What is it that makes one thing stand out as special or unique or desirable from the myriad of other things that surround us? Why is it we can want one thing above all other things? Even if that want is noble, like wanting peace, it is still a want, and since wanting is the antithesis of having, by wanting peace we are not only confirming that peace does not exist, we are adding to that apparent disharmony and therefore participating in the creation of that perception of reality.
It is the act of wanting, which is hardwired into our human mind for a specific purpose, that creates disharmony within ourselves. And if we are not at peace internally, then we cannot find it in the world.
Why is it important that we as a species should want? What is the purpose for it? There are many good and noble reasons. Because of wanting, we have achieved amazing advances in science and technology and quality of life. But the downside (at least from a certain perspective) is that it keeps us in a state of dis-ease. We are constantly striving outside ourselves to satisfy that disharmony within ourselves.
The real awakening comes when we can open to the truth that any want, whether we get it or not, can not and will not satisfy us, which allows us to move beyond the object itself to the root of why we want anything in the first place.
Through a process of selective perception, certain things stand out as more or less desirable than others. Certain things seem to “speak” to us in a way that the other things don’t, and we spend an enormous amount of energy trying to attain or avoid that thing. To evolve beyond this limited experience of life, we need to realize that any judgment of any thing is completely relative and situation specific.
To test this, we need only imagine that something unexpected comes up that requires all our attention. All the background dis-ease in our heads and hearts evaporates as we leap into action to address what is absolutely required of us in this moment. Where is the want or desire then? Gone. If we are invaded and our town becomes a war zone, we still have wants, but now they are completely different from those that we held as so important in our more simple existence. If the object of our wanting is obliterated, we will discover that even if the object is gone, the compulsion to want is not.
Only when the crisis is handled and we settle back down do we begin to remember our unhappiness and our unfulfilled wants. If it were not relative, then it would remain pertinent even throughout the crisis.
And many of us get ourselves so locked onto those wants that it creates a feeling of crisis inside ourselves because we don’t have that thing. Again, what is the purpose for it? When we are done with the game of wanting, we begin to inquire into why we “want” and how it serves our interests. What we find is that, although there are definite benefits that arise from wanting, the fundamental purpose for wanting is to make us so unhappy that we awaken from identifying with our mind-made concept of our self as a separate entity that lacks anything.
Subconsciously we want the things that will make us most unhappy. It is those things that drive us crazy with wanting that help to dislodge us from being identified with the thoughts of our self as a person that needs anything in order to be fulfilled. It liberates us from wanting, and we are then free to pursue our true desires: the desires of our authentic self as opposed to the relative wants of our mind-made idea of who we should be and what we should have.
It is in that pursuit that we experience true joy and love and compassion. It is in this opportunity to give and serve this life that we are healed. This comes with a deep experience of inner peace, and with that, we begin to see peace all around us. Wanting peace creates dis-ease. Instead, find the peace that already here. To have peace, you need only realize that peace already has you.