What do you really want? Do you know? Could you possibly only think you do? Maybe thinking about it seems as a waste of time. There are so many responsibilities. “It’s just pie in the sky.” Life dictates too many other obligations.
Suppose you are in a group of people instructed to make personal want lists. Many want a better life, a better job, more money, a new car, to be happy all the time, or to find love. Others want status, fame, power, enough money to quit working, or maybe a better sex life.
The first thing you notice is that many of those goals are vague. What is a better life? Let’s say you want more money. Suddenly a strange man approaches. “Here ya go mate, have a twenty-dollar bill on me.” Then he gives you the money. Let’s say another person wants love. “Here you go, take this puppy. She’ll love you and be your most loyal friend.”
Those outcomes fit the definitions of the goals but may fall short of what was intended. You need to be specific. Isn’t that what the self-help experts tell you? Of course, it is. Next, you clean up your goal list and they send you on your way.
Now that the goals are specific, let’s go deeper. Gangaji suggests you ask “What will that give me?” In Code of the Extraordinary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley asks the similar question. Next, he instructs you to separate ends goals from means goals.
For example, take the goal – I want money. That is primarily a means goal says Lakhiani. You use the money to get something else. You need to ask yourself some questions. Why do you want it? What for? A person might give this answer. “I want money to travel, so I can see new places and meet lots of people.” That is an ends goal. But maybe you don’t need money for that. What? Are you crazy? No, I’m not. Maybe what you need is the right job.
Maybe you need to get out of your current rut and find a job that lets you do more of those things. You may not travel the world, but maybe you can travel the country, the state, or even just the city and surrounding areas. That could be a huge start. It sure beats sitting in a cubical or standing on an assembly line. You will certainly meet more people. You may have to cut your cost of living, but if you are happier isn’t it worth it?
I think you get the idea. A college degree is a means goal. The job you want is the ends for that goal. Means goals are as important as ends goals. There are times and places for both. It is helpful to know the difference. Knowing the desired end prevents you from an endless pattern of means goals that never lead to an end. Knowing the desired end can save you time and make the difference between drudgery and happiness.
This sounds great. You are specific, and can now separate the means from the ends, and sometimes find quicker ways to your goal. Then what? Could there be more?
Let’s say you want to meet people. You want to help people. Maybe you want security. A $90,000 per year job and 1.5-million-dollar brokerage account may represent security. The perfect soul mate will bring you joy and love. That dream job may give you fulfillment. Helping people may give you purpose.
But wait! Could there be any Deception? Could we still be confusing the end goals with means goals at a deeper hidden level. Could your end goal be a means goal in disguise? And once we reach our goals, don’t we always just want something else?
Everyone wants love, happiness, significance, spiritual meaning, or some kind of enlightenment. Many people want security. We are lead to believe our goals will give us those things. The questions Gangaji asks are “Are those things really dependent on an outside circumstance? Or are they already within you?”
Is a marriage partner required for love? Could that goal simply be another attempt at seeking happiness externally? Could that concept of love be a boxed-in or limited view of love? Beware of the ego here. It will quote you some psychological so-called facts to convince you that what you think, or what society teaches is correct, only to keep you on a never ending quest.
Gangaji says you already have it within you. Love and peace come from within you. If the final answer to your goals is to be at peace or to rest in the truth, then it is possible now and in this moment. Peace, love, and rest have nothing to do with those other external things. And can you really find security in the outside world? And isn’t peace, love, happiness and joy the ultimate end of all goals?
Gangaji instructs us that if we discard our preconceived ideas, or most of what society has programmed into us, we can find many of these things regardless of any internal or external circumstances. In other words, we can short-circuit the whole progression because we already have it within us.
Ramana Maharshi at beginning of “Who Am I?” states that all beings desire to be happy and that happiness alone is the case for love.
Let us fast forward to question 24 of that work – What is Happiness?
“Happiness is the self. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out it experiences misery. In truth when its desires are fulfilled it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is self. (As opposed to the object.)
“The mind moves without rest going out of the self and back into it. A person in the hot sun feels cool when he sits in the shade of a tree. Someone who keeps going from the sun to the shade with no good reason is a fool. A wise person simply stays in the shade.”
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