You’re looking for purpose. To be settled onto your path. You want to know where you’re going so that you don’t waste energy by going the wrong way. You think you’ll have peace once you figure that one small thing out. Once you know what it all means—what it’s all for—then you’ll be able to make the sort of decisions that will guarantee success and then you’ll have earned the right to relax.
Mmmm. Maybe not.
Of all people kids are happiest. They can find joy in an old shoe box. They laugh way more than adults and they can learn like no one else. Just think of it: you learned at least one language, (maybe as many as three or four), without even trying to learn it/them, and without anyone really trying to teach it/them to you. You are a genius. Language is a fantastically complex system of algebra and you had huge chunks of it learned by two or three years old, and you were very fluent by six. Amazing. Seriously, totally, absolutely amazing.
Do you think maybe a kids enjoyment of life has something to do with how fast they learn?
Kids don’t have goals. No objectives, no plans, no grades they’re trying to get–no imaginings of their possible futures. They weren’t trying to learn to walk, or talk. They just wanted to join us either physically, or through communication. There was never any trying. Only doing. To a young enough child there is no failure, only the steps along the way. Kids primarily live in the Now right up until we teach them to do otherwise by modelling our worries and obligations and hopes etc. etc. etc.
Do you really think you can’t live like that? That you can’t forget all that you want to happen and instead focus on and enjoy what is happening? You can. But to get back into the present, you can’t have half of your consciousness focused on worrying about failure or judgment. You have to be childlike and un-self-conscious.
You have to trust yourself and the universe so thoroughly that you don’t even draw a distinction between you and it. Things are just happening. You are just following instinct. There is no self-talk invested in discussing your performance. There is only performance. There is only the verb of you Being. Not thinking about being; Being.
Stop talking to yourself about how things could have been, or how they will be once this or that happens. Live like a kid. Trust that there is value in what you are naturally interested in. Enact that interest as much as you can. Drop internal conversations about where your life should or could go, and instead feel where you would like it to go. Have enough respect for yourself that you’ll actually give your own natural impulses their proper place in the universe.
The universe is a big place. It has room for every idea and it needs you to enact yours. We all contain impulses within us that we should trust. Those impulses are currents within the Flow of Tao, and it is through us that the universe intended to enact them. Resistance will feel uncomfortable and unpleasant. Go instead with the Flow and know the peace of meaningless purpose.
No go enjoy being you. That’s all the universe ever intended.
Alan Watts on Life Purpose: