It feels normal, isn’t it? To chase the next big thing. Always plan, achieve, do your best to meet your goals.
But in that normal existence, you often forget to take a step back and appreciate the very act of doing and being aware of it.
To put it simply, you forget the art of living in the present moment that can radically transform your life.
I totally get it because I’ve done this many times without realizing it.
I used to wake up and immediately start thinking and fussing over every little thing that had to be done that day.
My mind would tailspin in the “achieving” mode and ignore everything else. I neglected my body by working late into the night and eating unhealthy food. I ignored my friends and family by burying myself in work.
I was always worried about what might happen and what I can do about it. My mind was filled with countless “what if” scenarios, and I was always anxious and dissatisfied.
So today I would like to share with you a few warning signs that you are living an unconscious life completely out of touch with the present moment.
Are you trying to get somewhere other than where you are right now?
For example, what are you going to do after reading this article?
You’ll probably go back to your daily to-do list. We all have unending tasks that keep coming up no matter how fast we complete them.
This way of living is a perfect recipe for feeling constant dissatisfaction. Why? Because every progress you make moves the finish line further away.
Once you finish something, you realize that it’s not good enough. The feeling of accomplishment is quickly replaced by wanting more and more.
But if you keep living like that no matter what you achieve it will never satisfy you for long. The moment you get it, the feeling of lack will re-emerge, and the struggle will continue.
How much of what you’re doing is a transaction of give-and-get-back-in-return?
Do you see the value of activity only in how close it gets you to your next goal?
I used to be like that in all areas of my life, particularly in relationships with other people. I would make friends only with those who could benefit me in some way or another.
Am I saying that you should stop being selective and be friends with everyone? No. What I’m saying is that in my case all my moves were calculated. As a result, I met people who treated me the same way.
And when these relationships collapsed, I would find myself lost and angry at the world.
When you treat everything as a means to an end, you lose touch with Life. You can’t find deeper dimensions of satisfaction that come from genuine relationships that are free of egoic needs.
Are you chasing fulfillment through short-lived pleasures
We all have mini addictions that keep us going whenever we feel tired or about to give up.
When you sit at your desk and have a day of work ahead of you, what is it that keeps you going?
Opening your fridge and eating your favorite meal? Having a bite at your favorite pizza place? Drinking a glass of wine?
It’s not uncommon for us to have a dysfunctional relationship with food or alcohol. We see it as a way to relax and forget about all the bad stuff that happened to us during the day or week.
We see it as a kind of reward for biting the bullet and doing everything we could to get the things done.
For example, the moment we take a sip of wine we delude ourselves into thinking that all our troubles are over and everything will be ok.
We use food and alcohol to avoid taking responsibility for our lives and our choices.
Are you focusing on becoming, achieving, and attaining?
If someone asked you, “Have you achieved your biggest goal in life?” what would your answer be?
Would you say that you’re still pursuing that one that thing that will give meaning to your life?
Does it seem that success is just around the corner and all you need to do is push a little bit harder?
All my life I was striving to achieve more: make more money, buy more stuff, meet more people. And the finish line kept moving further and further away.
Nothing I ever did felt good enough, I always wanted more.
That kind of lifestyle lead to a breakdown: I felt depressed, tired, and everything seemed hopeless.
Does any of that sound familiar? Do you feel like you need to achieve more to feel fulfilled and happy?
Do you think that buying more stuff will make you more complete?
What was your last most significant purchase? Did you plan it ahead by saving money or taking a small loan?
How long did you feel satisfied after buying it? A month? A week? A day?
It passes very quickly, isn’t it? The high of a new purchase. After you’ve bought it and played around a bit, it loses its magic appeal and fades into the grey mass of ordinary things.
The primary motivation behind most of our shopping habits is the need to add more to our sense of self.
We feel incomplete and want to fill that hole with stuff. But it’s never enough. No matter how many things we buy, they never satisfy us for long.
We always compare ourselves to others and want to feel bigger and more important.
In this attempt to fill a bottomless hole we forgot how to appreciate the things we already have. How to be more with less, how not to derive our sense of self from external things.
So my question to you is this: how much of your sense of self is reliant on the external things? Can you imagine yourself without your possessions? What will be left of you if you lost everything tomorrow?
Are you waiting for a man or a woman to make you happy?
Movies and romantic novels make us believe that meeting “the one” could solve all our problems and give us what we truly want.
Eckhart Tolle says that the underlying condition of the ego is a deep sense of lack and incompleteness, and it’s always looking for ways to cover it up.
You start looking for one man or woman that will make you happy. When you find someone, the entire focus of your “self” becomes concentrated on that person. You form almost an obsessive attachment to that one form and call it “falling in love.”
But like any egoic need, it never feels enough. So when you realize that this person will never be able to complete you, the conflict arises, you make each other miserable, and break up.
Consequently, the cycle repeats itself over and over again. If you’re not aware of this pattern in your life, you always live in an imaginary future with a perfect person that doesn’t exist.
See if any of these patterns are present in your life and decide how you can stop them.
Most of these things we do unconsciously, meaning we’re not really aware of them and so these things keep damaging our inner and outer well-being.
I find it easier to make the first small step towards the change. Just choose one thing and work on it. Once you feel like you’ve made progress try something else. I believe you can do it if you put your mind to it.