Experiment: Act As If You Have Already Arrived

One extremely interesting life experiment to try is, at least for a little while, to act as if you have already arrived at your destination, not as if you have somewhere else to get to or to be. To act as if there is nothing to do or accomplish at all, if only for a few moments.

Underlying most of our motives in daily living, is the unease and anxiety that there is somewhere else we need to be that isn’t here. Even when you’ve completed your work for the day or have a particularly quiet day with no urgent tasks, you might be familiar with the “something doesn’t seem right” sensation or the “there’s something I should probably be doing” feeling, even if you don’t actually have anything to do.

Through conditioning and repetition, we can become dulled to this sense of unease, acting immediately to quash it anytime it arises. We don’t even realise we are compulsively trying to move forward to avoid the unease and unfamiliarity of just being still.

A good experiment to reveal this unease and anxiety that follows us like a shadow, and to taste its possible alternative, is to simply take a walk around the block.

For the first portion of the walk, consciously think about getting to the next corner, and the next corner after that. Try to up your pace a little to get to the next one quicker. Always having your destination at the back of your mind: got to get home. All the while, take note of your mind and body. Do they feel tense or relaxed? A constant, low-level of stress or complete peace and ease?

For the next portion of the walk, take each step as the destination. There’s no next corner to think about or get to. Your legs will naturally take you where they need to take you, your body knows how to find its way home, but in terms of where you need to be or where you need to get to, you are already there with each step. There’s no future place to conceive or to anxiously arrive at, you are just walking and observing where you happen to walk next.

Compare how the first part of the walk feels against the second part of the walk. Did you still manage to find your way home even when you weren’t pushing to get to the next stage of the walk? How did each step feel on the second half of the walk versus the first?

The walking obviously serves as a great metaphor for living. We live under the assumption that in order to do anything worthwhile in life, we have to be chronically stressed and always pushing, planning, moving and doing to make it happen.

We forget that the same force that moves glaciers, turns a seed into an oak and creates supernovas is the same universal functioning that gave birth to our bodies and maintains them.

We think it is us that needs to do the moving always on volition, rather than getting out of the way and allowing the natural force, power and creativity of our essence to move through us to create and do. Careful, selective short-term planning has its practical place, but it should never become how you live your life.

The simple walking experiment is a good way to demonstrate that. Suffering, chronic stress and agitation are great signs that we are way out of alignment with just being where we are.

Even if just for a short while, act as if you have already arrived where you need to be. That you are precisely where you should be and could only be, in each moment.