Ease Up or Tense Up?
We take it for granted that life is about getting what we want. We spend all our time going after things, trying to shape the world around us so that things happen the way we want them to happen. But what if there's a smarter way to live?
What if instead of living in a constant state of desire, always searching for a better future, life was about easing up around the present moment?
Think about desire. When you desire things - which we all do, almost all the time - we are essentially saying that we're not okay right now, and that we need something from the outside world to make us okay. If you don't agree with me, then ask yourself this - are you able to ditch all of your desires for good? If you don't need them to be okay, why would you need them at all?
You see, we desire things because we don't feel whole inside. As unpopular as this might sound, the only real reason we have desires (and fears, for that matter) is because we haven't learned to be okay on our own.
We need things in the outside world to trigger us to feel good. This is what it means to be conditionally happy, when our inner fulfillment depends on what's happening around us.
The problem is, what's happening around us is entirely out of our control. It has nothing to do with us. The chances of it lining up with what we need at this very moment are slim to none. Hence our never-ending state of desire. Occasionally it lines, up, and we say, hey, maybe it worked. What else can I achieve to get this feeling again?
But we all know this game never ends.
When you desire, think about how your body feels. It tenses up, and in a way, constricts around the present moment. Sometimes it's subtle, and sometime's it's obvious, but either way, desire means you wish the present moment were different than it is, which then creates a sense of constriction in your body, and mind.
Even when your desire is fulfilled, a new one sets in. Think about it. Let's say you've been wanting a new house for years now. The day finally arrives where you get the keys, and you move in. Desire fulfilled, and life complete, right?
Of course not. Now that you've got the house, your desire sets itself on things to fill the house with. Could you do any remodeling? How about that new couch? And that perfect garden you wanted to replicate, when are you going to get that into your backyard?
You see, desire is a game that never ends. And while it keeps us moving, are we really moving anywhere meaningful?
There's nothing wrong with desire. The problem lies in thinking that by fulfilling your desires, you'll be happy.
The true way to happiness is learning how to ease up around whatever is happening now. That's the real game. Because when we can literally find peace in the midst of whatever's happening in this moment, what else is there to do? Where else is there to go?
That's it, that's what we're after. We spend our lives trying to fix the people, places, and things around us, in search of that feeling we think we'll get when we've "arrived," when we have that thing that we always wanted.
Are we delusional? Why do we keep expecting that better days will come in the future when our life circumstances change? What will it take for us to realize that life is only here and now. It's not getting any better unless we learn to shake hands with the eternal present moment, the only dimension we inhabit.
Be careful as you move through life, expecting the future to hold better days. Having faith is great, but when your faith for a better future becomes an excuse not to be okay now, that's when you know you've got some work to do.
Things aren't getting any better in the future because of outside forces. You'll still be the same you, with the same mind, perhaps just with a bit more wisdom.
But until you realize and truly embrace that your very existence is only happening right now, in this moment, you'll never fully come to know that which you're looking for.