Discovery 2:1 – The Second Step: Seeing Clearly & Letting Go
In a flash, in a blink of an eye, in one moment the dissatisfaction we experience in our work life can be transformed into deep satisfaction. All the components necessary for a fulfilling life are present right now. We are already there, fully actualized. But most of us cannot see it, let alone experience it. So we must look at what’s blocking us, why it is that we cannot step off the treadmill we’re on and learn to see our lives from a different perspective—say, standing still.
It is not easy, and few people would call this step a fun one. Many people give up when they begin to encounter what this step brings up. It may seem that we’re only going deeper into our dissatisfaction and exacerbating our pain. If this begins to happen to you, skip this section and move on rather than give up. You will have to come back to it, however, and when you finally complete it you will have a deeper understanding of the causes of your dissatisfaction and the means to eliminate it. But if it’s too much for you right now, move on and return when you’re ready.
We can sum up in one word the ultimate cause of all our unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and disappointment: desire.
Once we begin to crave something, we set in motion a destructive cycle of desire, attachment and ultimately hatred. In this section we will explore our desires in detail and learn how they contribute to our unhappiness.
At this point some people experience a lot of fear and want to turn away. This reaction is normal. Determination is all you need here to learn the truth that will liberate you. And you don’t have to stop wanting things. You simply have to learn how to detach from the wanting and the getting so that you can enjoy what you have with a pure heart.
As you proceed keep in mind that all you need to do once you identify the cause or source of your dissatisfaction is to discard it. Destroy it. Stop it. This will become clearer as you go along. It is a simple principle, which will become clear if you complete the following exercises.
- Write about a recent experience of wanting something and then getting it. First, write about how the thirst, the desire for this thing made you feel, about how not having it kept you in a dissatisfied state and about how the thought of having it made you feel.
- Then write about how satisfying it was to get that thing and how long that satisfaction lasted. Did the acquisition of this thing live up to your expectations? How long did it satisfy you? Did getting it quench your thirst or did your desire then move on to some other thing?
- Now write about a recent experience of sorely wanting something and then not getting it.
- Then separate in your mind the desire for this thing and the thing itself, and write about your feelings toward both.
Can you see how in both cases it was the desire for something that caused the pain? Getting the desired thing might temporarily assuage our dissatisfaction, but it never completely eliminates it. There is always something else to want. So the only answer is to eliminate the craving itself.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “But isn’t the whole premise of this book about wanting and then getting something? Wanting and then learning how to gain satisfaction in our work?” Good point. And yes, it is. But the process here is different from the usual approach.
Rather than making our way toward a pre-determined goal (such as a better job or more money), we are instead uncovering or rediscovering our true and natural selves, determining what it is that truly makes us happy and then learning how to authentically express ourselves through our work.
This second step simply helps us to discover what has prevented us from this all along. It may not be pretty to look at, but it is imperative that we take a look if we truly want a happy work life.
So know that you can do this and that you are worth the effort. Take the challenge of this step and your work life will no longer be dull, boring or hateful. And you will be a fully actualized, happy-with-your-work sentient being.
He who boasts of his own ability
will not endure.
He who must always be right
has no distinction.
He who brings attention to himself
does not shine.
He who brags about himself
has no merit.
He who praises himself
cannot know who he really is.
If you want to know your truth,
just do your job, then let go.
Tao te Ching (#24)
To be continued…