This Will Matter to You

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Quick Takes:

  • We humans are animals that feel a higher calling
  • We are at constant struggle with our "monkey mind" and our "higher mind"
  • Balancing the two minds will help us be happy and satisfied with life
  • Trust me, this will matter to you

Will it, though?

It’s interesting: what matters to one person might not matter to the other, and vice versa. But we’re the same species, right? I would think that two giraffes would care about the same thing. Or two rhinos - pick almost any animal, really. Sure, a single giraffe will care more about his or her offspring than another, but in terms of its existence, all giraffes think the same:

Reproduce, reduce risk, increase comfortability, survive.

Us humans, on the other hand, are different. While the need to reproduce and survive are ever present, and actually drive more of our actions than we realize, we’re obviously operating on a higher plane than giraffes or rhinos.

To us, there’s an additional reason for life that goes beyond the need to continue the species. And unlike species survival, that reason is unique to the individual. But why? Isn’t that odd to anyone else?

Why is it that when it really comes down to it, the only reason for our existence as a species is to continue to exist, yet humans are unique in that we all live for something else? And that "something else" is different for everyone.

It’s been called passion, purpose or motivation, and it’s probably been called many more things on this blog, but in reality it’s the driving force behind our thought process, which in turn drives our perception, which in turn drives our reality, which will then drive our actions.

This driving force will set our goals, measure our success, and therefore dictate our happiness. What’s the goal of a giraffe? Eat, sleep, reproduce, survive. What’s the goal of the lion that may hunt it? Eat, sleep, reproduce, survive. What’s your goal?

Not so easy to answer, huh? And if it is, ask yourself: what’s the driving force behind that goal? Now the answer gets a little harder.

Well, therein lies the key to your life’s meaning. It’s the driving force behind your thoughts and actions that’s unique to you.

But this is where we hit our first problem.

Look, if you’ve been reading this blog, even semi-regularly, than you’re different from the average Joe (or Jane, sorry!). You realize that there’s a systemic problem with humans, and it all stems from the rise of the passion buzzword, but not exactly for the reason you might think. Passion isn’t the problem, as some Baby Boomers may tell you (you know: "quit complaining, I worked 40 years for FedEx just for my pension!”).

It’s that it’s hard to reconcile our “monkey mind,” that is, our animalistic mind that wants nothing more than to reproduce and survive, with our “higher mind,” the one that makes us feel like there’s a passion or calling to our unique lives.

And it’s even harder for the fact that we can’t really be each other’s support system. Sure, we all feel a higher calling, one that goes beyond our basic needs, but since that calling is unique, the only support we can give is a general “keep at it," or “I’m going through the same thing.” But there’s no blue print for the actualization of our higher calling. Nothing specifically that we can turn to.

All we can do is look at the people who’ve come before us, take what we think will work, and piece together a mosaic plan for the discovery and then attainment of our higher purpose.

This is not a problem for a giraffe.

First, a giraffe has no purpose unique to itself. Second, and also therefore, a giraffe has no way to feel alone in his journey. Third, a giraffe then has no inner struggle between his lower and higher purpose. If he survives and reproduces, he’s happy. If he doesn’t, he isn’t.

So the first problem we must solve, in order to be happy and satisfied, is to understand that we’ll have an inner struggle on the path to our higher purpose. Understand that we’ll be alone on this journey, and understand that it’ll be ok. As long as we’re actively pursuing either the pursuit of our higher purpose or actively trying to find what our higher purpose is, we should be happy. The higher meaning of our life is satisfied.

The second problem, however, is more of a physical one. It’s the manifestation of the warring of our minds.

Like I stated above, in order for an animal or a species to survive, there has to be a certain level of desired comfortability and safety. So, when we go out to attain our higher calling, we’re pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone, therefore denying the quietude of our monkey mind.

The simple action of finding or pursuing our purpose puts us in a state of physiological distress. An innate  part of us wants nothing more than to reduce risk. How much easier is it to remain in comfortability and watch a few hours of TV rather than working on a side project that might fail? There’s no physical lion anymore for us humans, but there is failure, and when it comes to our calling, it’s much easier to avoid that proverbial lion.

But paradoxically, by not activating our higher mind through the pursuit of our purpose, we also put ourselves in a state of unrest. That unrest manifests itself in a feeling of inadequacy, lack of focus, lack of motivation or waning satisfaction. So, the second problem is that we have to actually fight the distress we put ourselves through.

Because no matter what, if you’ve identified that you have a higher mind, then you’ll be in a state of unrest. It doesn’t matter if you try to remain comfortable or if you try to push the envelope.

The key is to balance your higher mind with your monkey mind. Neither will disappear, and neither one can overcome the other. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and can be thought of as the curse or blessing of humanity.

As David Deida says, in order to achieve balance, you need to “lean just beyond your edge."

Only this way you will be able to satisfy your higher mind through the attainment of your passion, and satisfy your animalistic mind though focused presence on the moment.

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