Friday, June 25, 2010

The Big Con

After 4 weeks of watching sunrises and sunsets, breathing clean, fresh air, being woken by the rooster crowing and listening to birdsong all day, being surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and doing exactly what I please in every moment of every day, I have come to the conclusion that I have been the victim of a gigantic con my entire life!

We are taught from early childhood to delay our gratification, to set our teeth and “grin and bear it” for a reward to be received at some future date. These rewards are mostly tangible “stuff”, which we are conned into believing that we need in order to be happy, in order to be acceptable. And so many of us become big, greedy babies, constantly demanding more-and-more, and bigger-and-better possessions to feed our ever-growing, insatiable hunger, none of which ever makes us feel really happy or acceptable and all of which is actually a vain attempt at filling the deep vacuum we feel inside. Of course, in order to afford the “stuff” (ie: to pay off the debt, which will actually never be paid off because we keep buying more stuff), we need to work even harder and longer than ever before. And so we find ourselves trapped, going round-and-round the hamster wheel of materialism, becoming exhausted, depressed and ultimately unfulfilled and very definitely “ungratified”!

Some other very enticing rewards we are conned into delaying our gratification for, are intangibles. These intangibles include: a sense that we are being somehow “noble” and doing “The Right Thing” by sacrificing our happiness for others, such as our family, our employees, the Company or simply, The World. Other intangible rewards are a sense of meeting (and exceeding) others’ expectations, “getting ahead” in the world, or the good old ego polishings associated with being “The Best” or “irreplaceable” or “climbing the ladder”. Somehow these rewards are even less satisfying than the tangible rewards and invariably lead to a sense of disillusionment or resentment, as our sacrifices can never be valued enough by those for whom we are doing the sacrificing, and the ego buffing just never seems to satisfy our deep hunger for love and recognition.

But, if not for some future gratification, why do we need to work? We are told that it is a way to make a contribution, a way to create meaning for ourselves. But I reckon that there are very few people for whom that really is the case. I think that most of us work because we believe it is expected of us and because we believe that we have to have money in order to buy the stuff we have been conditioned to believe we want and need. Most of that stuff would not be required if we were not trying to live up to some expected lifestyle measure or if we were not requiring to anaesthetize ourselves against, or compensate ourselves for, the pain and frustration of living a life that is not congruent with our deepest being; not congruent with our heartsong.

Living in this beautiful place I have realized that I actually really don’t need the fancy clothes, the car, the gym membership, the expensive entertainments, the overseas trips, the fine restaurant meals, the jewellery and all the other tangible and intangible trappings of “success”. Most of what I need is given absolutely free of charge by God and the rest is easily obtainable by spending a tiny fraction of what I thought I needed in order to survive in my previous life.

I just have to stop living my life in comparison to, and in competition with, others, and find my own measures of value, meaning and purpose. I have to find the courage to listen to my own heart and follow its calling. And, suddenly, a life of magnificent abundance ensues. Abundant health, abundant happiness, abundant time, meaning, connection and beauty.

I would like to suggest that we stop delaying our gratification. I think we have to IMMEDIATELY, AND IN EVERY SINGLE MOMENT, move toward that which we most love. Don’t delay it for even a second longer.

The trick is getting to the core of what it is that we love the most. I might think that what I love the most is beautiful possessions, more money, bigger and better toys, recognition, titles, status etc, but if I get really honest and become still and listen to my heart for a moment, I realise that what I most love is to feel connected: connected to God, connected to Nature, connected to others, connected to my Self. What I really want is to feel that there is real meaning and purpose in what I do and that I am making a real difference in someone’s life. I want to feel that the world will have been a better place for my having passed this way. No amount of “stuff” and no amount of ego buffing is ever going to provide me with this. The only way to find this is to go within and listen carefully to my heart. And then all I need is to have the courage to follow what my heart tells me to do.

I believe that each of us has a very special gift, a God-given purpose, which we have to contribute to the world. When we find this gift and start giving it, we will never, ever, ever have to work again. We will simply be playing – it will be effortless and fun and will give us a sense of meaning and purpose in every moment and true abundance will ensue.

Of course, I can hear you say: "All this is very easy for you, as you have the time and the space and the leisure to find your heartsong". But just a year ago I would have said that it was impossible for me to do what I have done, as I had FAR too many responsibilities and there was no way I could afford to leave my job, to move to the country and to spend 2 years finding my purpose. And yet…. Miraculously… Here I am!

Somehow, when I was ready to listen to my heart, the impossible became possible and the way miraculously appeared.

I definitely don’t have all the answers yet. But I am starting to discover some very interesting questions and I am starting to see a little more clearly and I’m DEFINITELY starting to have a lot more fun!

And so the journey continues…

Next: The Zen of Tree Popping

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