There is this guy I know. Well, "know" is a strong word so much as "am acquainted with, peripherally"...but for our purposes here we'll use "know" ...not in the carnal sense, but rather in the "have been subjected to one too many of his rantings" notion.
One of his favorite rants is has to do with this universal flow that can only be described as a perversion of instant karma. Which is to say, he believes if you give love to the universe and go with the flow you will be looked after and be fortunate.
While I am all for positive thinking, I do not like this theory, in the crude form he expresses it. What I hate most about this theory is that ignores the other side of the equation, in a broader, more worldly sense, by implying that those who are living unfortunate lives somehow brought it upon themselves by not getting in on this cosmic love flow he believes is the feed to happiness. Also, I think it's a selfish way of taking credit for what is simply good luck. IE you were not born into a rich happy family because you know how to love the universe more. You were born into that family, vs. the abusive or poor or sick family because of luck. And if the universe, or any deity, has anything do with it I think the cosmic design is alot more complicated than we can easily understand, or, atleast, take much credit for.
Which is to say, why would an omnipotent force anticipate your love and why would they, really, care? One would think he/she/its design would be much more complex and nuanced than that. One would hope that such a plan would more focused towards universal progress than your own personal ability to afford new machinery.
That being said, perhaps there is something to all this positive thinking and the notion of work it might produce.
I heard a biological anthropologist once say "humans weren't designed to be happy, we were designed to reproduce". She meant this in the most literal sense. The way we bond, love, and fall in love, what we work for is babies. Just...babies. And their well being.
But, I would extrapolate on this. Suggest our very biological nature dictates a more progress oriented path: the goal of living is to grow. Or, to put an even finer point on it, the nature of living is to grow. To grow down, to grow up, to grow old, to grow anew. Natures goal is to grow, and that will happen whether you make it your own or not.
Change. It's the only thing to depend on.
And so maybe my friend, though privileged and just a bit off, in many ways, might be right on, in increments. Because if change is the only thing you can depend on then it's best to work with that change, it's best to work on loving change. And it's best to work on loving yourself enough to embrace that change and harness it.
Because here is what I think: Some of the greatest universal reward you will find will come on working to be the person you want to be. Not the person you think you SHOULD be, not the person you always wanted to be, but the person you most want to be, in your heart of hearts. The person you are in your comic book fantasies. The person you exaggerate yourself into when boasting drunkenly, the person who glows below your skin, aching to get out. It is only in this action that you begin to exist in your most natural state.
And part of this is understanding that this person you envision, this goals you strive for, will change. This is a moving target you will need to learn to love. And that is the secret that in implicit in this notion: you will never be the person you want to be. I REPEAT: YOU WILL NEVER BE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE. And you can not hope to be or you will be embracing a static stance that simply is at odds with nature and yourself. You will not rewarded for chasing a static notion. You will only be tired. Tired, frustrated, and ultimately unable to love this person you already are lucky enough to be.
But I think another big part of this idea is embracing and understanding that the rewards for such an effort may not be what you expect. I don't think the universe will make you richer for being a better you. Not even, necessarily, prettier or more likeable. Sometimes being true to yourself only results in spending more time by yourself. The reward, I suspect, is in the inner peace that comes with going with a flow, instead of fighting with. In creating a proactive relationship with the inevitable change that will happen and harnessing that motion to get closer to the things that will make you more comfortable being you. Or maybe the only reward is in learning to really respect those that love you, because you are awesome. Not because you were born that way, not because you are a unique and beautiful snowflake intrinsically worthy of love, but because you have worked to be that way. Even when it was hard, even when it made less sense than it seemed it should, even when you wished you could just stop, for a moment, and go back for a moment to that familiar and comfortable place you just were, that was almost good enough. Because you have embraced the joy of growing and not just fought the prospect of withering.
Which is to say, the goal of living is to grow.
Forgetting why, remember how.