“Are we there yet?” – “When will we be there” – ” I’m telling my five year old daughter that we’re here and that this is as good a place as the one we’re going to and that accepting and enjoying being here is essential practice. She understands the concepts of practice and mindfulness and asks “when are we away from this place”. I’m not going to tell her that we are away from this place never and always before she’s six (next month on my birthday).
I recently found this comment on journey and destination by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur:
Some people say: “It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
I agree except if you don’t know where you are going… you can enjoy the sun, the dolphins or the octopuses swimming around you all day long, but it will still feel empty and boring.
Desperately looking for a “destination”, stuck in “are we there yet”-mode, everything becomes boring. For bored kids in the back of the car, the problem (?) is easily solved with LCD screens, DVD players with integrated game console – preferably separate so there is no fight over the remote control – and re-runs of entertaining time killers. (What does a mediocre Disney movie show that a look outside the window cannot easily compete with?)
We do the same – we’re bored with the sun, the dolphins and feel empty when not entertained. We don’t know where we’re going. Unsatisfactory feelings and suffering (the Buddhists call it Dukkha) is largely driven by our desperate search for the direction to go to find what we enjoy.
Once we give up the desperate search for the destination, every step on our path becomes exciting, rewarding and part of the destination. Once we give up on the destination, we are in a much better place to pursue our goals, define destinations we want to reach in work, love, life and enjoy the ride there on every step.
The movie “180º South – Conquerors of the Useless” is a perfect description of a 5000 mile trip south from Ventura, CA to Patagonian Chile to climb a mountain that ultimately cannot be climbed to the top as the crumbling stone on the last 500 feet is not worth risking lives. You can see a trailer here. The movie is is on Netflix.