“We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move. We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable. We work with being, but non-being is what we use.” Tao Te Ching, Mitchell translation, chapter 11
I have been struggling lately with not having goals. Last year, I stopped having the assumption that I would continue to live and achieve various goals in my lifetime. With no forward movement (goals, hopes, etc.) in my life, what on earth could I do?
That is where I have been. If you had zero goals or hopes in your life, what would you do?
I am discovering some interesting ironies. I am finding that working towards a particular goal or outcome puts me, to some degree, in a state of waiting. Once I have done absolutely everything I can to prepare for some eventuality (getting the degree, paying for a funeral yet to happen, getting a will for Barry, etc.), I am then in the position of waiting. And this is the ultimate passive state. So I am in the, “OK. Now what?” position. Instead of frantically preparing to live, I am actually living.
Being here is interesting. I am doing things because I want to. Not for a future goal. In some ways, I am now more active than before.
I can now do what I wanted to do many years ago—tell the truth about my family’s dysfunction—without fear of reprisal. Fear is focused on the future and I am not.
I can meditate with zero goals of enlightenment. I still have to take care of Barry and may never have the freedom to do long retreats. Pointless meditation is the best. It is a stopping of the insanity. It makes no pretenses. “Here I am. Deal with it,” it says.
The dysfunction in my family comes from not allowing issues to become conscious and from a lack of honesty in terms of what part each person plays. And so nothing ever changes. The insanity is justified throughout endless repetitions.
By stopping (and meditating), the cycle is broken and issues rise quickly to the surface. The stopping is the emptiness, the hub of the wheel, the interior of the house, etc. It is the blank tablet. Nothing is fixed, but at least you know what needs to be fixed and are no longer contributing to the insanity.
I still have no idea what I want, but now I am able to act on what I want as I figure it out. It is ongoing. I am not careless; I am fearless. When you have already let go of just about everything, what is there to fear? Audre Lord said (and I agree), “Of what was I ever afraid?”