All day today I wanted something. I wanted it so badly that I couldn’t think of anything else. And I couldn’t have it because getting it was outside of my control. The more I wanted it, the more out of reach it became. It was a vicious cycle and I am sure many of you would have experienced it at some point in your lives. The sad thing was part of me knew the futility of it all, yet I couldn’t let go.
The sane part of me as I like to call it, or my consciousness realised I needed support to get through the day and the upcoming weekend and I reached out to a couple of friends. Talking with them helped and I was very grateful to them both. They added important perspective to my situation and I felt understood.
Mid morning, I decided to listen to the Audio Book “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. In it, he talks about living in the present moment and how we can only live in the “now” because the past is only a memory trace of a now that has already been and the future is simply a projection of our minds. He refers to the illusion of time and how we get so caught up in it, we hardly notice what is going on in our now. And he refers to the creation of our mind called the self or ego. As long as we believe that there is a “me” and that me will be happy only if it gets more of this or more of that or feels aggrieved that someone has slighted us, or cheated us, we will feel pain. When we realise that the me is simply an illusion created by our minds, then the suffering ends because if there was no me, then not getting what I want cannot cause me anymore pain.
It is a powerful idea and Eckhart Tolle says that we cannot understand it with our minds because the mind does not want to get rid of the illusion of self. Instead we have to get to a place of knowing by observing our thoughts and emotions and accessing the pure consciousness underneath. That he says is the true source of joy, peace and love.
The feeling that most of us refer to as happiness is a momentary pleasure that we associate with getting what we want. It contains within itself the seed of much pain as well because what gives us pleasure one moment can also give us pain. And as long as we chase after these transient pleasures, we keep adding to our pain.
Until this morning, I thought my journey of self realisation had progressed far enough that I could see such desperate longings for what they were. But when you are caught up in the grip of wanting something so badly, you are momentarily blinded and I was no different to anyone else in that situation. And that realisation was very humbling. Yet according to Tolle, our job is not to judge what we observe or get caught up in the emotion; in this instance the shame of not being who I thought I was in terms of self realisation. Simply by observing something we expose it to the light and that which is exposed to the light becomes light itself.
I understand that getting this thing that I so desperately want is not going to give me lasting joy because while it gave me pleasure when I last had it, today it has caused me much pain by not being accessible. And as long as I crave it, I am going to be on this roller coaster of pleasure and pain. Yet part of me continues to want it because I have not yet reached the place of knowing.