Is there a way to view our lives so that we both appreciate the journey and also arrive at our chosen destination?
We’ve all heard the debate about which is more important, the journey or the destination. For those on the side of the destination, there is a big incentive — the joy in the expectation of what is to come. For the journey fans, there is something valuable and even magic about this present moment; the incentive lies in the stillness within. Both seem to bring an internal satisfaction and yet neither delivers something tangible.
When I anticipate something yet to come, it can fuel my actions. Getting ready for the triathlon can add up to months of training, a focus on nutrition and mental preparation. By the same token, if I anticipate going to court over a significant matter where the outcome is in doubt, I may find myself depleted day by day.
If I am going to live for the destinations in life, I need to be present to the decision about which destination I am focusing on. It is too easy to be focused on something by default — something I might not even be fully aware of. This can make travelling through life less than pleasant, and I might not even know why.
Oprah chose a positive destination and then pulled herself up from a tough situation to become the most influential woman on the planet. And she keeps on raising the bar on what she “sees” as her destination. Vision fuels mission — the doing part. What we see is a destination. Choose it well and great things happen.
When I become still and “in the now,” I am simply satisfied with what is. There is no regret over what is past, no fear of the future, just a deep peace with what is. It has to do with the lens one sees the world through. When my lens is focused on the journey, there is nothing else: Don’t worry, be happy. This reminds me of the opening pillars from A Course in Miracles: “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists, herein lies the peace of God.” From this vantage point there can be only satisfaction and joy.
But my ego mind is saying, “I can’t get myself a glass of water without some information from the past and some vision of my future. If I am only in the now how will I feed myself?” We do live in a dualistic world. So, can I have a destination without worry over how I will get there? Will the world still continue to turn and life still have the potential to include happiness, even when something happens that is not exactly as I had wanted it to be?
Here is the trick: Am I willing to stretch my “now” out into the future to help me choose a fabulous destination by sensing the effect of my choice in advance of actually having it? This sensing — checking within to gauge how I feel about something by imagining that it has already happened — is a present moment event.
Using what I have inside of me “in the now” to design my future and to become Teflon to the worry side of possibilities is a choice about a way to be. Design out the worry stuff. Hmm. Might this be enjoyment of both the journey and the destination?
Joseph Seiler, MCC, is a success coach who helps people to be clear about what they want and to then go get it.