We want this! We want that! We want money! We want a car! We want a bungalow! We want a perfect life partner! Our needs never end. One wish satisfied and the other falls in line. This is the straightforward human propensity and we are designed to function this way. It’s how the cycle of the nature goes. Round and Round in a wheel it goes, until one day when the epiphany hits us hard and we ask ourselves if this is what we ever really wanted?
We keep on circumventing inner peace from time to time in our race against time to make more money, to satisfy all our emerging needs because success always motivates a person.
We all have different goals—different mountains to climb. One person’s climb may be about sobriety; another’s may be about diet; and someone else may be trying to find a passion. And we often think we’ve reached the top of the mountain, only to realize it was really just the base of another, larger one. And so we start out again. Generally, this works: If we had to reach the zenith all at once, we might be too intimidated to begin. And when we make it to a peak, or what appears to be a finish line? We discover that it’s just a plateau or a curve that we couldn’t see—couldn’t imagine—from the place where we began. The reality is that our journey stretches as long as we live, and if we ever think we’ve made it to the end, we might be limiting ourselves. We just don’t realize it when we set our current goals. This is why so many of us never feel truly happy, or fully satisfied. We want to see today’s goal as a destination because that allows us to feel a sense of certainty, finality, and accomplishment when we reach it—as it should.
However, there is one thing that we almost always forget about- Peace!!!
Men can never make peace with what he has. Oprah Winfrey once said, “I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb.” It’s admirable to have new goals, but as we look for the next best thing, as we aspire to the next peak, we first need to take time to appreciate the views from the climb, and take those feelings to our new destination. We need to make peace with what we have.
So take time to pause, look around, and see how far you’ve come. When we start driving up the mountain, we’re hyper-focused on the road ahead as we drive in a demanding zigzag formation. But if we pause on the side of the road after a time to (safely) look over our shoulder, we’ll realize how far we’ve come from the base.
Bon Jovi has said- “Any time that you think you’ve hit the top of the mountain, the truth of the matter is you’ve just reached another mountain. And it’s there to climb all over again.” Just remember there’s something worth seeing from every point in your journey.
The Buddhist solution to getting off this treadmill which ultimately leads nowhere is simply to stop wanting things and to accept things as they are. However, in a materialistic and capitalist society, in which people’s perception of their worth as a person is closely tied to their career success and financial worth, being satisfied with what we have is perhaps easier said than done. Not only do our genes compel us to strive for more, but our culture does as well. Indeed, the two are mutually reinforcing.