What Is Your Goal?
On Sunday, I stumbled across a new Meetup group here in Seoul named “Literature and Life.” Helping my students draw connections between the two is both what inspired me to become a high school English teacher and what drives my daily professional practice. I had to answer a number of questions to join the group, including “What is your goal?” My somewhat bland (although entirely honest) answer was “Drawing the connection between literature and life.”
That is not, however, my general answer to this question. In fact, I do not have one. I have certain aspirations with respect to both travel and meditation. I think that I’d enjoy becoming a digital nomad (or at least taking a trip longer than any I’ve taken before). Likewise, I hope to develop my meditation practice sufficiently to be able to sit a three-month retreat. I wouldn’t characterize either as a goal, however, since they aren’t the reasons I travel and meditate. I engage in both activities for the simple reason that I enjoy them, with the added benefit that I find they’ve improved my life and the lives of those around me.
It wasn’t always this way. My initial interest in travel (as opposed to just vacationing) developed from a specific goal: inspired by my college courses in medieval history, I wanted to visit all the countries in Latin Christendom (essentially Western and Central Europe). My subsequent travel has taken me in different directions in every sense. I first came to meditation not as a pursuit for its own sake, but rather as a way of dealing with the stress from my job as a lawyer at a large international firm. My interest has developed and deepened through a number of chance events that I expect I’ll end up discussing in future posts.
I can’t say whether I achieved either goal. I’ve visited every Western European country… except for Iceland and four microstates. Likewise, although meditation has lowered my level of stress, my change in career has also played a role. At this point, however, I doubt I’ll ever run out of places I’d like to travel to or cease to find meditation calming. I suppose remaining able to appreciate such a lack of a goal is my goal itself.