When I was a small child, I moved to a place called Wanting, NV. You know the place, right? It has a population of 7.2 billion and it pretty much covers the earth!
Wanting NV. (pun intended!) is not so much a US town in Nevada, as it is a state in which most of us live from early childhood. Wanting is a kind of closed and circuitious, peculiarly human territory and condition in which we view the world from a place of lacking, of needing, of griping and always hopeing we won’t lose our grip! We constantly want our desired fortune to continue or for our feared misfortune to end. Indeed, the billions who live in Wanting all live on “Hope Street”.
LIVING ON HOPE
Now Hope Street is a kind of circuitious ring road that goes around and encircles Wanting. In fact, all roads to hope always lead us, one way or another, back to Wanting. In truth, hope always lives in wanting. It’s a closed loop-of-wanting that leaves nothing but a trail of regret and dissatisfaction; a life-cycle strewn with painfully sharp disappointments and numbing relationships that are often attended by disease in our bodies and our minds. A dis-ease in living.
“It is difficult to get the news from poems; yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is to be found.” William Carlos Williams
Look around right now at your fellow denizens. We’re a strange, assorted lot, aren’t we? It seems like we’re the embodiment of a wild and crazy god whirling away at the organ of life, simultaneously creating and destroying, creating and destroying. The powerful hands of fortune dance across the keys, now in a slow adagio, now in a tense tremolo, now in a running trope velloce, now in pastoral andante. And ultimately in a sighing last note. It’s a seemingly endless loop, this “looney tunes” circling in our constant craving! But is what’s going on in our head what life is all about? Or is there something more? Let’s pop the hood and have a look.
THE ENGINE OF OUR SUFFERING IS DESIRE AND FEAR
The brain is simply an organ designed for a function – to protect and preserve the body and generally enhance our over-all sensual experience. Of course, these days it also functions as an entertainment center, alternately griping us with delights and disasters! The multiple causes of our malcontent can be neatly sorted and stacked into two huge piles: Desires and Fears.
The brain is indeed a massive duplicating machine that replicates our experience of life. In other words, our desires and fears instilled in early childhood shape and determine our experience of the way we live. Of course, that’s not a problem unless and until we really believe that the conditioned thoughts in our mind are accurately portraying reality…which is exactly what we do!
MOVING OUT OF WANTING
To get out of Wanting, NV. it’s critical to see first how we got in. According to J.Krishnamurti, who talks extensively about the flip side of wanting which he called “pleasure”, we’re innocently tricked into wanting in four stages: perception, sensation, contact and desire. Briefy, perception is the “Now” point when we see something beautiful and attractive. But we don’t leave it there! Instead, we linger there long enough to make a connection, to register a desire to repeat that nice feeling which is in fact actually over, but which we continue to ‘hold’ in memory. So the original perception say, of a beautiful woman or a car, brings an instant delight or joy which we try to hold on to and repeat. And repetition is the nature of all desire. Indeed, the desire to repeat what gives us pleasure is the driver of our deep and continual discontent.
Whether this desire/fear is running in our storied Past or in a conceived Present or in an imagined Future, it’s all happening right now only in one place: in our head. Whether we label it music or noise, nice or not so nice, we’re convinced that our experience of what we individually see, hear, touch, taste, smell and above all – think, is reality. For better or worse, it is our reality. And from our sense of this self, we live and breath. Indeed, our whole world is resting on our shoulders! As the Indian sage Nisargadatta says, “Both the world and the pain are within you.”
LIVING OUTSIDE NV.
The next step in human evolution is to transcend thought. This is now our urgent task. It doesn’t mean not to think anymore, but simply not to be completely identified with thought, possessed by thought. (Eckhart Tolle)
Sometimes, it happens that we see clearly that what we think is going on and what actually is going on, are different. When we do, we get a graceful glimpse into the truth of our Self. Of course, most of us pass over that still spot quickly, propelled by the sheer mass of our minds’ momentum. But while we may or may not even record the insight, a haunting residue remains. Drip by drip, it accumulates someplace other than in our head. And perhaps one day, sitting reading or on the computer over by a window, we find our self in the interstices between thought. We cease our continuous linear scanning of miles of lines of print going nowhere but in our head, and we know what we always have known. We know what the poet Keats was on about when he wrote:
Beauty is truth, and truth, beauty.
That is all you know on earth
and all you need to know.
So what exactly is it we need to know? Why is truth the be-all and end-all of our passage here?
No one can answer that for you, except you. If you want to know the beauty of it all, if you truly want to see into your self clear through to your toes, stop looking in your head. Stop looking. Stop. Let the repetition of your mind/memory Whirlitzer wind down, let the noise settle out. Let the body noise fade. Then, in the stillness, allow.
ALLOW BEAUTY AND JOY TO EMERGE
“A mind not crippled by memory has real freedom…Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty and the great delight in it without seeking pleasure from it.” (J. Krishnamurti)
Indeed, if we can look at beauty as it passes, without wanting to repeat it, we will no longer be in the grip of pain.
In aware living, we live in paradox of course – that joy which is always passing is…always here. Ah peace! That’s what happens when we move away from wanting and envy!
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