At times in my life, I come across what I call "triggers of enlightenment." It seems like they come out of nowhere, just at the right time, for the right reasons. These triggers come in many forms. They can be a chance meeting with the right person, a breakthrough when learning something new, or even a message of wisdom hidden in time that I somehow uncover.
Recently, I can across this message from philosopher Alan Watts. It was triggered because it was used in a commercial and it resonated with me. I researched it and found the text of it. I found the message to be even more deep and important than I thought when I first heard it. Below is the text, which I encourage you to read as it has a way of sinking in more when you do, but I also found a great video with the text actually spoken by Alan himself. Give both a few minutes and it may trigger something for you!
Live Fully Now - Alan Watts
My goodness don't you remember when you went first to school and you went to kindergarten and in kindergarten, the idea was to push along so to get into first grade and then push along so that you could get into second-grade, third grade and so on, going up and up?
And then you went to high school and this was a great transition in life and now the pressure is being put on; you must get ahead, you must go up the grades and finally be good enough to get to college. And then when you get to college, you're still going step by step, step by step, up to the great moment in which you're ready to go out into the world.
And then when you get out into this famous world... Comes... the struggle for success in profession or business and again there seems to be a ladder before you - something for which are reaching all the time.
And then...Suddenly when you are about forty or forty-five years old, in the middle life, you wake up one day and say. “Huh? I've arrived, and by joe, I feel pretty much the same as I've always felt. In fact I'm not so sure that I don't feel a little bit cheated.” Because you see you were fooled. You were always living for somewhere where you aren't.
And while, as I said, it is of tremendous use for us, to be able look ahead in this way and to plan. There is no use planning for a future which when you get to it and it becomes a present, you won't be there. You'll be living in some other future which hasn't yet arrived. And so in this way, one is never able actually to inherit and enjoy the fruits of ones actions.
You can't live at all…Unless you can live fully, Now.
All my life, I have lived to strive for something. Be a goal, a mission, a milestone, or result. And when you reach these things, it drives you. It fuels you to do more. It inspires you. But, at some point, you realize that is all you are about. You spend every moment thinking and working toward the goal. And for some things, that is absolutely what it takes...an obsession. But, what many fail to realize is that you can miss out on the experience of life along the way. And one day, you do wake up, whether you are 30, 40, 50, whatever, and you realize all that you may have missed. Don't miss out. The solution I have found to balance this is to schedule intense periods of focused, driven work to reach a goal, milestone, etc., followed by short periods of re-charge focused on the experiences of life with those around you.
I mean what good is it to work your ass off for 20+ years and miss out on your best years and everything the world has to offer you. There is a balance and you must find it and strive to live fully now.