What Lies Ahead

A reflection and exposition to the commentary given below

“Every truth is a way toward a goal which lies at the end of the way but which, on the other hand, manifests itself on and along the way… reaching the goal lies in going the way.”

            I can still remember and is fresh on my mind what the autobiographical novel “Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives” written by Dan Millman and came into the big screen in a part-fictional and part-autobiographical film – Peaceful Warrior (2006), tells about journey and destination. Upon watching the film and reading the book, I can reflect and relate so much to it; that it is not the destination that counts or matters most but your journey along the way. Millman was right to say that, what brings us happiness is our journey not the destination.

            Happiness is a broad term which may take a lifetime to find its meaning just like one trying to find himself and figure out what life means to him. This is not to say that one should go and find what life ‘is’ because I personally believe that life is mysterious and trying to figure out what it ‘is’ is like finding a needle in a haystack. It was clear to me that there’s a big difference between what ‘is’ life and the ‘meaning’ of life. For instance, one could easily define the meaning of love based on and from how they perceive it, but that does not imply the perception being life itself and meanings vary from one person to another. However, these analyses cannot be applied to material things since life is not entirely about material objects alone and no one knows how to categorize it either. It may be a combination of material and metaphysics, sciences, imagination, fiction, etc. Who knows?  Even the greatest Philosophers were not able to give a definite answer to the question “what is life?” – its meaning perhaps. If one will insist that he can give a definition of life which is usually based on the knowledge of the good and evil. Then, what is good and evil in the first place? Plato would immediately raise the questions ‘what is good?’ and “what is a good life?”

It will be more convincing if I say, life is a journey towards a goal or a destination.  Life is a way from which its true meaning lies at the end of the way. The only time where you can be able to know what really life is, is the day when you have to say goodbye to everything in this world; and if the metaphysical state does exist, that is the right time for you to go and chase it.  Therefore, the truth from the above statement corresponds to my definition of life being the way and as I said, our goal that lies at the end of the way is the true meaning of life. Can I now say that life is the truth and the way towards our goal of finding the true meaning of life is the truth itself? The truth along the way is the only way to find the truth which lies at the end of the way. How can you find the truth [true meaning of life] in the end if your life as a way was spent erroneously? But since no one is perfect and everyone makes mistake thus, no one finds it easy to know what the true meaning of life is and therefore we must refrain from trying to figure it out.

Going back to the idea of happiness as Millman was saying, I can also relate it to the truth from the very beginning of my reflection; that the journey itself is the truth and you find happiness to it. Your destination may give you excitement, joy, fear, anxiety perhaps and all of these add color and beauty to your journey. On the other hand, once you’ve achieved or reached your destination, this happiness immediately decreases and you find out that it is better to live the life along your way yet certain feel of rest is present upon reaching your goal.

Last night, when I went to bed I had this idea on my mind that the next day I need to post something on one of my social media accounts because there were people who were expecting me to do so and I knew that I should not fail nor embarrass them since it was also a duty or let us say, an obligation to perform. I did wake up early in the morning to accomplish the task I intended to do.  It was a relief for me after accomplishing the goal which I set out for myself. But I immediately remembered that I have a paper to finish for my Philosophy 27 class, another goal for that day. I do not want to delay my paper requirements so as I hate procrastination. I know that I have to make it to all my requirements in order to get good grades and to be able to graduate three years from now, three goals at a time.  As I write my paper, I then realized that these little achievements even the biggest I have for myself three years after, should never be called goals or even a destination, and I wonder why.

Goal from the above statement and destination according to Millman lie at the end of the way. If I am going to consider that ‘accomplishing social media post and having to graduate three years from now’ are goals indeed, then I must say that to graduate in this University on time is actually the end of my way. Given that, what will I now call to my future struggles upon getting jobs and building up a family of my own if I have reached the end of my way and already achieved my goal? Therefore, those that I have reached and achieved during my life as a college student and as an employee in the future still cannot be considered as a goal.  To receive the title and the diploma of professionalism is neither the end of the way nor one’s own goal in life, because your way is far more than finishing your careers. These are merely achievements that can happen anytime, anywhere, from the simplest things every or every other day to the greatest achievement you could ever treasure. These will only and somehow make up the entirety of your one and only goal in life. That is, to know the true meaning of life which I suppose we should refrain from figuring out as Dan Millman’s one of the three rules of life, “life is a mystery; don’t waste your time trying to figure it out.”

However, although our goal or destination lies at the end of the way we always live in the present; that our journey begins and ends towards a destination and we all have one common destination with respect to the physical world: death. Death where you can now find out what life is, what it is to live and what is the meaning of existence. But by that time, it is all too late for those who have spent their lives erroneously, those who have wasted their entire life trying to figure out what life’s true meaning is but found nothing, instead of living in the moment.  The idea of truth which I related to life and journey from my introduction tells us to live in the present because the goal we have in the end manifests through and along the way. To cut it short, live your life today because it is where you find happiness, your journey gives you so much experience enough to upset you as you reach your destination. As you reach the end of your way, it is by that time you will realize that the truth, the true meaning of life and your one and only goal is to live in the present where life manifests itself.

Questions may be raised by anyone as suppose to this reflection, but as long as I live in the present and enjoy my journey towards my goal or destination, and as I reach achievements gradually and continuously, I have nothing to worry about the destination that lies ahead which can upset me in many ways. As long as I enjoy my journey and the truth manifests itself today, life today is certain and no one can exactly figure out what lies ahead. In any way, we will always come to that point and live the future as your present, so I don’t have to stress myself for now trying to figure it out.

“There are no ordinary moments.” – Dan Millman.

Live in the moment and be present. This is the spirit of a peaceful warrior.

An article submitted to my Philosophy 27 class under Mr. Vlademire Bumatay (Instructor in Philosophy, Dept. of History and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Baguio)


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