The Final Frontier
I remembered how back then an acquaintance made it feel like I have it all pretty much in this world. I live in a first world country. I’m not living paycheck to paycheck. I have tons of supportive and non-toxic relationships and in general I’m doing relatively well thus far.
I’m relatively physically and mentally healthy. I have hobbies that I am invested and passionate in. And I have a community that I enjoy giving back to. All in all, I have a relatively good and peaceful life. And I am grateful and accepting of that.
I think once you pretty much have it all in the external world, you begin to look inwards for fulfillment. You begin to yearn to master oneself to a certain degree. That’s why you see lots of billionaires take up the practice of meditation. Because they pretty much have conquered all there is to conquer in this beautiful material world. They have all the money in the world. Yet, they are still not satisfied. They still feel like at times there is something incomplete, which is absolutely fine.
No one has it all. Not even Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett have everything figured out. I personally think that the final frontier is self-mastery. To master and perfect your inner domain, if that makes sense. Honestly, we don’t really need that much material goods or money to live a good and fulfilling life.
What’s most important is health and relationships. There is research that once your annual salary hits above $75K or around that range, any additional boost in salary doesn’t really lead to that much significant boosts in mental well-being or general happiness. Yes, money is important to help pay the bills. But up to a certain point, it doesn’t really move the needle much more in terms of lasting fulfillment. So, it’s important up to a certain degree but like many things it’s not the end all be all.
For me, I’m grateful to have relatively fulfilling relationships and a clean bill of health thus far. And I hope that I can continue to keep it up. Yet, there are still times when I feel mentally agitated and not at complete peace with myself. Sometimes, I fall into the habit of wanting more than what I have. And to a certain degree, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, the desire for more can lead to greater self-improvement and innovations amongst society.
Just in general, it’s also good to take a step back and smell the roses. And to practice gratitude and acceptance for what you have in the moment. I don’t think people can be at peace 100% of the times, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because life will happen to the best of us. One you have your financial security and physical health down, the final step is pretty much to master your inner self. To look inwards and find all the treasures hidden beneath the surface.
The treasures that are right there within you from the start. There is honestly nowhere you really need to go to look for fulfillment other than within you. I know this sounds very hunky dory. But again, how much money or material possessions do you truly need to live a fulfilling life? I would argue not that much honestly.
I understand that in American consumerist culture, we are bred to believe that we need this car or that house in order to satisfy our cravings and lead a fulfilling and successful life. We need to aim for the next promotion. Get a high-status job. Get a nice family, with kids, then grandchildren, maybe a cat or a dog, and a nice picket fence and a backyard for good measure. Then and only at that time will we be fulfilled.
But no matter how good you may seem to have it on the outside, no matter how awesome your relationships are and no matter how much money you have, those are all at the end of the day still external. They definitely move the needle in terms of finding fulfillment and satisfaction. I’m just saying that they are not the end all be all.
In the Book of Joy, one of the pillars of joy is perspective. And that comes from within. The ability to perceive things from a healthy manner, to find joy and peace in the mundane, to find gratitude and acceptance, to be okay with imperfection, to be okay with less-than-ideal standards. All this takes practice. But again, our ability to look inwards is relatively important towards a more lasting means of joy and peace.
I don’t think even the super gurus in this world have this on lockdown. I doubt that all the self-help masters out there feel at ease and at peace all the time. Because at the end of the day, we are still human. And it needs to be a constant practice and a constant journey. One that essentially never ends. Ways to do this involve meditation, discussion, and investing in hobbies and relationships that you feel passionate about. It’s easier said than done and I don’t think there’s a magic formula.
Everything that I’m writing right now feels like the finger pointing towards the moon, but not the actual moon. That’s all up to every one of us to discover on our own unique journeys in life.