…continued from There Are No Coincidences
In this section we have seen how desire can cause so much pain. One of the reasons for this is because when we crave something that we do not yet have, we project ourselves into a future state, imagining what it would be like to have this object of our desire. And with this comes the desire to have it right now, to satisfy our longing now, not later. We take ourselves out of the present—the only reality there is—and spend time in our minds in the fantastical, not-yet-realized future. And when it hits us that our desires are simply unrealized, ephemeral dreams, we ache with pain. The only way out of this morass is to let go of these desires and live fully in the present.
If you’ve done the exercises is this section and taken this second step, you have uncovered and learned a great deal about yourself that will move you into freedom from desire and toward the ultimate freedom of loving what you do.
- You looked at your behavior at work and how much of your mood is determined by what has not yet happened, by your need to know, and by your desire to be somewhere other than exactly where you are.
- You became aware of how pride, jealousy and anger can undermine not only your performance at work but your daily enjoyment of the work itself.
- You learned how your dualistic thinking can keep you away from the truth of yourself and your situation and can cause deep dissatisfaction in everything that you do.
- You looked at how attached you are to your work—how it defines you, how you use it and it uses you—and how balanced your life is or isn’t.
- You came to an understanding of how money figures into the whole scheme of things and how driven you are by it.
- You closely analyzed your deepest desires and took some concrete steps toward casting away envy and realizing your most important work desire.
- You saw how the natural law of cause and effect operates and you began to take some responsibility for the conditions of your life. Here you had a taste of just taking action and letting go of results.
In this second step you have seen how your troubles, large and small, arise out of your desire for and attachment to so many things, including money, power, ambition, control, ideas, opinions and beliefs. And you have been introduced to the notion that the only way you can transcend your craving and suffering is first to gain some understanding of it and then to just let it go.
It is a process, and each day, if you are open to the challenge and willing to take risks, you get a little closer to who you are meant to be and what you are supposed to be doing.
And with each day also comes a deeper and fuller appreciation of the work that you are doing right now.
Fill your cup to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your blade
and its edge will dull.
Chase after money and security
and you’ll never be at peace.
Let success breed arrogance
and all manner of grief will assail you.
Once your work is done, step back from it.
This is the way to serenity.
Tao te Ching (#9)
To be continued…