Recently someone posted on an enlightenment FB group, the question, “Do you have goals?” If this were any place else, the query would have seemed strange and the answer would be “Of course I have goals.”
What happened next were dozens of comments along the lines of “No goals here. No one here to set goals.” That is like asking, do you breathe? And people say, “No breathing here, no one to breathe.”
You see, in the land of liberation from illusion, there’s a patch of quicksand that many aspirants fall into: The quicksand of inertia. It has been called Zen Sickness, a kind of ennui that leads to depersonalization: You know the gig: There is nobody here and therefore for nothing to do.
But this is a spectrum disorder with degrees of, well, temporarily insanity. Are you unenlightened and sane? Enlightened and crazy? Let’s take the test, shall we and discover: Do you have goals or apparent goals? And are you in possession of a somebody or a nobody?
Check only one of the next two types as Yes or No for you (no you, nobody here, or whomever is taking this test).
I find myself best described by:
1) An everyday middle of the bell curve human yet to awaken to the vast self that I truly am and caught up in the thought that I must achieve something to be successful, lovable and happy. My goals are carrots that promise well being. They keep me distracted from the well being I already am. My goals are self-serving. They are karma bound and karma creating.
2) A post awakening person who playfully engages true nature in acts of creation. I have goals, but they are fluid and flowing, changing with truth in the moment. I have goals, but am not attached to outcome. I notice there is incredible flow, ease and synchronicity when my goals are true: they are arrows from my soul ready to hit the mark. My goals are in service of the greater good. They are Dharma directed and free of karma creation.
If you answer no to the above you are one of these two types:
3) I am a depressed or despairing everyday individual going through a rough patch in life. I no longer have goals because I’ve lost sight of my own worth and creativity. My goal-less state is triggered by a emotional loss, life set back, death of a dream, a loved one or a catastrophic failure of some kind. Sometimes Prozac is prescribed so I can get back on the goals achieved=happiness treadmill sooner than later.
4) I am a a post-awakening individual whose liberation landed me in the inertia quicksand. I suddenly find my “me” missing in action. Along with this new no-self, is the loss of directionality and goals. What used to matter to me is irrelevant–the self that was at the center of those old goals is gone.
If you answered yes to this last type, good news This is a phase. It passes. It’s a clearance sale of the emotional and mental junk that defined who you were most of your life.
But you see, these types of individuals get stuck there sometimes. You are watcher, not a participant. You witness own actions as if they are happening without you. And you get comfortable here, in this passive place of watching, of existing without apparent agency.
I went through this stage and it lasted for three months. But if you don’t attach to the idea that this is an arrival point, you will pass through it.
On the the other side is a freshness and delight where goals are lightly held, and easily made manifest. And that which is a struggle is seen simply as a misdirection. Now, a goal is released with as much ease as we would experience in letting go of a negative thought–well, if and when those thoughts arise anymore.
The story of NO YOU and NOTHING TO DO is no more real than the old story of YOU and EVERYTHING to do. The truth is in the middle..and it allows for goals. And sure, times of being without a goal. But ultimately, if you are breathing, you are creating. If you are creating, you are goal-directed. Like it or not. Nothing can happen without goals because goals are the focalizer for intention.
I have a Rumi quote that sits at the bottom of all of my outgoing emails. Take this quote and really read into the truth of it. Rumi does not say you are “nothing with no movement.”
Rather, he writes, “You are the universe in ecstatic motion. Stop acting so small.”
Awareness is here, in ecstatic motion,
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