Being There…

images-472 Being There  1979  Peter Sellers

I have just been reading a number of articles about a syndrome called ‘destination-addiction’ and it rang a number of clanking bells for me. In short ‘destination-addiction’ is a way in which many of us may regard our lives and our journeys through them. We tend to think of the days that we spend doing the living thing as time in which we ought to be aiming for something else.

Out there, at the end of the road, is a little hamlet that is called Nirvana. If we carry on without deviating, we will get there…eventually.

Once there, everything will be just fine.  

So, I have bought my ticket and am on my trip towards completeness.

Not as easy as that. You are on the bus, on the train, in a plain, and you are racing towards your final destination, the place where it will all make sense, the place you have done it all for. And do you know what you should do when you have reached that place?

You should stop. You should kick off your shoes. You should take a look around because this is where you will be staying put for the rest of your earthly days.

But we are not programmed to sit-back. We are hunter-gatherers and we know that our next big meal lies just over the next big hill. But there is a pride of lions or sabre-toothes that live on that hill. All part of the journey my friend. They are just temporary obstacles; we will have invented powerful weaponry by the time we get to the foot of the hill and if we haven’t? Well, there are plenty of us; the cats can only eat so much.

So, we carry on…

We like a happy ending, but it has to be an ending that has been fought for. Struggle is in our DNA. Life is struggle and struggle is life. They go together like a horse and carriage. The horse struggles to continually pull the carriage and the carriage struggles to deal with the ever worsening road and pot-holes. On top of that is a man, or woman, struggling to keep the horse fed, the carriage in good condition, and their peckers suitably erect. Just another mile, another hill, another day. Just over that next horizon lies…and there’s the rub.

Things lie at the end of our journeys. That’s why people in the past had afterlives. When you are finally dead and gone, the struggle is over, all sorts of fun and relaxation awaits you.

I saw one of the finest poets of the twentieth century a few months ago. His verse had rung so deeply with me that I believed it to be mine own. His clarity of thought dismissed my youthful attempts to distinguish wheat from chaff and pointed me in clear directions.   He was a seer and a prophet all in one and he captured it all in crystal clear stanzas.

It had been a period of thirty-plus years since I had last been in his presence and things had changed. He was older, bent by time, worn by the gradual erosion of hope. His poetry reading was in a Minster, a big old church, and he was my voice of God. But God’s voice was no longer ebullient with the struggles to come, rather it was diminished by those struggles lost. Both voices stood in the granite arena of certainty and neither was complete.

I met the poet afterwards and gave him my thanks. I would not see him in the flesh again. Of this I was certain. He looked at me and was grateful that his words had meant so much to someone who was a stranger. We had shared similar paths, followed similar roads, and reached similar ends. He was a poet of such legendary standing, something I had yearned for all of my enlightened life, but he was here at the point of fulfilment and still the road onwards beckoned.

Doctor Robert Holden. Director of the Happiness Project and Success Intelligence:

 

“Do you live your life only to get to the end of it? Most people answer this question with a ‘no’, but not everyone lives like they mean it. In the manic society that most of us experience, people exhibit a frantic, neurotic behavior I call ‘Destination Addiction’. This addiction is a major block to success. People who suffer from Destination Addiction believe that success is a destination. They are addicted to the idea that the future is where success is, happiness is, and heaven is. Each passing moment is merely a ticket to get to the future. They live in the ‘not now’, they are psychologically absent, and they disregard everything they have. Destination Addiction is a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is somewhere else. We suffer, literally, from the pursuit of happiness. We are always on the run, on the move, and on the go. Our goal is not to enjoy the day, it is to get through the day. We have always to get to somewhere else first before we can relax and before we can savor the moment. But we never get there. There is no point of arrival. We are permanently dissatisfied. The feeling of success is continually deferred. We live in hot pursuit of some extraordinary bliss we have no idea how to find”.

images-471

One glass and no refill

is life for men,

so keep pouring till

Death says when.

 

Amphis

 

GREEK POET FROM FOURTH CENTURY BC

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