possessions.
Buddhism in particular speaks a lot about the unhealthy link between physical objects we want (such as money, cloths, housing, mobile phones and so forth) and our happiness. It goes a little something like this… If I get that car I will finally be satisfied. If I just get that job it will make me happier. If I find a partner it will solve all of my problems. If I don’t have that new Samsung S8 or the new Iphone I won’t be as popular and this will make me sad.
Tying our emotional status to physical objects is fleeting at best. This thought has been implemented in our brain by professional marketers that told us that this is the case. So, you get the high from searching, the nerves from waiting, and then finally you are relieved that you received your physical object… but then what? How long does that high last?
Obviously these types of highs are temporary. They are short term stimulus for the brain, and once you own the item it instantaneously loses its emotional value, just like a car loses its price value the moment you drive it out of the dealership.
Not long after purchases are made we begin to focus on other things we can buy just like a junkie searching for their next fix. The sales market arena are well aware of our emotional ties (because they created many of them) and therefore they continue to market at our emotional weaknesses and insecurities. Yet as purchasing these items never fully satisfies we remain unsatisfied and constantly trying to fill the void. It’s much like pouring water into a cup with a hole at the bottom of it.
The above explanation almost makes it sound like we are addicts, and in many ways, we are. Much like eating food to ignore emotions, reaching for that cigarette, dope or alcohol to satisfy that empty feeling within ourselves, we feel like we are on an endless pursuit. But where does it all end?
Let’s say you win the lottery. Does this solve all of life’s problems? Of cause it does… Having money worked well for John Belushi, Jimi Hendix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Amy Whinehouse didn’t it. Ahem… And these guys didn’t just have money, they also had fame, people that adored them and everything that they were told would satisfy them in life. Yet it didn’t work for these people because material things do not fulfil our greater needs.
So if having THINGS doesn’t do it for us then what are we really after? Is it the future goals that keep us going or is it what is behind the hour glass. We will talk about this next time.