Few is Much

I choose to keep
less and less
things
less and less
people
as time goes by

And yet I feel
more and more
happiness
more and more
peace
in this saying goodbye

Those that I keep
are truly worth
the letting go
of all the others
that are not worth
my time
and
not worth
my life

The number
of things and people
does not determine
the quality of my life

I have found that
fully devoting myself to
the few
people and things
that really stir my soul
brings the deepest and truest
lasting happiness

Find your few
give them your all
You cannot give all
to many

Giving to many
is like rays of light
that are diffused to many areas
it does not burn

Only focused rays of light
bundled into
a point
burns

I need not many
I cannot have many
I have not many
I don’t want many

I have few
And that few
to me
is much

Means and Ends

I want to talk about means and ends. I define means as those activities that we do to achieve certain goals or ends. I define ends as those things that we seek to achieve through means.

What is the highest end to which all ends go?

Happiness.

It is what we are all seeking for. It is what we are all doing these things in our life for. It is what we are all living for. To achieve this state of well being. To live well and feel right in all aspects of our being. It is an inner state of harmony with life. It is a sense of being awake, aware, and vibrant.

The highest end is simply being happy.

Don’t you think so?  If it’s not happiness, then what are we all doing these activities in life for anyway?

The question then now is, how do we get happiness?

First, let us look at how unhappiness happens.

Unhappiness happens when we postulate that we must achieve a certain end for us to be happy.

If we are making our happiness conditional on achieving an end, what if we can never achieve that end? Then one can never be happy.

So now, let us look at how happiness happens:

When means become ends, and ends become means, one flows in happiness.

Think about it. We all want to use means in order for us to be happy.

But when we see that the happiness we seek is not in achieving a certain end but in the doing of the activities for the sake of themselves, then we have found happiness right here and now.

This does not disregard the fact that the doing of these activities can achieve certain ends that also evoke a sense of well-being, but seeing both as already means and ends, here and now.

The way to happiness is in seeing reality in a way that things and people are not just means but ends in themselves.

If we focus our time in doing activities that are means to get to an end that we think can make us happy, then we cannot use that time to do activities that we find pleasurable and enjoyable in and of themselves.

A simple walk with your lover.
A warm shower.
Playing with your pet.
Listening to music that you like.

People need to slow down in their lives and see that many of these activities that they can enjoy are already available to them here and now. Then they got to go do it and enjoy. That simple. What is life for, anyway? Don’t we all just want to be happy?

As for people, if we treat them as mere means to get to ends, we cannot appreciate the wonderful dynamism and creativity that each unique individual expresses.

If you look at people as merely means to getting more money, fame, power, or privileges, then you’ve missed the point of relationship.

Because relationship in its ultimate sense is an end unto itself.

When you really love, you don’t use a person as a means to an end. You actually see the person as an end unto himself or herself.

You relate because you relate. You love because you love. Happiness happens, and it happens when you don’t even use means to get to the end of happiness. You simply treat things and people as ends in themselves.

If you need to work for money to get certain ends you feel you will enjoy, then maybe you can actually find work that you enjoy doing for the sake of itself. Ask yourself:

If money were no object, what would you be doing?

What is it that makes you come alive when you do it?

Don’t make money the priority. Of course you need money, but you also need to come alive. Because what is the use of having the money to live, but feeling dead because you don’t like what you’re doing? Which do you think is a deeper need?

I suggest you factor that into your decision making too. Money isn’t the only thing you need. A deeper need is to live in a way that makes you come and feel fully alive. If not, what is life for? What’s the use of having all that money and security in life if you don’t even like how you’re living?

So go and do what makes you come alive. Life is short.

You don’t want to spend it saving up money and then end up realizing that you don’t have much time left to do what you actually want to do and what makes you come alive.

——-

What are your means and ends?

On Ownership and Stewardship

I want to write on this idea of ownership.

It is possessing something as one’s own and using it as one pleases.

And I start with some things that we take for granted as ours: our thoughts, our words, our bodies. Then I talk about material private property.

My thoughts seem not to be mine.

Are not all thoughts because of the influence of different people and experiences upon us? We are impressed by different outside influences and then we express our thoughts in different ways. But how can we say that these thoughts are ours if their origin is outside of ourselves? In this way, can we really say that anything is our original work?

The words that I use to express my thoughts do not come from me.

I did not create the English language. I did not create any language.
If I did not create the English language, can I really claim ownership for the thoughts that I express using this medium of language?

My body did not come from me.

It was borne from the union of my parents with their flesh. But even then, their bodies did not come from them, but through the union of their parents’ flesh. This goes on until the very first union. How can I say that any part of my body is really mine, if they did not come from me?

What do I actually own as mine?

If all of these things that I take for granted as mine have their origin outside of me, then how can I say that they really are mine?

So this even applies to the things we say that we own. We own our house, our car, our clothes, our laptops, our books, our food, our dog, etc. How can we really claim ownership to these if our ownership of our words, our thoughts, and our bodies are tenuous at best?

The idea of owning something is a fairly recent invention of modernity.

Private property was the early beginnings of the phenomenon we now acknowledge as capitalism and other such systems that claim ownership.

But do we really own anything? And is ownership really necessary for a system of getting what we need to live to work?

Before ownership was a reality, people just took what they needed from nature. Communities of animals and people marked certain boundaries of territory as theirs, but they know that others can also pass into this territory as they get what they need. People and animals alike didn’t even think about ownership.

Do we own something because we bought it?

Ok. Say you bought something. Now it’s yours. But going deeper, where did money even come from? It came from the imagination. The very idea of money only exists because two or more people believe in it. But in reality, money doesn’t really exist. The question that is begging to be answered though is, what is the effect of this idea of owning things on us?

What does ownership do to us?

There is a sense of entitlement that is reinforced by this idea of ownership, as if one can do anything that one wants to whatever he or she owns. Ownership is legal, but what is legal doesn’t make it right. People need to look at the big picture of how ownership actually affects themselves and the quality of their relationships with each other and the environment.

With ownership and private property, there came the possibility of hoarding. There came the transactional and detached relationships.
With money and banks, there came the possibility of loans and debts. There came people having to work for money all their lives.
With an emphasis on owning many things and having a lot of money, we have massive inequalities, disconnectedness from each other, and environmental degradation.

You can have your own stuff, but at what cost?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth the cost of making relating to your fellow people detached transactions rather than fully human relationships?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth being enslaved to debts like mortgages and so you have to work your whole life long rather than living a life free of debt and worries?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth the inequalities of haves and have-nots and the enmity caused by this rather than enjoying the peace of equality?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth the destruction of the environment because of people who want to own more and more money and stuff rather than sustaining and appreciating the beauty of nature for free?

So what do I propose as an alternative to this ownership thing?

Stewardship. In this, the focus is not on you being able to do anything to your own things.

It is the responsible and careful management of something entrusted to you.

Your planet earth, your body, your mind, your being, your things – all of these are entrusted to you. You cannot hold unto them. For a brief moment, all of these are entrusted to you, and then you will disappear from this earth.

You do not know from where all this things came. But they will come back to where they came from. It is not from you. It is only being entrusted to you. So take care of these things. They are precious.

This does not mean you should not enjoy them. Far from it. This is the true enjoyment, of knowing that it is entrusted to you so that you may enjoy it together with others. Enjoyment and happiness are only complete if they are shared.

So in being a steward, you take care of all that is entrusted to you, knowing that someday, they will be taken from you.

——-

I am a steward, not an owner.

Roadtrip

Have you ever been on a roadtrip? Roadtrips are fun.

Here are the things which I think make a good roadtrip:

You are together with the people whom you love and love you.

If you are with the people who make your heart smile, then that love makes any journey worthwhile. It doesn’t even matter much where you go or even if you arrive, because the love you seek is already here with you in the people you love.

Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

– Franklin P. Jones

Seeing all these magnificent sights in nature alone is incomplete. Christopher John McCandless whose life was shown in the movie Into the Wild and a novel with the same name, has realized something important right before he died in his solitary sojourn into the woods:

Happiness is only real when shared.

– Christopher John McCandless

Christopher went out into the woods alone, and he realized what makes a great roadtrip is sharing with the people you love and who love you. Next time you want to go out running into the woods alone, I suggest you learn about Christopher’s story.

There is no fixed destination…

There are desired destinations, but there is a certain openness to what may happen.

When you break up any expectations that the roadtrip should happen this way or that way, there is a certain openness that frees the Universe to flow its energies to you more freely.

When you have no expectations of what should happen, there is no possibility for disappointment. When you leave that space for uncertainty and embrace it, you become awake to life’s mystery.

Like a sailor who directs the masts and sails, but does not control the winds and the waves. Such is dynamic interplay of will and circumstance.

…and no rush to get to anywhere.

A roadtrip may have possible desired destinations, but there is no rush to get to them. The focus is in the present moment and enjoying where one is.

If we hurry and go towards a destination, we are taking away the best part, which is the roadtrip we are having now.

In a roadtrip, we are always in the midst of travelling. Destinations are merely part of the roadtrip.

Happiness is then found along the way, not at the end of the road. We don’t even know if we could even reach the end of the road.

This quote just about sums the roadtrip attitude:

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

– Lao Tzu

These insights of course do not just apply to any particular roadtrip, but the great roadtrip of life itself.

—-

I hope you are enjoying your roadtrip. Have a great one.

Here and Now

All you ever have is here and now.

Think about it. No matter how many dreams of the future or remembrances of the past you have, you are in the present.

So where can we find happiness? Is it when we’ve achieved the goals that we have set for ourselves? Or is it in reminiscing about times past?

It is found in the present moment.

Are you enjoying the sensations that you experience throughout your days?
Are you awake to the breeze that gently touches your skin as you drink that warm and homey cup of coffee?
Are you awake to the touch of your loved ones and their comforting presence?
Are you awake to the joys and the pleasures that the present moment makes available to you?

When you focus on the future or the past, you take away the best part, which is the NOW. The future will also be NOW. The past was NOW. But remember to be in the here and now that is now!

Don’t postpone your happiness.

“I’ll be happy when I get high grades. I’ll be happy when she becomes my girlfriend. I’ll be happy when I get out of this house and have my own. I’ll be happy when I get this promotion at work. I’ll be happy when…”

Do these sound familiar?

Truth is, we don’t know when we’re going to die. So why postpone your happiness to a future moment? And at the same time, what if you never get those things? And if you do get those things, you’ll always try to find another “I’ll be happy when…” because you think that happiness lies in the future.

The future is the horizon that gives us hope. It is a striving towards the destination. Yet remember that the destinations are only part of the journey.

Be happy in your journey.

Happiness is found along the way, not at the end of the road.

True enough. You don’t even know if you’re going to reach the end of the road.

What determines your contentment and happiness is your ability to stay in the present moment.

Worrying about the future takes you away from the present. Relax and trust. If you can do something about it, then do something to take your worry away. If you can’t do something about it, why worry about it?

Guilt about the past takes you away from the present. Learn to forgive yourself. You cannot change the past, can you? But you can do something to make the present better from what you’ve learned in the past.

Be here and now. Immerse yourself in the present moment. Be aware of how you feel, think, and are. Enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, touches, thoughts, emotions, etc. You are alive right here and now.

While waiting for something, do something else.

Don’t waste your time doing nothing while waiting for something that has not yet come.

Waiting for your boyfriend at school? Why not go to the art museum and check out the paintings there?
Waiting for you to have that college degree to be able to work? Why not work on finding your passion while you have the freetime to do so?
Waiting for your chance to go travel the world? Why not go around the local places you can already reach but have not yet gone to?

The point is to explore and to enjoy all that is in the present moment. Let the future take care of itself when it becomes the present. Do something right now.

—–

All you ever have is here and now.