Is a better life in the year ahead? Where are we going? What is our final destination? I’m back from the holidays with commensurate self-reflection and connections with family and friends. People thinking about our personal lives. Most are talking… or not talking about our nation’s politics. Many worrying about their jobs, why they have this job, or if they’ll keep this job.
And I help small and mid-sized organizations better communicate with people who share their passion. Most groups, businesses, and nonprofits I know are asking how they got here and where they’re going.
So I’m chewing on all this with my own yearning for Pacific Northwest mountains and coastline. While outside the window there’s the gray-brown slush of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Have we lost our way? Did we go sideways? Are we stuck? Is the rut six feet deep?
Recently I heard a dharma in the Dhammapada that goes…
I can make this my winter home, have another place for the monsoon season, and a cabin for the summer”. But lost in such a daydream, one forgets our final destination.
Maybe Judeo-Christian theology and five American horror films convinced us our final destination is death. But that’s not much of a destination. Who typed that into Google maps and clicked start from your location? What lies beyond is either a whole other existence or nothing at all. So where are we going now?
Philosopher Alan Watts said…
You cannot hear past sounds, nor can you hear future sounds. The only thing you ever hear is the present. You do not and cannot hear a past or future.
Just as all sounds are only present sounds, so all tastes are only present tastes, all smells are present smells, and all sights are present sights… In your direct and immediate awareness, there is no time – no past, no future, only an endlessly changing present, shorter than a minisecond yet never coming to an end.
It’s this moment, isn’t it? This moment is the final destination.
This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The point to everything. We are right here where we are. If we were holding our breath for the perfect storm to come together, this is it. Were there to come a day when we had an opportunity to do everything we’ve always wanted, this is our chance. Maybe we’ve been plowing through the milieu of minutia to get to a better place. Guess what? We’ve arrived at that place!
Okay, I get uncomfortable in my own thoughts when they sound like Joel Osteen on Oprah. But what else besides right here, right now is there?
Everyone is stuck in their own “endlessly changing present.” That’s pretty final. Everybody finds themselves in a place they never expected. I’m not the only one looking at Instagram and seeing other people living lives I wanted. I’m not the only one struggling to create a job that means something. I’m not alone in feeling our country and the world has changed beyond my capacity to relate to it.
But this is where I’m at. This is endlessly changing present is my final destination, and I believe I can make a difference. I believe I can figure this out. We don’t have to allow things remain as they are. Since this moment is my final destination, a better life is within my reach. By moving on this moment, I can be the change we want to see in our world. Because I can be the change that we want to see in our own lives. A better life begins by living better in this moment.
We have better within us: a better person to be, a better life to live, a better world to see. Within who I am here and who I am now.
It’s the next action that defines us.