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Step 3: View Your Life as a Process, a Never-ending Journey
I know lots of people who say, “I want to feel young,” but very few who say, “I want to feel timeless.” As long as you live between the end points of birth and death, life is like a conveyor belt heading inexorably for a black tunnel. The only time that never ages is the present moment. “Living in the now” has become a spiritual cliché, but it isn't always a useful one. Helpless infants live in the now, and so do Alzheimer’s patients. The now becomes eternal only when it is full. When your being is enough to sustain you, complete fullness is at hand. When just being here elicits bliss, you are timeless.

Being isn’t a choice. We all possess it. Yet we spend endless hours trying to escape it. As the poet Wordsworth lamented, the world is too much with us late and soon. We run after external rewards; we feel restless and anxious if we look inward. In essence, we are desperately trying to escape ourselves. When we run out of energy, money, playmates and toys, what happens? Utter loneliness. Life is a process of finding yourself and living in contentment with what you find. It’s not an expedition to reach a distant mountain peak. It’s not a trail marked by things you can tick off, like a college diploma, a first house, retirement in Florida. The process is at once intimate and simple. You learn to be. This is the highest meaning of being true to yourself. You can learn to be every day:
  1. Set aside some quiet time.
  2. Meditate.
  3. Be aware of areas of discomfort and address them.
  4. Assess your state of well-being.
  5. Commune with nature.
  6. Become absorbed in a creative pursuit.
People will often call these things “losing yourself,” which is true in a limited way: You are losing the ego self, with its cares and desires, its restlessness and disquiet. But in a larger sense you are finding yourself. The core of yourself is calm, centered, unshakable and fulfilled. The reason we look outward to find fulfillment is that we haven’t yet settled on the place inside where being and fulfillment are the same. Working to find the same contentment after you grow up will get you to “organized innocence,” as it has been called. You have absorbed a wide range of life experiences. You know what you know and can do what you do. At the same time, there is a secure sense of being deep inside. Usually we think of this as spiritual seeking, but words like God, spirit, the soul, salvation, carry too many associations. Perhaps it’s better to call it “the process” and leave it at that.

The process of unfolding requires no work or struggle. You are totally connected to your being right now, as you always have been. The only thing you’ve lost is the awareness of your connection. As you expand and become more aware, what happens? You need less and less from the outer world and other people. You realize that security, love and joy are innate qualities of being. They can’t be lost, only forgotten. So the highest project you can devote yourself to is self-discovery. In the end, loneliness will seem like a phantom, something barely remembered. Yet even today, if you start to discover who you really are, every moment will be the opposite of lonely. You will be absorbed in the essence of life, and nothing is more fascinating.

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