Here's a fun game I occasionally play with myself. Today's your lucky day, because we get to play it together.
Consider this a little challenge where I prove to you that what you think you want is not what you actually want.
Let's pretend I'm able to grant you one of two wishes, and you just have to choose which one you want. You can have either one, but you can't have both.
Are you ready? Okay, let's begin.
The First Wish
For your first wish option, you have the freedom to select any people, and any material possessions, and bring them to the location of your choice, anywhere in the world, for a full year.
Not only that, but it'll be all expenses paid for - first class travel, fine dining; in fact, you get to pick your favorite chef and bring them along with you too. You also get to bring your favorite entertainer - comedian, musician, actor, whomever - as well as your dream cars, boats, and whatever else you're into.
You can take all of this around the world with you, to any location you want, for a full year, and I will pay for every ounce of it. You don't have to worry about any of the cost, or the logistics. You just spend time with all of the people and things you love, in the places you love.
Oh but there's one caveat. Throughout this whole trip, you're going to have the most intense panic attacks you've ever experienced, without any explanation as to why.
Imagine the most scared you've ever been, multiply that by 10, and imagine feeling that nearly every day. It will be so intense that some days you won't even be able to get out of bed. You'll spend so much time vomiting that you won't be able to eat the food from your personal chef. You'll be miserable.
But don't forget, you have everything you asked for. You have all expenses covered, all logistics squared away - everything little thing taken care for you.
So, would you choose this wish?
Of course you wouldn't. It sounds terrible. If you're going to be so miserable, why would you sign up for that?
Well, then why did you tell me you wanted the house, the car, the travel, the chef, the vacation? Were you lying?
The truth is, you weren't lying. You just didn't know any better.
The second wish
Now let's look at the other end of the spectrum. Let's say the second wish, if you so choose to accept, is as follows:
I tell you there's this room that I know about. It's an ordinary room, and I'm going to lock you up inside of it for a year.
In it there's a table, a chair, a notepad, but not much else. And I'll feed you one meal a day, average food, and make sure you have water. Don't worry, you'll have some other basic necessities too - some sunlight, and maybe a few exercise machines to keep your body in shape.
But here's the catch. In this room, you're going to be in the most ecstatic, blissful states that you have ever experienced. You will reach depths of your being that you did not even know existed. You will feel a never-ending, uplifting love that you've never felt before. You won't even be hungry most of the time because you'll be too consumed by how joyful you're feeling.
Take the happiest you've ever been, multiply that by 1000, and then imagine feeling that way unconditionally for a full year while you're in this room. You're in absolute nirvana.
Would you accept this wish?
Now, your mind might not like the idea of being locked up in a room for a year, but you sure as heck would choose this over the first option, isn't that so?
You see, the reason you take the second wish is because you listened to a key part of the lesson.
In the first example, I said that you were going to be miserable. In the second example, I promised you bliss. That's it. That's the end of the story.
The problem is, we're conditioned to think that by having the vacation, the money, the people we love - that we'll be happy. But what we don't realize is that happiness is an internal game. We equate other things to happiness, when in reality, they are only temporary triggers to happiness.
We don't realize that it doesn't matter what we have. It matters what our experience of life is.
That's why I enjoy playing this game.
It makes it very clear that you don't actually want the things you say you want. You just want complete and utter joy, love, and peace all the time. That's what you really want. So stop fooling yourself.
Why fight the forces of the universe trying to get what you think you want, when you could stop struggling and realize you already have it today? You just have to learn to uncover it within.
Live with substance!