What is More Important: The Means or the End?
Coming off the comment thread of the Frivolous Fifty post, I’ve been having some good discussions with a few people that has me thinking about what matters most: the end result of what we’re working towards or the means by which we get there?
It also has me wondering about you — the readers of The New Pursuit. Why have you chosen to spend time with my writing? What are you pursuing? Who and what are you like?
I think people are reading TNP for different reasons; because they identify with one or more of the three elements of the human existence (Life, Nature, Being) about whose intersections I am exploring.
While it is one of the pathways to living deeply (for me, at least), this is not a blog dedicated exclusively to minimalism or simple living. It is not a hard-core naturalist blog. Nor is TNP focused solely on ways of reaching some sort of enlightened state.
TNP is chronicling and sharing my journey to answer my One Burning Question:
How is the human existence and experience transformed to one of balance, harmony and sustainability for the long-term viability of the entire eco-sphere?
Put another way: I want to explore how we (myself included) transform our relationship with the planet and all that calls it Home (the ‘eco-sphere’). For it is in transforming this relationship — I believe — that holds the key to sustaining all Life for the long-haul.
It is part practical and part spiritual; part doing and part being.
When I go outside and allow myself to just BE with Nature, something happens. I sense an energy; I am in awe of all the Magnificence of Life around me. It makes me think about how I fit into it; how everything I do could have an impact — whether positive or negative — on it. How I have a deep responsibility to care and nurture it for future generations.
It makes me want to un-complicate my life to be more in tune with the natural rhythm of this planet. It makes me want to seek beauty and harmony in all that I do — from the seemingly mundane tasks of my 9-5 job to the awesome (and really hard sometimes!) responsibility of raising my children to be catalysts in a world fraught with challenge and opportunity.
So, I go back to my original question of what matters most: The end result of what we’re working towards or the means by which we get there?
I think it depends on what you are seeking — and the person.
If you are seeking personal happiness do you need to adopt a minimalist or simple lifestyle to get there? Do you need to eliminate all sorts of material and immaterial things to ‘free’ yourself enough to be happy? Do you need to be mindful of every moment of every day? Or is happiness as simple as resolving yourself to be that way regardless of how much baggage you’re carrying?
If you are seeking to be One with Nature, do you need to do all those things first? Do you need to be a uber-vegan-composting-hemp-wearing-bike-riding-solar-cooking-commune-living-no-waste-making-forest-worshiping guru? Or is it as simple as a decision to change your perspective and sense of being?
In my case, I think it’s a little of both approaches. Part doing and part being. This may be different for others.
Are these realms of happiness and oneness only available to the single or childless urban dwellers out there? Does the suburban family have equal stake in the hope of attaining these things? Do you need to be a backpack hauling nomad? Or does a house, a couple of cars, and an hour-long commute to work preclude you from taking this journey?
Clearly, I fall into the latter group there in terms of my life situation. That being said, I believe what The New Pursuit is all about has applicability to everyone, regardless of your family, housing or work state.
Why? Because we are all human. Because when you strip us down to our humble nakedness we are more alike than different. The simple desires for happiness, for connection with others, for some sort of Oneness with something greater than us are universal — whether we admit it or not.
Our humanness also qualifies us for equal responsibility to be caretakers of the source that makes all our lives possible — the Earth. Our compassion should extend to the natural world around us and all that lives, breathes and calls it home. To hold the Diversity of Life sacred and see to its perpetual well-being.
And with that, I turn to you and ask: What is more important in your own life? The journey or the goal? Do we all have equal access to this regardless of our life’s situation?
If you found value in this post, it would mean a lot if you could share it with others who you think would enjoy it. You may also like these posts:
- Defining What it Means to Live Deeply in a Shallow World
- Meditation: The Awesome Power of Nature
- Interbeing: Why Seeing Everything in Everything is a Game Changer for the World
[image: Cicciofarmaco | Photography]