As Buddha says, there is no one road to Nirvana. Enlightenment is a house with 6 billion doors. While we’re alive, we intend not to find THE DOOR, not A DOOR, but to find OUR OWN, UNIQUE DOOR.
And we’re willing to pay for the privilege. We’re willing to give up money and time and power and sex and status and certainty and comfort in order to find it.
And guess what? It’ll be a great door. It’ll add to this life. It’ll resonate. Not just with us, but with everybody it comes in contact with. The door will useful and productive. Alive and kicking. It’ll create wealth and laughter and joy. It’ll pull its own weight, it’ll give back to others. It’ll be centered on compassion, but will be intolerant of dullards, parasites and cynics.
It may be modest, it may not. It could be a little candle shop; it could be a software company with the GNP of Sweden. It could involve politics or working with the elderly. It could be starting a design studio or opening a bar with Cousin Mike. It could be a screenplay, oil paints, or discovering the violin. It doesn’t matter. Meaning Scales.
Sure, I was pretty drunk on the Kool-Ade when I wrote that, but I think the main point is still valid. The size of the endeavor doesn’t matter as much as how meaningful it becomes to you.
But given a choice between two paths, both valid, how do you know which one to take? How do you know which one has the meaningful payoff?
The answer, of course, is that you don’t. Whether we’re talking about moving to New York to become an “Art Star”, or opening up a humble coffee shop in Alpine, Texas, that’s why they’re called “adventures”. Because you don’t how it’s going to end.
All you can do is admit to yourself that yes, this is an adventure, and to accept it as such, surprises and all. With a little bit of practice you eventually get into the flow of it.
Yes, anything worth doing takes lots of practice. Adventures included.
And when I say “People don’t scale”, I’m stating the obvious: that no matter how meteoric your rise to the top [or not], you are still beholden to the day-to-day realities as any living creature.
Birth, sickness, death, falling in love, watching TV, raising families, mowing the lawn, going to the movies, taking your nephew to a ball game, drinking beer, hanging out with your buddies, playing frisbee on the beach, painting the house, tending the garden. No matter where your adventure takes you, most of what is truly meaningful is still to be found revolving around the mundane stuff you did before you embarked on your adventure. The stuff that’ll be still be going on long after you and I are both dead, long after our contribution to the world is forgotten.
But often, one needs to have that big adventure before truly appreciating this. Going full circle. Exactly.