The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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In Pursuit of Goallessness

To tell you the truth, goals scare me.

Picture me in one of the volunteer team meetings. “How many people do we need to bring in?” “200, no 300!” “500!” And so on it goes.

And I’d shrink inwardly, willing myself to go along with the energy and adrenaline. Don’t put a negative vibe into that soup of joyful enthusiasm, okay? Be a team player. Dream big, reach high, shoot for the stars.

And all that crap (sorry).

Okay, let me break this down in a more practical way.

I think goals serve two purposes. First, they help you make a plan, and that, I can completely get on board with. I have a goal to get to work between 9:15am and 9:30am each morning, so I plan to leave home around 8:30am, or a little earlier. Kriya+meditation takes me 45 minutes, so I have to factor that time into the morning schedule. Breakfast, dressing, lunch prep… you get the drift. A rough plan/goal helps me get started. Now, I miss my goal almost every morning, but I am happy that it exists. It serves as a baseline of sorts, and it keeps me tethered to the original idea. Of course, I can tweak it each morning, if needed, and that’s part of the goal setting.

Now here is the second purpose of having a goal. I think Purpose#2 is to stay motivated. And that hardly ever works for me.

I find it virtually impossible to be motivated by a goal. That ticking number only makes me nervous. Or it used to make me nervous when I was younger. These days, I stuff the goal into an imaginary trash can, and get on with my day, life, whatever. Seriously, I am unable to make myself care.

Two weeks ago, I bought a beautiful Apple Watch. It is a piece of beauty! But it became clear to me within a couple of days that this gorgeous device was wasted on me. I didn’t care about the # of calories I hit (or didn’t) each day, or the number of minutes I spent in active exercise. These targets felt meaningless to me, so the tracker was wasted.

I think back to my childhood, youth, early days of career. And it all feels the same. I had no goals to achieve, no real targets to meet. Perhaps I never wanted anything bad enough?

(When I met P, I knew that I wanted him in my life. But that process had an energy of its own, and I was happy to follow along. Well, perhaps it was a subconscious goal that led me towards him?)

Recently I had a conversation about yoga practice and doing a headstand. Somehow, I have never been motivated to expand my yoga practice by way of learning new poses. I feel very content to take a class or two periodically, improve my personal practice, develop a keener awareness into my own experience of the postures, body alignment, aches and pains in weird places, etc. I don’t feel a particular fascination to do a handstand or headstand, whatever. Perhaps one day, I will arrive at the point of doing one of these poses. And I am perfectly okay waiting for that day, whenever it comes.

To me, the practice of Hatha Yoga is the goal. Today, I have a lot of love for Hatha Yoga practice; I feel naturally pulled towards it. So, I have reached my so-called goal, because I have discovered the love and devotion that keeps me glued to the practice. I have hit my goal, many times over.

Some days I think, what a loser you are. Look at your peers, how successful they are! But then my wise partner tells me, dude, you don’t want it, and that’s the prime reason you don’t have all that “success.”

I think that probably explains it.

Knowingly or unknowingly, I have been led forward in life by my heart. I am led by the things I love, not the ones that make sense, necessarily. I fought this flow of energy a long time, thought of myself as a drifter, a non-achiever.

However, the truth is that I have always lived for the drift. I have enjoyed the views, the fellow passengers, the people waving on the shores. I have breathed in the sunset colors, sipped warm chai at passing homes, shared gifts and stories.

I have never made a plan, and that’s probably why I have drifted in strange ways, landed up at unknown shores.

To put it plainly, the drift has always been the goal for me.