The Two Basic Approaches to Life

There are two basic ways in which we can approach our lives.

The first approach is the goal-oriented approach. We can decide on the optimal conditions in our life that we wish to realize, set goals to realize these conditions, and utilize our human energy, i.e. our Personal Power, to realize these conditions.

This approach enables us to radically alter the initial set of conditions that we inherited from our upbringing.

The second approach is what might be called the Zen approach. Using this approach, we do not strive to achieve goals or alter our present circumstances. Instead, we simply use our Personal Power to perceive our lives as being ideal exactly as they are and appreciate all that we have and all that we are right here and right now.

Both are valid approaches, and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Likewise, we may utilize both approaches at various times in our lives, and in fact, it is invariably necessary that we do so.

Here and Now is the One Moment of Experience. That being the case, we might argue that there is no need to establish and pursue goals. Since we can only experience our lives in This Present Moment, we are always right here, right now. Therefore, all we need to do is to perceive our lives better in order to experience our lives in a better way. The ability to realize the experience of happiness and well-being here and now is the ultimate expression of Personal Power.

That being said, we are by nature creatures of action. It is necessary for us to learn to do things and become proficient at them. Just as we can use our Personal Power to simply think better thoughts in This Present Moment, we can also utilize our Personal Power to take actions in This Present Moment that we perceive will in some way improve the quality of our lives.

Viewed in this way, there is no conflict between the goal-oriented approach and the Zen approach to living. We take action in This Present Moment to either think better thoughts about our lives, and perceive it as perfect as it is here and now, or we take an action because we believe it will enhance our lives in some way. Both “Acts of Power” accomplish the same goal: to improve the quality of our lives.

We can, if we wish, approach our goals from a state of completion. That is, we can perceive life as being perfect exactly as it is here and now, and then strive to achieve a goal simply because we want to, because we want to experience a different set of conditions in our lives.

Take exercise as an example. If we are not accustomed to exercising, exercise can be an unpleasant and exhausting affair. Surely we’d be better off just perceiving that our bodies and our level of fitness are perfectly fine right here and right now; therefore there is no need to exert ourselves physically in that manner.

However, we may recognize that our lives may be enhanced by becoming more physically fit. Exercising may enable us to become physically stronger, have more endurance, and perhaps look and feel better. Therefore, we can pursue the goal of physical fitness through exercise, enjoying the process along the way as much as the end result.

In contrast, we may take the Zen approach and decide that we don’t really need to do anything. We can, in fact, sit on our couch all day and just have a great attitude about life and be happy without really exerting ourselves. And as long as we are genuinely happy doing so, that approach is fine. There is certainly a time and place for doing nothing and simply exercising our perceptual muscles to perceive our lives as being just fine exactly as they are, and in fact, many of us would be highly benefit from becoming more skilled at doing just that.

It is important to recognize that at various times in our lives our challenge will be to take action and achieve particular goals, and at other times, our challenge will be to adopt a Zen-like approach and simply perceive our lives as being just fine as they are right here and right now. The key is to always be fluid and able to adapt well to the challenge of This Present Moment, whatever it may be.


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