Read a fairly heartbreaking “Dear Abby”-type column recently – this one called “Ask Amy.” Here it is on the Washington Post website: She’s happy enough. But now what?
Here’s what the writer-inner says:
I got married (for the first time) three years ago. My husband and I are both in our 40s and are well matched, happily childless and happily married. We bought a house, and both of us have good jobs.
I recently wondered, “What do I have to look forward to?” I couldn’t think of anything. I spent a big part of my adult life searching for a good husband. So now what?
“I couldn’t think of anything.”
The last time I didn’t have some big goal to work towards or project to finish was… 1990? Something like that. In other words, before I (thankfully) found my spiritual path.
Not only does a true spiritual journey keep you infinitely busy (pun intended!) but it also keeps you from boredom. There is NO WAY to be restless if you’re working your meditation every day. It just will not happen.
Now, that’s not to say that you won’t sometimes hit dry spells, or get down, or wonder why you’re doing this. There are certainly phases and ups and downs on the spiritual path. But, if you keep going with it, it inevitably turns back to an “up” – and usually an even-higher one than you ever experienced before. It’s not only exciting, it’s downright intoxicating.
The sadness and soul sickness so pervasive in our culture today is largely due to the fixation on material things: job, car, money, mate. These are dead ends. They’re what the Buddha talked about in terms of attraction and aversion. We get attached to the “things” in life and we overlook the reality of life itself, coursing through our consciousness, right here, right Now.
At least in that advice column, the advice-giver pointed vaguely in the general direction of a real solution. Getting some exercise can make anyone feel better. And, more importantly, Pema Chodron studied with an Enlightened master. I’m not familiar with her work but she likely is a good resource to begin a spiritual journey.
Another suggestion would be to do some volunteering. Find someone who’s worse off than you, and give give give.
If you’re meditating every day and focused on ways to help the world, instead of dwelling on how things aren’t what you thought they would be, then you’re going to end up just fine. And you might even find some honest inspiration along the way.