If you are brimming with fulfillment in your chosen career, popular wisdom suggests this will spill over into your personal life. You are on a roll, everything is falling into place, the world as far as you are concerned may as well be at the behest of your fingertips. Nothing can stop you, not even the naysayers who call you materialistic. Yet few reach this peak, because the demands seemingly exceed the metaphysical reward. But if you are indeed operating on metaphysical terrain, your instincts should be able to guide you to a place of satisfaction, at the least. All that stands in your way is yourself.
What you do not want to hear is that your freedoms are relative and limited. If you are not ruled by money, your currency is leisure, your unit of comparison is what you do in that time, and your control group consists of your peers who dwell in stasis. Your desire is a non-specific mix of wealth and unquantifiable satisfaction that just kind of feels right. Right? And if you treat them as the control (as in the scientific method), you might assume you are doing better.
Are you? What do you have to show above and beyond the minimum everyone has to contend with? Some hobbies maybe. You play the piano. Classical Piano. You fish for sport. You hunt wild game. Your children are “X” and doing so well at such and such a school, and you just feel like a glowing bundle of — vomit. To top it off you might come out with a moronic instagram or twitter profile because you thought you needed yet another avenue to show yourself as being successful or intelligent, but why does this not satisfy you? Why did you even buy a smartphone (big deal amirite)? Because you were bored, because it was shiny, and because they did. Surely now, no one need convince you either way whether the ones you consider friends are truly so.
Maybe you work 40+ hours a week on a job that pays well but does not challenge you most of the time, otherwise this is your long term goal. Some of those hours you spend on distractions, and much of the rest is wasted on pointless meetings and red tape. If you grow a pair and start working less hours do you think they are more likely to let you go? If they need your skills the answer is a resounding “No,” guffawed with glee from the chorus of grown children fallen from grace into the arms of sloth, all the while knowing efficiency will be maximized, i.e. the same amount of work can be done in much less time.
If the answer is “Yes,” do you think you are more or less likely to beat them to the punch and go in search of something that actually makes you feel alive, or at least something you can call your own? No one but yourself and your envious bystander acquaintances would doubt your courage. But would you even give yourself the chance to see what’s possible? There’s always an excuse: it’s a recession; my spouse won’t allow it; I was molested by a dragon.
If you have no skills you likely work in sales, the service industry, or government. What happened to your dreams? Ignore the superficial view of Far East philosophy for a second, and you will remember what ambition feels like, and gain those skills. We do not judge anyone here for how they earn a living, but we do dissect cause, effect and consequence. A lawyer might start out believing in justice, then end up prosecuting based on which socialite circles will be most delighted. A glorified celebrity whore will earn little or no respect, if not derision, from people who still believe sex can be sacralized.
Our currency is eternity, and our unit of comparison is what we do toward that end, an end that is in our view a necessary ideal. In many ways this necessity is applied to the point of absolutism, and at this level, the “unreality” of eternity may be mistaken for extremism, while others will question the validity of the ideal itself. The problem is over-reliance on intellect, which stimulates, but is only a vehicle to enlightenment. It enriches in proportion to natural ability but is no substitute.
Strength of will speaks greater volume, and through the volition this entails, the greater freedoms can be sought with vigor and purpose. What stands in your way here is not just yourself, because all desire these freedoms, and in truth not all can have them, and not all can articulate them. This is the point where the esoteric is delineated, and, to paraphrase a known scribe, “the evidences are made clear.”