Seeking, craving, grasping onto whatever it is we think will make us happy — that is the oldest of delusions. It seems justified because the only alternative seems to be being the victim, grinning and bearing it. If we ever question it at all. We tend to get caught up in the seeking so much that we have no time to question what might be driving it.
But it is, in truth, a sort of madness, a falling out of real sanity, which is true contentment with What IS. If you are lost in the trance of seeking, craving, grasping, it is not likely that you would be reading this anyway, unless there is some restlessness, some deep dissatisfaction with your game and whole approach to life, where some suffering is showing through the cracks.
But that is what is driving the show. We focus on the-thing-sought — money, power, pleasure, love, fame, whatever it might be — and it keeps us going, so that we don’t have to look within at the restlessness, emptiness, dissatisfaction, dis-ease, even self-hatred that is driving it all. We fear looking within, fearing that we might find that we are deeply misguided, and then we’ll really be lost, in chaos, in meaninglessness. That is the fear that holds it all together. Something seems missing, an inner deficiency that we must try to fill. But what is really missing is our sanity, the recognition that all is truly well.
The trance of desire is that happiness, peace, true satisfaction and fulfillment will be found in satisfying the desire. When we feel we lack something, getting it can become an obsession, for then we have something to focus on as a symbol of what will complete us. It can be as simple as wanting food if you are hungry, or as complicated as wanting a relationship if you are lonely. We get content for a time, until the next desire arises. And so it goes.
I invite you to try on two simple practices and see how they land in you.
First, step back from the merry-go-round and reflect that, aside from all the comings and goings, the fundamental Reality, Truth, Being, by whatever name, is Always Here Now, is not coming or going. And that applies to your own Truth or True Nature. It is What IS, and you are not separate from That. This is not simply an idea for you to think about. It is a Reality that opens you in unconditional surrender to That. Close your eyes, be still, be now, and just BE. Getting off the merry-go-round is not the feared disorientation, but is in fact the peace of Coming Home. There is no problem.
Second, and complementary to the first: simply open to your present moment experience and let it be as it is, just as it is. Accept it, allow it. Recognize that it is as it is already, and what is really happening is that you are allowing yourself to experience it. Even if you have doubts, fears, resistance, let that be too. Nothing has to be changed, as it is all simply part of what is now.
When you stop fighting what is, arguing with it, denying it, trying to change it, figure it out, or control it, you simply let be what is. There is peace, and that peace goes beyond just the moment or whatever happens to be in this moment. The contents or circumstances of the moment are going to change, as they always have. But you open to something deeper, and you are free, free from the nightmare struggle, free from running from yourself, free from arguing with reality.
These two exercises are always available, because Being is always available, and what is in any moment is also always available. Whenever you are ready.
It’s not that you then give up on life and have no more desires. Rather, life then begins, and desire is simply natural, as natural as eating when you are hungry. Desire can even become inspiration. The difference is that it is not obsessive, addictive, driven. You are free, free to be, free to live.
Have a great summer!
Ed Hirsch is an Ashlander with a background in philosophy, spirituality, and psychology. He has taught OLLI courses in Presence, facilitates two weekly Presence groups at private homes, and offers spiritual counseling. If interested, contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your Inner Peace
The Ashland Daily Tidings invites residents of the Rogue Valley to submit articles on all aspects of inner peace, including intuition, inner guidance, mind training, courage, fearlessness, forgiveness of self or others, honesty, gentleness, humor, open mindedness, friendship, tolerance, trust, faith, kindness, gratitude, overcoming and/or accepting life’s challenges of addictions, loss, grief, pain, awareness of presence and more. Send 600- to 700-word articles to Sally McKirgan, email@example.com.