A young disciple approached his new master, asking, “Why have I become so completely lost that I feel there is no option but to come under your instruction?”
The master replied, “There was once a herd of well-intentioned buffalo who knew of a singular way to teach their calves to migrate: the parents of this herd would raise up their young with a story. The story goes that elsewhere there is such a field replete with rare magical grass, that the taste of its soft and sweet leaves results in immaculate bliss. This magical grass could emerge just about anywhere if only pursued with plentiful fervency—that this rare grass could even be hiding just out of sight over the next mound. Thus, the young buffalo would climb every oncoming crest with hurried enthusiasm. Yet after ascending countless hill, the buffalo only find grass of the ordinary kind.
“This state of affairs caused the calves to become disillusioned. In one year’s time, the young buffalo will have grown accustomed to fitting in with the herd. They will have trekked the unbroken ancestral path, only to return to the same spot in which the story was first told. As such, the young buffalo no longer believe the lies. They, however, now cannot see the goodness of the natural grass beneath their feet nor taste the richness of their cud.
“You are here to unlearn the tale you inherited, to pursue the unfettered path taught through a different story.”
“And what story would that be?” questioned the follower.
“It is up to you to write your story—one that has you seeing plain grass for what it truly is,” said the master.
“And what is plain grass?” questioned the follower.
“Simply magical,” said the master.
The story of our people goes like this: ”Nothing worth having comes easy,” “Anyone can achieve their fullest potential,” “Hard work always pays off,” “With enough effort, you can achieve anything,” and so on.
Of course it’s true, right? It sounds so natural to us now. But, there is a problem with this story. Does it not bring us pleasure to reach a goal? Is our life not better for having achieved? No. This story creates a cultural condition that does not fulfill its promise. This story does not have a happy ending.
Goal-oriented living is a myth popularized by egotists in a sunk cost fallacy. It is their delusion to think that life is better for having met an achievement. Goals are arbitrary, determined by whim or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle. Goals are subjective and the result of base desires, self-serving and immoral.
Those who worship success look to the successful to guide them. The way to be successful, they teach us, is to sacrifice what is meaningful and focus solely on our goal. It is a fantasy to think that we are better off when we forsake our values for some arbitrary thing. The pursuit of success becomes a narcotic. It numbs reality and gives us false pleasure. Success seeks to destroy life. Success is the game of devils.
It is a mistake to believe that we will someday have a reason to celebrate once we achieve our goal. Tomorrow never comes. As soon as we summit the peak of our first goal, we find ourselves at the base of the next. Do not take pleasure in tomorrow. We only ever have today, so be joyous with the ground beneath your feet.
Those who lack a purpose in life will not find it in ambition. What is our purpose? Because we are life, it entails that our purpose is to be life and, perhaps, to bring forth more life. When you are hungry, eat. When you are thirsty, drink. When you are tired, rest. When someone requires aid, help.
If your religion is not life-giving, it is time to reform. If your job is not life-giving, it is time for a new assignment. You may wonder, are goals required for change? No. Instead, form life-giving habits and you will have no need for goals.
“Nothing in life comes easy.”
Is it not natural for us to love and to be loved? The best things in life are free.
“Anyone can achieve their fullest potential.”
Love your current self, not a projection of the future. Within you now is fullness of heart, an endless well. If this does not speak to you, then you may just be out of the habit of using the heart.
“Hard work always pays off.”
Sound like ego stroking to me.
P1) All work pays off.
P2) Life is work.
C) Life pays off.
“With enough effort, you can achieve anything.”
It takes little effort to be live-giving. All other achievements mean nothing.
Metrics of success, worth, and goodness—leave those games behind. The best at these illusory games—even the most grandiose fellow—is like the little grasshopper proud of his progress from one blade of grass to the next. The way of the eternal covers the earth in a single step. Not by effort, but by spirit.