Everyone says they want to be rich. Everyone says they don’t want to work. And yet the very rich can do anything they like, and yet what they want is the same thing everyone wants of course: to have a life of meaning. The simple fact is you can only screw around for so long before you realize that it’s your nature to be creative. It is your nature to expand yourself—and through that, expand the universe as well.
You’ll notice there are two types of street people. People who feel so broken that they do not create. This group essentially begs, which is actually a nice humble act. You have to be in a healthy headspace to pull that off. Think about how hard it would be for you to do. But bottom line, until they begin to fulfil their nature and grow, they will be crippled by their lack of connection to their natural sense of being. There are no flowers that grow part of the way out of the ground and then just stay that way. The growth to a bloom is a natural event that must be interrupted by very intense thinking.
The other half of the street people are much more like daily workers. They may have a trapline for bottles in some alleys, or they do daily work, but otherwise they live without encumbrances. They still maintain a purpose and a sense of accomplishment and these elements are what makes their lives more enjoyable. Street people or not, they are doing all they need to do to fulfil themselves.
So this makes it very worth it to study where our joy actually comes from. Because much like a tree-climber can see farther the higher they climb, so it is with any kind of growth. If you go to the gym and talk other people into lifting weights for you, then you will not develop yourself at all. In fact by not employing your own nature, you will actually degrade.
This also holds true in offices, or at home, or with friends. If you put no effort into finding ways to be productive or help others around you be more productive, then you are stifling your natural ability to help the universe expand. Don’t look after your home and soon your home will degrade to the point where you won’t want to live there anymore. Don’t look after your customers or co-workers, then you too will see your world shrink. Manipulate your friends to always do what you want, and you’ll never be challenged and you’ll never grow and you’ll soon be out of friends.
Each of these challenges expands us. Through our expansion we can appreciate other people’s experiences better, and that permits a stronger connection to them. As we become more capable we also become potentially more helpful. But if we have always taken the easy way out, then we will have no strength to help either ourselves or those we care about.
You will benefit from any expansion of yourself through experience. Whether it’s the sort of strength that’s in your muscles, the strength you employ to redirect your thinking to healthier choices, the strength to admit you’re wrong, the strength to ask for help, or the strength to try things both physically and emotionally that scare you—the sense of overcoming is the sense of strength being built. The fear is like pain in the gym. It’s a signal of growth. And by enduring that aspect of life, you open up many others.
Do not live in fear. Do not look for an easy life. Do not avoid challenges. Life is a playground. Don’t stand idly by why others do your playing for you. Get in there and get dirty. Not because you should, but because you can. Because all of the people who are doing it are the ones that keep doing it and that’s for good reason: because the view is always worth the climb.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.