A fulfilling life for an animal, is the pursuit of primal desires. Food, shelter, reproduction. A cheeseburger, an apartment without rain dripping through the roof, and the proximity of some non-matching genitals are enough for our animal selves.
These physical, objectively-measurable objects line the bottom of our hierarchy of needs. We take care of those things first.
Societies don’t watch Oprah and talk about “feelings” until our bellies are full. There are basics we need to live on this Earth. Those cannot be denied. Once we fill our bellies and cover our heads, we often wonder why something within us still feels “empty.”
Our hearts yearn for more. Our souls yearn for more.
Here is the confusion faced by our First World: This “more” does not come from bigger/better/faster food, shelter and sex.
No matter how “big” our animal satisfactions become, they do not fulfill us as human beings. If you look up at a city on a hill and see a billion-dollar home and see a helicopter pad on top of it: look at the man inside his golden helicopter. Can you see what is within his heart and soul?
Surprisingly to those of us without a helicopter, he may or may not be full of meaning and joy.
The observable world is not the totality of our reality.
A fulfilling life for a human, is the pursuit of bigger basics AND the creation of more. We seek to become a full and thriving expression of everything that we are. What we are is more than our bodies. We seek this fulfillment through specific ways of emotionally experiencing our relationships with our world.
Observable goals are symbols. It is not the trophy that we want, it is the way we feel when it is handed to us. Objective achievements are not what we ultimately seek. A lifestyle may be made up of achievements, but living is experience.
It is not the white stars on a black sky, or a shoulder under our forearm that is meaningful – it is how we felt as we put an arm around her and looked up at the stars.
I invite you to make a list of the emotional essences of experience that you value most.
Find the internal, intimate nature of how you want to relate to the world. Find the marrow of moments. Identify the genre of an episode in the show; figure out what you want to watch. What is the personality of your participation? What are the flavors you want to taste more of in life?
You are choosing what your moments are filled with, whether you notice your choices or not.
You’ve got maybe 41,000,000 minutes to fill with meaning. You can infuse them each with feeling alive. A list of values you want to create may come in handy.