Do a little exercise tomorrow, if you are feeling reflective:
How many things do you think or do that involve obtaining something that will give you more pleasure or avoiding something that will cause pain? I have and it is fascinating to see how motivated I am by wanting more stuff or avoiding discomfort. I hate it when the real world intrudes on my carefully constructed illusion. By always wanting something different, I can pretty much avoid examining where I am.
I’m in my third week of studying “mindfulness,” the psychology and philosophy that go behind practices like meditation. Sure, I’ve meditated for several years now, but, like everything else I do, I became curious to learn more, to “acquire” more knowledge. Why? Like everything else that we do in acquisition/avoidance mode I am afraid I don’t know enough, I might be lacking something (like some crucial bit of knowledge.) And… I have.
While meditation has been a relaxing little daily vacation for me, I haven’t known enough about the principals behind it to figure out why meditation works. Why does releasing your thoughts work? I’m learning some good reasons and one of them is the concept of coming from “lack”. When you feel you need more: more stuff, more knowledge, more whatever… you are ignoring what you already have and setting yourself up for more disappointment and pain (which you will seek to avoid).
Part of being mindful is to know you are (and have) enough. Being in meditation helps you to recognize your thoughts and where they come from. It helps you to prioritize, to be calmer, to actually use wisdom.
“I need a new pen, I want to lose weight, I need to pay my cable bill so they don’t turn it off, I’d like to go to Hawaii, I need a new pair of pants…”
Acquisition and aversion are both manifestations of desire. Avoiding reality will only lead to disappointment when reality finally intrudes. The Zen masters say the two biggest tragedies of life are when you don’t get what you desire and when you do get what you desire. The cycle of acquisition, disappointment and aversion can take possession of us, leading to a life full of possessions and short of true happiness. (I’m sure you know someone with “everything” who never seems to be satisfied).
By having the courage to bravely face reality, you understand that there is nothing to be avoided, you can handle anything. There is nothing more to be had, you are already perfect.
Just as you are.