…continued from Money & Spiritual Practice – Part 2
Okay, so you want things. There’s no getting around it and no easy way to discard these desires. It’s time to really look at what you want and why. Often our desire is stimulated when we see what others have. Our envy button gets pushed as advertisers and entertainment companies spend lots of money to stir up our insatiable greed. This all relates to work because work is usually our source of income and if it isn’t able to satisfy all our desires then we become angry and disillusioned with our jobs and then unhappy both at work and at home.
So let’s indulge ourselves here and spend some time enumerating our petty desires along with our deepest ones.
- Write a random and comprehensive list of all the tangible things you would like to have that you don’t now have (in no particular order).
- Now prioritize the list by placing numbers before each item with number one being the most desired thing.
- Then for the top ten items on the list assign a number from 1 to 5 that indicates the intensity of your desire, with 1 being low and 5 being high.
- For each of these ten items write a paragraph or two about how having them would change or not change your life and how not having them now affects your life.
- Repeat exercises 1 to 4 with a list of intangible things you would like to have in your life. (This could include relationships, feelings, states of mind.)
- Repeat exercises 1 to 4 with work-related desires (perhaps your ideal job, a new boss, a different schedule).
- On a separate piece of paper write down the most-desired thing from each list and put it aside for the moment. Then collect all the pages you’ve written on to complete the exercises in this section and make a ritual of burning or otherwise destroying them. Choose a time when you can be alone. Read over (preferably out loud) what you’ve written and sit quietly alone absorbing the extent of your own desires and the dissatisfaction they’ve created. Then shred into tiny pieces and/or safely burn them. As you watch them disappear, imagine your desire for them also going up in smoke. Be willing—even just for the time it takes to do this exercise—to let them go.
- Afterward sit quietly alone again and absorb the impact of this ritual. Write about the feelings it evoked and what effect, if any, it had on your wish list.
- Now look at the three desires you wrote down and set aside. Is your level of desire for these things the same as it was when you first wrote about them? Concentrate on the work-related desire and write about what you could do to attain it. And if it still feels that your life would be more complete with it than without it, then make a plan that will move you toward getting it. And decide, since it is so important to have this thing, that everything along the way you must do to get it will be as important, as valued and as pleasing as the thing itself. Each act, each chore is a part of the thing itself because without them you cannot have it. If you see each of these things in this way, then you will see that in the doing of these things you already have them. Absorb yourself in these details, enjoy the process of getting to it, and maybe when you get there it will feel like you’ve had it all along.
To be continued…