I’ve heard students complain that they’ve been on a spiritual path for years, but they haven’t attained enlightenment or nirvana or whatever exalted place they thought they were going to reach. They’ve been disciplined and devout, but they still can’t walk on water. (Usually, I just tell them to get a surfboard!)
It’s called a spiritual journey for a reason. It’s a direction, not a destination.
In life, without a sense of direction, you wander aimlessly and get whatever it is that you get. When you have a direction, then you are moving toward something and you can tell whether or not you are on track.
I teach and practice Huna, an indigenous spiritual path of the Hawaiian Islands. Huna teaches that the universe has infinite knowledge. Therefore, you can never hope to learn everything. You can have goals along the way such as reading a book or attending a training. However, absorbing all of the infinite knowledge of the universe is an aim, never an end. The study of Huna or any other spiritual discipline is an aim. Spirituality is an aim.
In career or physical health development, you might have an end goal or destination. For example, your end goal could be landing a new job or making a certain amount of money a year. You could commit to a new way of eating or a new exercise regimen. You get there, you check the box and you’re satisfied. But there is also the ability to aim in the area of career or physical development. The mindset of operating from excellence and being your best when it comes to your craft. The act of listening to your body’s needs and making those a priority can be an aim.
Relationships also have elements of both. You might begin with an initial end goal of getting into a relationship. But once you’re in one, you have to switch your thinking because relationship is a constant journey. You might have an aim, like “having a loving, fulfilling relationship” and you might hit a point where you think, “We’re there!” But life and each person in the relationship will change over time. Maintaining that aim is a constant process.
Yogis and gurus, even the Dalai Lama will tell you: Your path is an ever-expanding awareness and growth, not an endpoint. If you have clarity in your aim goals, and you establish end goals within that path as milestones, that is where you will find the most enjoyment on your journey.
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