This morning I had a conversation with a person who is very dear to me, and he asked whether I was excited about the upcoming trip I’ve been planning. “Not so much,” I told him, “I’m happy to be going but not excited.” He expressed concern that I was missing out on excitement, which, he said, is one of the best things in life.
This is a conversation I often have. More often than I can count, people ask me whether I’m excited about this or that circumstance. They seem disappointed when I tell them I’m not.
You see, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less enamored with excitement.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, no matter what experience is going to come, I know it will pass quickly and soon be in the past. Over the years, I noticed that I’d get all wound up anticipating a journey or some other event, obsess on it, look forward to it, and then the event would come and go and I’d be left with a subtle feeling of let-down. I’ve witnessed this happen over and over.
That subtle let-down is not fun.
So, understanding the ephemeral nature of experiences, I no longer see the value in anticipating them and getting excited about them. If there is some feeling of excitement, fine. But I don’t crave the excitement. Instead, I endeavor to be fully present, moment to moment, rather than anticipating future experiences.
So this is part of the reason for my response to my loved one this morning.
But there is more to the story.
Besides not wanting to be caught in the anticipation – let-down cycle, I also have come to know there is something better than excitement.
When, by some unknown Grace, my mind calms and my meditation is deeper, I’ve experienced a subtle joy and peace and a feeling of connection — actually there are no words for it — that is not dependent on any particular experience. Excitement does not create this. In fact, it blocks access to it. The more excited my mind is, the less I’m able to enter the inner realm where this fulfillment exists.
So, more and more, rather than anticipating fulfillment from outer experience, I seek inside.