What is life for? What’s the point? If you’re religious it’s often to reach some sort of heaven, or nirvana. That makes now into just waiting for something later. But then what? Eternity is just hanging out in perfection? Where everyone looks perfect and acts perfect? That sounds like it could get to be like chocolate cake. The idea of an entire meal of it seems like it would be heavenly, but after the 50th bite even the perfection of chocolate cake can become monotonous and unappealing.
If you’re not religious then you’re either an atheist who feel’s that life’s either about or for absolutely nothing; or you’re agnostic, which means you’re okay with not being sure what the point is; or maybe you’re “spiritual” where the point is growth through reincarnation—an eternal learning cycle. It might surprise you that I’m not in the spiritual group—I’m one of the agnostics.
Yeah, I know something. This guidance does come from a place; an understanding; an awareness. What I do capital-K Know is that this is all way too huge and fantastic and amazing for us to ever be able to get our teeny little human heads around it. So I’d recommend: surrender. Yep. Stop trying to figure it all out. Stop trying to get somewhere you’re not whether it’s in the ego world or in the “spiritual” world. So no striving for enlightenment. No wanting peace. Peace is where you are. What I do with my students is that I try to make them not-my-clients as soon as possible.
I don’t do that because I don’t like them—it’s because I do love them. I want them to understand too. They can’t meet me where I am if they can’t be there themselves. I can’t connect with them fully until they drop the thought-stream that creates their identity—their ego. But once they surrender they are clear and they are free to be with me. And what they know they cannot un-know. They cannot forget seeing through the illusion any more than you can forget the alphabet.
Okay, so if there is no point, and if there’s nothing specific, ‘right,’ or ‘correct’ to do, then how do we spend our time? Answer: Fully. Now you’re free to follow your dreams. It might take a while for them to fade back into view—you’ve probably neglected this aspect of yourself since you were a kid. Almost everyone does. Instead they choose to tell themselves a narrative about themselves about how they themselves cannot do anything about their life because of things they perceive to be outside of themselves. That’s a lot of illusion-weaving. They should take all of that energy and put it into relaxing into remembering who they truly are. And then they might be surprised by what they learn.
I was listening to a radio interview the other day that featured Jen Tisdale, the comedian and writer who recently volunteered to perform in a pornographic film with porn star James Deen. If this seems crazy to you that’s a hint of its sanity. As someone with a media profile, clearly she knew word would get out and that people would be harsh in their judgment. But that’s the point: she didn’t care about our judgment. She didn’t do it for us, she did it for herself.
She was fulfilling her own little aspect of the universe, and far from finding it as weird or as strange as you or she might have expected, she said it felt great and liberating and free and strong. Why? Not because it was porn. Because it was what she truly wanted to do. She was fulfilling herself, and that fulfillment was as much spiritual as it was physical. In fact, I would suggest that a part of her enjoyment came from the precise fact that her fantasy-self runs completely contrary to what society tells us to do. So she understands that you’ll judge her because her desire fell outside the boundaries of okay-ness in the mental framework we call society, but she doesn’t care because it felt so good to apologetically be who she really is.
Maybe your desire is to quit doing porn and start professional knitting. Maybe it’s ditching a high pressure executive job to work at a menial one that has no stress or paperwork being brought home each night. A job that allows your free time to actually be free time. Maybe it’s as easy as not organizing guest towels in favour of going to a movie. Maybe it’s as big as ending a relationship. Or maybe it’s so tiny it’s something like having the courage to just put down a book you’re not enjoying while you’re still only halfway through it. It’s true. Many clients of mine couldn’t even stop reading books they totally disliked out of guilt over not finishing what they started.
People. We’re adults. We can run with scissors. This is nonsense. Guilt is nothing more than a thought pattern in your head. There’s no prize for colouring between the lines. Conforming is an idea, not a necessity for spiritual advancement. In fact, it impedes it more than it helps it. You are and always will be an integral aspect of the universe whether you know it at any given moment or not. So relax into that knowledge and start coming alive. Because no matter where that leads, trust me—once you do it you’ll understand why people were willing to look crazy. It’s because it feels like heaven.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.