26 Mar 5 Minute Philosophy Break: We’ve Already Arrived
The British-American philosopher Alan Watts often talked about a great “hoax” that most of us fall victim to. We often feel like we are in a space of change and transition in our lives. And we want to believe that someday, we will “arrive”. We are sold all kinds of ideas about what this “arrival” looks like – graduation, a fulfilling well paid job, the perfect partner, a beautiful house…. and when we arrive, stability, happiness and contentment will be there waiting for us. Many of us buy into this idea so fully, that we totally defer our happiness and joy in the present moment.
But the great hoax is that we never really arrive. Of course we can and should set intentions, and work toward our dreams. But arrival is a hoax because this life is always changing, we are always growing, our embodied experience is always in transition. Everything in this manifest universe, including our body and mind, will always be in transition. It’s all shifting and swirling and changing, and dissolving. Things exist for a little while, they dissolve, and new forms emerge.
But the yogic teaching of santosha is that true happiness and contentment cannot be found in things that are constantly and unpredictably changing. So is there any hope of finding true happiness and contentment in this life? YES. In fact these things are part of your very nature right now. Because YOU, are not what you appear to be. You have a body and mind, but you are more than your body and mind. You are pure energy – formless, genderless, eternal, unchanging, whole and complete. This You is beautiful and powerful beyond imagination.
And so the yogic teaching of santosha is that our true self – eternal and unchanging – is the only source of real happiness and contentment. And the more we cultivate a relationship with our true Self through intentional practice and meditation, the more we experience the deep peace and contentment at our core, even as everything swirls and changes around us.
We’ve already arrived.