In many spiritual texts, especially the writings of Eckart Tolle, the reader is instructed to turn inward, or to look inside. To stop looking outside of themselves for answers. To stop looking outside of themselves for pretty much everything. That the answer is found inside.
Let’s examine this belief, shall we? If you are hungry, will meditation feed you? If you have a sexual urge, or a desire to mate, or a desire to have children, are you asexual, able to mate with yourself? How about we go a little more general and less extreme. Can you find a life outside of yourself? A dream to follow? A destiny or purpose to fulfill?
Obviously not. So why do so many spiritual teachers recommend meditation as a major practice in our lives? Why are Buddhists advised to meditate for hours at a time, for most of their day? Why do monks meditate, breaking up their times of meditation only to do any work needed to maintain their monastery or feed their bodies?
The beliefs that lead to the practices of looking inward, typically through the use of meditation, are flawed. Maybe we choose our lives before we get here. But I doubt very highly that most of us chose to live the life of a celibate monk. Such a life is not living at all, it is just as dead and stagnant as the Christian ideal of perfection.
Any life you would choose to live can and will only be found outside of yourself. You will not find a life inside, or during meditation. To live a life requires interaction with external things, however you would define them. For example, if you want someone to share you life with, they can only be found outside of yourself.
Certainly there are things you can gain and learn from while looking inside of yourself during a practice like meditation. There may be answers waiting there, below your conscious awareness. There may be insights, realizations and understandings. But everything you learn you have to take back with you, into your life, to apply it. In other words, everything you learn you must live!
I do not know what I should do with my life. I suppose I have dreams, or at least very strong desires. Not sure I have anything I love to the point I could follow my heart. I don’t feel I have a purpose or a reason to live, and I guess I still believe I need a reason to live. I have set the intention that if I can not live a life I want, I do not want to live.
This scares people, they are afraid of loosing me. But outside of my immediate family there is nobody here possessing me that could loose me. There is nobody here who can say they have me. There are just these words and a name on the screen. The threat that maybe one day the words will cease to appear.
If I want a life I must look outside of myself to discover it. If I want someone to share my life with, she is outside of me too. If I want to live a desire, or dream, or a purpose, or anything else, I have to look outside of myself. Even any place I would “fit in” lies somewhere out there. None of these things will be found sitting here, in my room, for as long as I have this room anyway.
In essence that is exactly what I have been doing with my life for the last 40 years. Sitting, looking inside, and waiting for something to happen. Nothing ever has, and I suspect nothing ever can or will. Do not fall into this trap!
I think we are all like puzzle pieces, and those monks meditating all day or like pieces sitting in the box, or off to the side. Maybe a few other pieces fit with them, but these are also away from the main area. Those of us who get moving and looking for our calling, or live our dreams, or follow our hearts, are like pieces moving towards the center, finding where we fit, and contributing to the bigger picture.
I feel I have been sitting off to the side long enough. Too long in fact. I may not be able to find the place where I fit. But I have to at least try.
Think about what I have said here. Examine and test it.