How does one know if their life is moving forward? We continue to go to work and make money and half of us (in the United States) will not have enough to retire. But what proves progression in life when ever day seems the same?

Hi James,

Your question is not easy to answer as I really don't know exactly what you mean.  I can only try my best to answer.

There are many meanings in "life is moving forward". This means that I need to comment on the diferrent meanings.  By "life is moving forward" can mean the following:

1. Physically moving forward.
2. Career-wise moving forward.
3. Family-wise moving forward.
4. Spiritually moving forward.

1. Physically moving forward.
If you understand the nature of this existence and this world, you will realize that you are unceasingly "moving forward" physically.  Nothing in this world ever stay stagnant for even a split second.  Everything is ticking and vibrating.  "Continuous flow of change" is the universal sign of impermanence in this world and this life. I think this is not the meaning you are questioning. Simply compare the photos of yourself taken throughout the years and you will see "moving forward".

2. Career-wise moving forward and
3. Family-wise moving forward.
Are you happy with what you are doing for a living?  If not, then there will be this feeling of not moving forward.  So is family life.  If you are not happy with your family then the whole world seems to be not moving.

4. Spiritually moving forward.
Spirituality does not mean being religious.  It is about being aware that life is more than just living a day-to-day existence.  Animals exist on a day-to-day existence, without a care or worry about anything except the instinct of self-preservation. If we are not awakened by this fact of spirituality, then our lives will be like those of the animal world.  In no time we get old, and suddenly we realize that we are not "moving forward".  

It is up to us to take charge of our lives, to "move forward" so to say. Some may just be contented living a normal successful life with the family. Some may want to do more to serve others less fortunate than them.  So long as you are doing something positive to your life, I would say you are "moving forward".  

Although "ever day seems the same", your life is "moving forward" if you choose to move forward.


Justin Choo


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Justin Choo


All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.


I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ http://www.ksridhammananda.com and my blog posting at http://blackandwhite999.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-revered-teacher.html

I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ http://lifeislikethat999.blogspot.com/ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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