The world can sometimes feel like a real effort as we strive hard to be better. Whether we seek a bigger home, a better job, or to have more for ourselves and or our family. Striving seems to be central to our everyday life and work. Wanting and having seem to be key aspects of our daily living.

Consider what you do not have and want most right now.
And what would having this bring you?
Take what time you need to consider and respond to these questions before reading on.

In summary, effort and striving appear essential to getting what we think we want or to get us where we want to go. But let’s look more closely and question this premise a little more, is this true from your own experience? Is having, wanting, and striving essential to your betterment?

A common theme through our conversations and a simple model to which we often return is that when we feel the pressures of life, the self to which we commonly revert is a version of ourselves that is set on striving and forging its way forward. And what is it that compels this effortful existence and our need to strive for more?

To answer this question let’s see if we can go beneath the surface of who we commonly present and look beyond the outer mask we commonly present to explore what the underlying belief of the self is, to which we revert.

And once again what you may discover in your deeper self-reflection and exploration is that your core and underlying belief is commonly one of deficiency. Here once again we discover a central paradox, that what may compel our striving and continual seeking to have and find ‘something more’ is an underlying belief of ‘not enough’. And so we may well question, is our compulsion to have, more the consequence of an inner belief that we are insufficient? At one level this realisation may not be so surprising, since the self to which we revert is in truth partial in nature and unaware of its wholeness, and this may justify the existence of a core belief of feeling less than and never enough.

So how do we resolve this dilemma? Which appears to be core to our existence – driving us ever forward in our life and work? Its sensibility may raise many questions including: do we continually strive for more when the striving for more is never satisfied by what we have found?

Consider for yourself, from your own experience, has your outer search for what you want been satisfied?
And if so, by what?
And if not, then what may satisfy your need to strive and search further?
These are essential questions for us to explore, so take whatever time you need to respond.

In the book ‘The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran the author asks a pertinent question “Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?”.

This is poignant to reflect on in our own lives – if our striving and searching outwardly for what we want cannot be satisfied, then what?
If our outward striving does not reveal the answer to one’s fulfillment, then what does?
If it’s not about directing your attention outward, then where do we go?
Consider this dilemma for yourself and what you may have learned.

Let me plant a further seed, a seed thought – in the form of a question for us to consider:
What if the something more you seek outwardly is no one other than the person that you were born to be and are longing to become inwardly?
If you are willing, sit with this idea for a while and see if it relates to your own experience and learning to date.

Do we in our seeking outwardly, what we blindly overlook within?
Are we looking in the wrong place for what we truly seek?
Can what we seek without, only be found within?
Very important questions for our consideration…

If you turn your attention inward and begin to inwardly reflect and contemplate and consider not what you want but going a little more deeply that for which you most long?
What will truly help fulfill you?
These once again are important questions for our consideration and contemplation. So, take what time you need to fully respond before moving forward…

Notice how striving for and longing for, are quite different energetically.

Striving is what we feel compelled to have and longing is what we feel inwardly drawn towards.

We may for example long for a little more peace, for a slower, healthier pace to our life and work, for a little care or compassion, a little kindness, and more joy in our lives.

Notice how that for which we long, turns our thinking more inside out to discover inner attributes and qualities. None of these can be reached through striving. In fact, the moment we strive for peace is the same moment it is lost to us.

We seem caught in a game – striving outwardly to find what we can never be found.
So, what are we being invited to learn, if we wish to end this often tiring and effortful game?

What we may be invited to discover is what I call practicing the ‘art of not’…
Can we learn how not to strive, not to want, not to have?

Paradoxically when we have learned how to let go of striving, might we then discover that for which we have striven?

If we can stop searching – therein we may discover – that for which we have searched.

Imagine that suddenly your compulsion to have and want and find is suddenly ended. The pressure of wanting more, trying hard to find and get – suddenly ends:
What would this give you?
What would you discover?
And what might you have learned?

When we practice and cultivate the ‘art of not’ – we can let go of striving – and what this creates in its place is a new spaciousness – and in quite a revelatory way, therein we may realise that for which we have strived.

The photograph which marries these words to this section shows a very powerful show and rendition of the Northern Lights. The image leads us downward and directs us toward a point and what may appear to be the source of the Lights. Might we, when we learn how to let go of striving, come closer to our true source of motivation and development and recall that for which we long?

In this sense – less than quite paradoxically appears to offer more– if we can surrender the need to have might we in turn discover that which is vital to our life and motivation? The image is a powerful reminder that often in our effortful striving to get somewhere, we overlook our natural inner source of motivation and guidance.

Might we in letting go of our effortful need to strive and instead come to discover more of an effortless excellence, that will ever guide us forward?

May you seek less and discover more.

May you in surrendering an effortful existence discover a source of effortless excellence.

However, the very thing for which we strive somehow seems to be lost in the striving

 

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