“What’s your goal with this new website?” an old friend asked yesterday. “I have no idea,” I laughed nervously.
An ambitious and determined young man (whom I used to work with at a conservative “think tank”), he was not impressed. He is the kind of guy who is serious about “success,” about setting goals and achieving them, about moving the benchmark to new heights, about planning for a happy future.
“What do you mean ‘you have no idea!?'” he asked, laughing, but almost offended by my idiocy.
“I don’t know,” I continued. “I just wanted a place to write about all the things that have been interesting me lately, and it’d be great if I could make some money at it because this food truck crap blows.”
He laughed a while longer – he’s always found me entertaining – and then changed the subject to more sensible matters.
For a moment, I felt as I’d felt in the past when he and other coworkers teased me about my capabilities as a reporter – embarrassed and ashamed, because I didn’t measure up. I wasn’t productive enough. They didn’t take me seriously. If I couldn’t produce at least one article a day, like a chicken laying an egg, I had no business in the news business, they’d insinuate.
My coworkers, like my editors, didn’t care much about the relevance or quality of an article, they just wanted us to write SOMETHING, anything, on schedule, even if we didn’t have anything to say. We had weekly traffic goals and we had to meet them goddammit.
Okay, I’m exaggerating. It wasn’t nearly as high stress and productivity-centered as your average job at an average corporation. But even at a think-tank-owned newspaper, the focus was more on the doing and producing.
After I hung up, I got to thinking – what is my goal? I mean aside from making enough money to keep eating so I can keep living? Like what is my goal for life? What is the purpose of continuing to live, so that I can continue to work, so that I can continue to eat, so that I can continue to live? When do I get to the living part? What is the living part? Am I living while I’m working? Or am I working so that I can live later?
It’s not the first time I’ve asked these questions, but I needed a reminder of the answer. So I searched for a relevant Osho video and sure enough, I found it:
“Life has no purpose… and that’s why it is so beautiful,” Osho says. “The purpose is life. How can it have any other purpose?”
“Hindus have called it a ‘Leela,’ a ‘play’. It is not even a game. In the West, the word ‘game’ has become very, very important … There is a difference between game and play. Hindus have called it play, not game, because even a game has something as a purpose, a result to be attained, a victory to be achieved. The other man has to be conquered. Then play becomes a game. Then it becomes serious. Grown ups play games. Children only play. The very activity is enough unto itself. It has an intrinsic end. There is no goal added to it. Life is a Leela. It is a play. And the moment you are ready to play, you are enlightened.”
“In the world you desire money, power, prestige. Then you get fed up with it. You see the whole thing is just rubbish … You come to feel the whole thing is nonsense. So you start playing new games – enlightenment, meditation, yoga, god, the other world … Again, the mind is at ease. A new world of desires has opened. Now, you will be after these goals. And money is not so elusive as meditation. This world at least is solid … The other world is absolute fantasy.”
“Now you are in a deeper ditch than before. With the first you could realize it was useless. With the second, now it will take millions of lives to realize that this too is useless.”
“When one comes to discover all goals are useless, with no exception … there is nothing to do. One just has to be. One relaxes … so totally because there is nothing to do, there is no tension … With nothing to do, you disappear. The ego disappears.”
“This is enlightenment … You start being playful. You start being alive moment to moment, nowhere to go. Whatever life gives, you accept it with deep gratitude. Grace happens to you …”
So there you have it, I have no goal and I have no purpose, other than life itself. Whew… that’s a relief!