What is fulfillment? Is there something like a definition or instruction manual for living a fulfilled life?
They say that a fulfilled life lies elsewhere for everyone, which obviously refers to outer success. But is that success really a premise for living a fulfilled life? Or is it just something that we tell ourselves, because we do not see any other answer on the horizon?
Obviously a buddhist monk does not care about outer success, but maybe he is more fulfilled sitting in his hut than the millonaire in his villa?
Does success lead to living a fulfilled life?
Let’s start with the most obvious for most of us when we consider living a fulfilled life: We link worldly success to our fulfillment. Why?
The link between success and fulfillment is anything else but obvious. Otherwise you would not see people with grim faces driving their dream car, you would not have all those stressed successful people.
Or is it simply that they have not yet had enough success? But where is the damn limit then?
You can observe that there is no limit for a mind in a compulsive state. Having reached a milestone & felt some pleasure from that, this mind quickly jumps to the next goal.
It is this short-lived pleasure that some people confuse with fulfillment. But this is not my understanding of a fulfilled life, because it means you are always running & you never get there.
The reason for the link between success & fulfillment in our minds is simple: It’s just what we are conditioned to believe right from the start. We are made believe that having that college degree, that career, a family and a home will lead to a fulfilling life.
So can we grab fulfillment like the latest technical gimmick many people lust for? Or is fulfillment in our being just too fluid to define it?
Maybe the vagueness of fulfillment is the reason why we back off from going deeper. Maybe we are afraid to find no answer at all; and we rather cling to the myth of success & fulfillment, which at least brings relief through distraction, if not being a real answer.
But the real answer only awaits the brave ones, because the real answer is an experience, not an abstract concept.
Do children live a fulfilling life?
Sometimes it seems that small children flow naturally in the joys of life, being so full of energy. Yes, even without a cup of coffee! You will even find children in war zones playing lightheartedly in case no acute danger is present.
Maybe you remember your own experience as a child. Maybe you remember being with great presence of mind, spontaneous, expressive and deeply alive. Something had to happen to make you unhappy. For many adults the equation has turned: Somebody has to make them happy.
Why is that?
Maybe our children are closer to the answer for living a fulfilled life. Maybe we should be the ones to ask them instead of teaching them all kinds of nonsense?
Well, you may try to ask. But they will not know, as they feel this state to be very natural. The child is unconsciously in the lap of natural joy, because it is not yet far away from the nature of life. It is only on the way to adulthood that many of them sadly lose this connection. Being miserable is a learned state.
Celebratory Nature of Life
It does not take much to see the vital & creative nature of life – so exuberant & rich! Just see the explosion of colors & forms in springtime; that endless diversity of life on this blue planet in the vast nothingness.
At the same time nature has given you the freedom of an individual experience that you determine yourself in many ways. You can choose between being poor or rich in your heart; living on the surface or diving deep into the sea of life. The question just is: Are you living that choice?
What would you choose – joy or misery?
The answer is obvious. Nevertheless many of us choose the latter on a day to day basis – unconsciously of course. What if we were aware of this choice all the time? What if we would stop creating sorrow, worry, anxiety, jealousy and all these problems?
I’ll tell you: You would arrive in the harmony of life – being connected to the nature of life again; as children are.
It is not our work, family or other outer success that determine our happiness. Obviously we can also be miserable when nothing has changed in these situations. There is nothing wrong with outer success – it just should be a more conscious choice, because it is not the source of our fulfillment.
The world is constantly in motion; doesn’t matter how much we cling. Then some tiny virus comes along as in 2020 and turns everything upside down. If you therefore link your fulfillment to outer situations, it will be pulled towards all directions – it can not be otherwise!
So the most important part is having a stable base within, that does not depend on the waves on the surface of life. Only a free mind is capable of it. Such a mind does not fear the future, is present like a rock, yet fluid like water when necessary. Such a mind analyses where needed, and then completely lets go.
Only such a mind will dare to live fully, not anymore revolving around a tiny ego in the head; but being completely open to life with all its possibilities & obstacles.
And that is when the question about living a fulfilled life disappears unnoticed. Suddenly you find yourself in the joys of life, and your plans & actions are no more a means to finding a fulfilled life, but simply become a beautiful expression of your life.