In Eastern philosophy, it is desire that is behind all the suffering, stress and strain in life.
It is said that spiritual enlightenment will only be reached when we extinguish our desires and although I am sure that is not the goal of most of you reading this article, understanding the destructive nature of your desires will help you to keep your mind calm and your unnecessary ‘wants’ in check.
Most of the time, our minds are seeking out pleasure in one form or another. It could be that drink after work, a chocolate cake, a perfect body, a better looking partner, the weekend, the next holiday, a job promotion, recognition, fame or materialistic gains such as a bigger house, a new car or a bigger bank balance.
Now, although there is nothing wrong with wanting a better life, it is important to recognize that the more desires we have, the unhappier our lives become.
Because when we allow our minds to constantly be in a state of desire, it makes us feel as though we are lacking in the present moment. We don’t have the things we want now and therefore we feel we are missing out. We are not full, we are not perfect and we won’t be fulfilled or perfect until we have this, that or the other.
So often, people spend their entire lives stressed out, desperately trying to attain whatever it is they desire until one day, they notice that their lives have passed by and they still haven’t found the happiness and peace of mind they were looking for. They have not been able to accept that all of the time they were chasing happiness, it was already there. They were already complete. They were already fine. Yes, you can have more or get more in the future, but as you gain, so you lose. It is the law of nature. You main gain wealth, a larger house, better holidays, but you will also lose things in life that you have loved; friends, family members, loved ones, your youth, your looks and your health.
Once you reach the top of the mountain, the only way is down!
Enjoy the journey of life, don’t expect to reach happiness at the destination.
Having goals and a destination in life is important for the sole purpose of giving the mind something to focus on. But once you have decided on the goal, do not continue to dwell on it. Focus on perfecting what you are doing now instead.
Because you will never find happiness in the future. The future will always elude you. You can only live in the present and the future is made up of all the little “presents” that you are experiencing now.
Also, do not be fooled into thinking that happiness can be found in “things” that you desire and then ruining your life stressing and straining trying to attain them.
Happiness can only come from “doing”, not from “having”.
Nothing in the material world will ever bring you long term happiness and yet so many people chase after these things convinced that they do.
Because the pleasure we experience from “things” are only ever temporary. In fact, the pleasure we experience is not from obtaining the object of our desire, but extinguishing that feeling of lack that was experienced when you didn’t have the object.
Just like a smoker who believes he enjoys a cigarette. What he really enjoys is stopping the craving that the cigarette caused in the first place. If you don’t smoke, you don’t need to relieve the craving!
And just like a cigarette, as soon as one desire is extinguished, then desire for another one appears. It never ends.
Learn to find enjoyment in everything that you do, by simply giving it all of your attention and focus, whether it is your work, spending time with your loved ones, doing the gardening or even washing the dishes. Perfecting and learning to enjoy the small things in life will allow you to perfect and enjoy the bigger things in life too.
Contemplate what I have said today, give it some serious thought. Is what I am saying really true? If you feel it is, then ask yourself how you can use this knowledge to improve your life and then take action to do so. If not, then fine, simply reject it.
BUT learn to question the status quo and draw your own opinions rather than blindly following the beliefs you have been brought up with and carried around with you all your life.
Only the will you experience true wisdom.