“Wow, can so relate to all of this (the comment is in reference to the post “There Is No How”). The thing for me is an almost depressive meaninglesness when it becomes clear that what I have done all my life, trying to get somewhere else and find what I’m looking for, didnt work. But I gave all my identity in that and all the purpose of life. So now what?…I can understand what you mean with the simplicity and the play and wonder of how it all is, but i feel that my motivation is damaged and very low. And thank you for the post!”
Seeing fully into the futility, of all these searches we embark upon to “find” ourselves, our truth, our purpose, our happiness, HAS to be depressing.
Finally realizing that there is absolutely no chance or route of escape HAS to be deflating.
Grasping that no matter what you do, achieve, understand or create you will not have improved upon this moment as it already stands even an iota, one HAS to be inundated by a sense of meaninglessness.
Fully comprehending that evolution is ultimately a circular movement around an unchanging core of experience, one HAS to be drained of purpose and motivation.
Let me assure you that what you are experiencing is not outside the norm. It IS the norm. Getting sober is a tremendously deflating experience.
The truth is you haven’t really been drained of purpose, meaning, motivation and such. You have been denied the substance that had hijacked all those things from you and was only giving it to you on ITS own terms. That substance is the FUTURE.
The future has always been your escape route. And the future has hijacked your sense of self, your purpose, your meaning and motivation. It has captivated them and made you believe that since it holds the things you value the most, IT must be more valuable than the present.
It has created a decoy. A copycat identity. A perfect replica of yourself – except for certain cosmetic modifications. Your future self is the photoshopped version of you – minus many of the flaws and blemishes you sport while highlighting your assets. Most importantly, it has enveloped your image in a halo of “hope”. Because that is what the true enchantment of the future is. That is it’s spell. That is the advantage it holds over the present. And so the present-self can never compete with the future-self, because it will always lack that halo.
The future hijacked you a long time ago just as it did me and billions of others. And most people will languish and eventually die never knowing how they were bewitched by it their entire lives.
Yet, something caused you to snap out of it and come to your senses. You’ve begun to see the dead end in this escape route of the future. Something in you senses that that isn’t your home, it isn’t where you belong. Home is here and now. Except…
“I knew who I was in the future. But who am I, here?”
“I knew what purpose the future held for me because of all the plans I created. But what purpose do I have, now?”
“I knew how the future motivated me to act through its various goals and milestones. But how will the present motivate me?”
“I knew the meaning my life had through the various dreams and hopes I held. But with what ingredients am I to create meaning in THIS moment, when it is devoid of dreams and hope?”
The present feels like returning home to a land you left when you were still a child and have lived away from for a lifetime. What you are experiencing is a reverse culture shock. A reorientation that begins with disorientation.
You cannot rediscover meaning without going through a phase of meaninglessness. You cannot rediscover purpose without going through a phase of purposelessness. You cannot rediscover your self without going through a phase of not knowing who or what you are.
That limbo is where you are. But that limbo needn’t be purgatory. It’s just a matter of developing the right perspective around what is happening.
The halo is missing. That hope that filled in all those empty spaces, that smoothed over all the rough edges, that reconciled all the seeming gaps, that repaired all the broken bridges. The reality of the present isn’t so neat, isn’t so clear cut : it is full of paradoxes and riddles, missing pieces and puzzling occurrences. And the self we encounter in the present is equally paradoxical – with glaring blemishes that can’t just be smoothed away, gaps and spaces which can’t just be coloured in.
Yet, the present has one thing the future doesn’t have. And that is “depth”. No matter what, the future only exists in 2D. You can photoshop the image all you want but you can never bring it to life. You can never see all its dimensions at once. All you have to work with is a two-dimensional replica of the real deal.
Within every human being is a tug-of-war between truth and hope. Between being and becoming. Between what-is and what-could-be. And when the pull of truth within us overwhelms the pull of hope, we find ourselves with our feet firmly planted in the present.
You have resigned yourself to the present but have yet to fully accept it.
Acceptance is not resignation.
Even though you have placed yourself in the present you are still thinking in the LANGUAGE of the future. That is why the meaning, the purpose, the motivation still eludes you. You have lived abroad so long you have forgotten your native tongue and are only able to think in a foreign language.
Give it time.
If the future has truly lost its hold on you, your mind will reorient to its new circumstances. It will learn the language of the present. It will reclaim its meaning and its purpose and assert it in this new territory. But it will do so in a new way. In a way that you can’t quite envision as yet, because you are still accustomed to thinking of yourself as a future-based entity.
When the halo of hope has lost its shine, when the hellfire of purgatory has lost its heat then you will find yourself no longer drawn to saints nor terrified by demons.
Instead, with your feet planted in the cool mud of truth you will discover a whole different way of being. You will learn about purpose from the trees, about meaning from the passing clouds, about motivation from the birds and the ants who ceaselessly build their lives one present moment at a time.