Modern Example

Billy wants to be a well-known successful performer. When Billy was growing up, the only performers he saw were on TV or in the movies, so he assumed he’d be a TV personality one day. When Billy was a teenager, the Internet was invented, but he thought nothing of it, “who cares about web pages”, he’d say. Eventually a video sharing site called YouTube was invented. Some time passed and Billy started to see how popular YouTube was and became intrigued by the possibilities. He started recording himself and uploaded those videos to his channel.

Billy saw other YouTube channels with hundreds of thousands of followers and wanted that kind of following, perhaps even in the millions. But Billy started feeling upset when he saw his tiny subscriber-count of less than a hundred. He’d never fulfill his dream of becoming a well-known successful performer. Instead of making videos, Billy just thought about how sad and unsuccessful he was. He thought about all the things he’d never have.

One day while browsing YouTube, Billy came across a guy talking about spirituality and stuff. Billy thought to himself, “Huh? What’s this spiritual crap! Hmm, but I am feeling pretty bad. You know what, let me look into this a bit more, it seems to be helping some people deal with life.” And so he watched more videos and read some books, and what he found was a revelation. What he took from his exploration into spirituality, was the sense that life was a story and he was on a Hero’s Journey.

“Of course I have to struggle to the top! That’s just part of my narrative! Ha!”, thought Billy. “I guess I’ve been a bit impatient, wanting everything right-now and not politely following along as my story unfolds. You know what, I’ll go back to making videos, and this time I’ll make it fun, I was too obsessed with subscriber counts and view numbers.” And so Billy made more videos, taking things easier and enjoying the process.

Billy’s following began to grow. He loved it and was inspired to make even more videos. But what Billy didn’t love was the hateful and hurtful comments he received. He spent a lot of his time focused on the haters and what they said. He tried to adapt his content according to the criticism but nothing seemed to work. Eventually he slowed his posting, letting long gaps develop between videos. He just couldn’t bear the constant negativity.

Billy went back to browsing YouTube and remembered those spirituality videos he used to watch. “Hm, well they worked the first time,” he thought, and went back to watching and reading about spiritual perspectives. Billy remembered that he was on a Hero’s Journey and that he’d be tested along the way. “Those haters don’t really hate me, they’re just acting as gatekeepers to my goal. If anything, I should appreciate the work they do, how else will I feel triumph if there’s nothing to overcome on my way to victory?”, thought Billy.

Billy went back to posting videos, determined to appreciate the entirety of the process, from idea generation, production, even uploading, and of course engagement with viewers. This time he’d take the comments lightheartedly, he’d have fun with them, knowing it was all just part of the journey. Billy’s subscriber count grew higher, higher still, eventually earning him a Silver Play Button. He was as proud as could be.

Billy started thinking about his childhood and how he dreamt about being a TV personality one day. YouTube success was cool and all, but what he really wanted was to see himself on TV. He thought, “Perhaps YouTube is simply the vehicle that’ll get me there.” Billy started to become dissatisfied with his videos, “they’re rinky-dink garbage! amateur stuff! I want a full production studio, famous actors, award shows and red carpets!”

The End…?

And round and round we go, never quite satisfied with what we obtain. I’d assume Billy is going to ride this roller-coaster-of-satisfaction until the very end. But that’s the good news you see. Billy is fully engaged with existence, perhaps a little too much, to the point that he’s impatient and gets readily frustrated. But what helps Billy, is the broader perspective that spirituality provides. Whenever he’s overwhelmed, he’s likely to explore spiritual matters until he gets back on track.

Essentially, Billy tends to take life too seriously and spirituality provides the mental framework that allows him to relax. Billy uses a spiritual perspective to develop an appreciation of what he already has. Heck, YouTube seems like it was invented at just the right time, providing just what he needed: a means to perform and get paid for it. He willingly accepts explanations that paint his circumstances in a positive light. And although he falters and forgets, he eventually turns back to spirituality when things get rough.