“In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is ‘What do I want to come of this? What is it for?’ The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome.” (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-17.VI.2)
I have long puzzled over this quotation. It is hard to know how to answer the goal when we are faced with a myriad of possible activities. But answer the goal, we must, if we are to make progress on the spiritual journey.
We want to make spiritual progress. Our daily quiet time is designed for that purpose. But we shouldn’t just think of goals when we are seeking God. Our goal-driven society will ensure that there are many other times and means to reach an end. Finding the right goals to pursue is crucial.
We often get side-tracked, especially when the ego is still strong in us. We pursue goals that don’t satisfy, or they satisfy for only a short while, and then turn to dust. This is always the way with egocentric goals. We will feel an unreasoning elation when we reach one of these egotistical giants, but soon we will wonder why the gold has tarnished for us. Why does this one thing—this goal—that we thought would satisfy all needs suddenly seem not to be enough?
So, we ask, what more can we pursue? And we look around and identify a new pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And we go after that. Only to be doused in the dust again, when the goal is reached, and we find ourselves, once again, unsatisfied.
The ego always leads thus. So at some point we realize that it is time to get off the treadmill of egoic longing. There is no satisfying the ego; anything that we do will ultimately prove to be “not enough.”
Only the intangibles are lasting in satisfaction. And any religious orientation will tell us what this are: peace, harmony, kindness, forbearance, love, forgiveness.
We don’t have to be following A Course in Miracles to know that these are the values that our spiritual leaders have preached for eons. We just need to take those values unto ourselves. And once we do, the peace that we find will convince us that those spiritual leaders have been right all along.