Do you feel that you are not moving forward as fast as you should? You are working hard but not seeing any concrete results. You feel that you don’t know what to do in life. Days are passing too fast but you just can’t figure out the way to move forward to the life that you want.
I was feeling the same way one morning during this week. I had a feeling that the dream life I want is not getting any closer. The time was passing but I felt that I wasn’t able to move forward. I felt stuck.
Whenever I feel this way, I remember these things:
1.) You are not stuck
Look around you. Life is flowing as it has always been. Time doesn’t stop. You are not stuck, you only feel stuck. It is only the mind that feels that way because you don’t see a measurable progress.
The first thing I do is stop telling myself that I am stuck. Not moving forward is also a part of life. You may set big goals and make wonderful plans, but I assure you that nothing will ever work exactly according to your plans.
Music is not made only of notes. There is also a gap, a silence between the notes. A beautiful architectural space is also made by a perfect rhythm of mass and void. Any great piece of art has a beautiful and well proportionate combination of positive and negative spaces.
One of the Mozart quotes I shared goes:
“Silence is very important. The silence between the notes are as important as the notes themselves“Mozart
Similarly life is not only made of the things that you want. You will inevitably have days when you don’t achieve what you want. It is neither good, nor bad. It is just a part of your music. You are not stuck.
2.) Be who you are right now
You think you are stuck because you want to be somewhere. We always want to become something that we are not. But being what we are right now is always a true satisfaction.
All our goals, future plans, desires and fears are not our own. They are just something we have picked up from the society. We can live perfectly well if we were to abandon all that we want.
For example, why does everyone want to be successful? What is wrong with failing all the time? Why doesn’t anyone say , “I want to fail in life”? The only reason I see is that the society respects success over failure. Other than that, I can see no difference between them. They are two different names of a same result.
“I want to become successful” is not ‘my’ desire. I wasn’t born with it. I only absorbed it from the world around me as I grew up. If I drop that, I can work and rest in freedom, without being burdened constantly about being successful.
When I drop all my ‘wants’, I can just be who I am right now, a piece of life.
3.) Observe more of nature
That day in the evening I saw a snail on an insignificant piece of land. It was moving so slow that it made me stop. I paused for a moment to look at the beauty in that movement. That pause was all I needed to feel unstuck.
Then I realised that it wasn’t moving too slow. Everything in nature has a pace of its own. A snail isn’t too slow and a cheetah isn’t too fast. They have their own pace which can’t be compared with any other creature.
You also have a pace with which you do things. If you try to move faster than that, you will feel uncomfortable and miss the beauty of life.
Don’t forget that you are also a part of nature. Observing nature outside will always make you feel calm and peaceful, because it reflects the nature within you.
4.) Everything changes
“A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”
“It will pass,” the teacher said matter-of-factly.
A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!’
“It will pass,” the teacher replied matter-of-factly.“Zen story
The fact that everything changes is a reason why we shouldn’t cling to anything. Good times or bad, success or failure, happiness or sadness, birth or death, everything will pass. Just be who you are and observe all these come and go.
5.) You have nowhere to reach
There is no destination to arrive at. If you are not at peace with yourself right now, you will not be peaceful even when you achieve your biggest dreams! It is a hoax that we think we will be satisfied after achieving what we want.
Time for another beautiful story:
One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.
About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman. “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”
The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”
“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.
The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.
The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.
“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.
The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”
Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”
The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”Fisherman parable
Most of us can do what we want right now. Enjoy the life in the best way we want, but we don’t do it because we are worried about tomorrow.
I hope this helped you come back to the present and feel the beauty of life right now. You can never get out of ‘feeling stuck’ unless you give up thoughts about future.
Present is where the life is flowing. Past is frozen and the future is unknown. If you want to feel unstuck, come back to the present and feel the flow of life!
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can I do what I love to do right now, without worrying about the future? If so, why am I not doing it? What stops me from doing what I love?
- What are the best lessons I have learned from observing nature?
- Which goals and desires of mine are a burden to me? Are they constantly bugging me about future and success? Can I just drop them now?
- Am I trying to achieve things too fast just because I have seen someone else do it? Am I walking at my own pace or trying to imitate someone?
- Why do I want to be successful? Why can’t I just work freely without being burdened by success?