I was having a conversation with a friend last weekend (whom I met through Couchsurfing, really cool how this enables you to meet all kinds of people). We were talking about meditation and how our sense of self can give us constant stress. But then the question arose: "should we go live in a monastery then and be like a plant for the rest of our lives?".
As Hunter Thompson so eloquently put it once in a letter to a friend asking for life advice (link here), the question that keeps on repeating itself is really "wether to float with the tide or swim for a goal"?
For instance, look at the irony of me writing this blogpost. I have written before about how goals seem a little silly to me. But then why am I writing this post now? It must have some goal right? Do I want social confirmation by people liking my post? Do I want to attract people to my website? Honestly I don't really know, but I find it really hard not to see any goals in this.
The balance between the swimming and the floating, that's the difficult thing.
If you are so focused on swimming, you might find yourself swimming against an impossible current, whilst there is a way easier stream in front of you which you can't see. This way you may not end up at the place you want to go, but maybe it brings you to an unexpected new place.
On the other hand, what if you'd just jump into the river, hold on to a a log, and see where it takes you?
It's like when travelling for an extended period of time. You do what you want, you have no obligations, every day is Saturday! But after a while, you start to notice that all your newfound friends tend to remain superficial connections, and you seem to start longing for some kind of purpose.
So to me it seems that neither just swimming nor just floating is very fulfilling in the long term (and then the question is if the pursuit of happiness is the swimming or the floating?).
But then what is? How do you combine these two in a meaningful way?
The best I can think of is allowing yourself to float, but only choosing the streams which you find meaningful, or that fit into your mission in life.
I'd love to hear your answers to this question as well in the comments below, because frankly, I don't know.