Ice Cream! Yum. Who wants ice cream?
Great! Now, if you simple resolve to finish reading this post before you fulfill that desire for some delicious ice cream, i can almost assure you that desire will pass away.
Become the witness to the desire. Who is desiring it? Or even, what is desiring it? The mind? The tongue? The stomach? The heart? The left pinky toe?
Quick! Don’t think of a pink elephant! Whatever you do, think of anything but a pink elephant 😉
The mind is funny. One minute it wants one then, then next thing you know…squirrel!
The other day, thanks to hearing the words, “Cyber Monday,” i found myself inspired to do an abundance of browsing online over any ‘deals’ i might find. I spent an hour or two or twenty look at various vitamins and supplements on vitacost.com. It was a pretty fun time. I managed to open around 12 internet tabs of different things i wanted to purchase with money i didn’t have. Nonetheless, i left the tabs open throughout the day, thinking i might ask for an advance on some Christmas funds from Santa so i could purchase some of the goods before midnight on the epic Cyber Monday.
I returned to the computer around 8 PM, having done the initial browsing around noon, and discovered that all the tabs were still open. However, what i once considered to be an abundance of items that i thoroughly desired and felt would be great for the flourishing of the body and mind…these abundances quickly transformed into excesses, and i easily realize how much of it was unnecessary (really…what is necessary? ;))
Almost effortlessly, i closed many of the tabs. The desire from earlier in the day had gone away. Just like that – gone.
Who knows why the desire left, where it went, or what made it go away. All i know is that i felt so grateful that it was gone. Initially seeing the 12 tabs still open at 8 PM mustered up a pinch of anxiety, but as soon as i looked at the tabs again it became so easy to close many of them.
So Hallelujah! Our desires pass away.
Like the good ole saying, “This too shall pass.” Maybe this is why some say that time is the great healer.
Given enough time, it all turns to dust.
Which reminds me of a wonderful strategy for overcoming desire. And really, in this case – the desires we want to overcome are what might traditionally be referred to as temptation. How do we overcome those desires that some part of us knows are not good for us?
There are many ways to go about solving the problem of temptation, one of which includes to stop labeling it as temptation. Instead, you can see it all as God’s Presence 🙂 The Best Truth for Us presents itself in infinite ways in the present moment. What’s the Truth currently being offered to you? What are you aware of? On some level, you can see everything as your Great Teacher, Your Guru, Your Best Friend, perfect for you!
The above solution to the problem of temptation involves a paradigm shift in changing the perspective from problem to opportunity. From enemy to friend, from temptation to divine presence. However you want to make the shift, you essentially eliminate the egoic part of the mind that thinks it knows and therefore goes labeling things as good and bad, and you elevate your perspective to the higher plane where you see and realize that ultimately, everything is for good 🙂
To achieve that higher perspective is a lifelong journey and moment-to-moment effort, and totally worth it! Alas, when i began writing this post, that’s not exactly the method i had in mind for overcoming desire/temptation, although that works too.
The way that worked for me in overcoming the desire/temptation of wanting to buy all these various vitamins and supplements online was to simply let it be. Ultimately, there was no rush to act on it. Even for just a few hours, i could let the browser tabs be, let the supplements be available online without having to follow through on the urge to purchase them. After all, they were not going anywhere!
When you realize that what you want will always be there, you free yourself from the urgency of having to get it now, now, now! You’re free to let it be and allow the mind think about other things. Detach! The ice cream will still be there. So will the magnesium supplement. And the probiotics. Besides, even if they are gone and the sale is over and the world runs out of ice cream, so what?
In one of Anthony’s de Mello’s totally epic books, A Way to Love, he talks about what happens when we achieve every goal we’ve ever set and realize all of our dreams. What will happen then? How will our experience be any different?
Imagine that all of your greatest dreams come true, and that the world and you and all achieve the sublime state that you would only call Heaven. What then?
Even in that sublime state, that perfect state where you’ve achieved everything you’ve ever desired, so what? There’s no guarantee of happiness at that point, although assuredly you can imagine the incredible feelings you’d have pulsing through your veins as you realize the perfectly healthy body, the brilliant mind, the loving relationship, the flourishing work that feels more like play, financial abundance, the perfect amount of leisure time to explore and engage how you want, etc. You can realize all that and more, and where will your happiness be?
de Mello’s point is that you can have happiness, right here, right now. It is a feeling independent of external conditions. You choose your happiness moment-to-moment. Aspire all you want, and aspire nobly, while too realizing that you’re not seeking anything, so much as you’re realizing the ultimate goal – happiness – moment to moment to moment.
Eckhart Tolle talk about living an enlightened life. He suggests to not necessarily change what you are doing. You don’t ever really have to change what you are doing. You only have to change the how. Are you doing it with ease? With joy? With lightness? If you are living with ease and joy and lightness, whatever you are doing is good as it is. Potentially, you can even slaughter animals in an enlightened state. Who knows! The point is, we don’t have too concern so much with what what we are doing so much as how we are doing it. Like Gandhi said, “Do it with joy or not at all!” That’s the blissful way to be 🙂
When the focal point of your life becomes the present moment, you no longer get so caught up in the what, but you realize that the How, that is how you are experiencing reality in this present moment, is what matters most, and it is the one that you might possibly have control over. Be the change you want to see in the world by prioritizing the quality of your experience this moment, experiencing the Peace Here and Now, and always acting with the foundation of Peace. Like Jesus talked about, build your house on rock! Allow your foundation to be strong and it can withstand any wind. The indestructible foundation is in the Present Moment, and you might call it love or peace or joy or God or goodness or beauty or Truth…whatever it is, build your house there 🙂
Something about desires…passing away…
Ah, i had the desire to write about that, but then the mind goes in it’s own direction! So that’s the thing – the mind will go where it wants to go. What you give your attention to grows.
If i sat at the computer all day and looked at the deals for Cyber Monday for 8 hours, i probably would have purchased a lot more STUFF, stuff :-), because the mind would have been going in that direction. Instead, i moved the body and the mind followed, and it went on to read and meditate and cook and do all sorts of fun stuff.
If you have a desire that you think might not be for your Highest Good, maybe you can just watch the desire. Say, “Okay desire, i see you. i know you are there. i’m going to go for a 5 minute walk and if you’re still around we can talk it out.” Maybe even offer to do a costs/benefits analysis with your desire. Weigh all the pros and cons of acting upon it. This method is bringing the power of reason and the Light of Awareness to shine abundantly on the desire to discover if it is a worthy one or not.
Tell the desire you’ll consciously breathe for 3 minutes and read a passage from the Bible and then come back to it if it’s stilll there. Or maybe you’ll do 4 sun salutations, or 20 minutes or exercise, or go hug 2 trees! Whatever it is, just allow the mind some distance from the nagging desire and watch it dissolve. It will go away…this too shall pass!
Now, time for ice cream! And pink elephants. Squirrels, Bibles, dancing, group hugs, swinging from the monkey bars, gifting fresh flowers to your neighbor, yes it is time for all of these! And none of these things.
Because who ever knows where the mind is? Silly mind is like a monkey, swinging around from branch to branch. It doesn’t even really care that much about the quality of the branches, it just wants to swing!
So, one of the best things about meditating, when you strive to focus the mind on a single point and then allow it dissolve into the Infinite…whenever you’re focusing the mind on the one point but you find it wandering..what do you want to bring it back to you?
You’re meditating and the mind is wandering like a monkey that was just stung by a scorpion and drunk on whiskey, what kind of branch do you want the monkey to swing on?
For me, when i notice the mind is just wayyyyyy outttaaaa thereeee, i think, “Okay, if the mind is going to wander like this, i’m at least going to guide it to thoughts of Gandhi. And maybe i’ll just start being grateful for various things. And any thought or image that comes to mind i will affirm by saying to it, “You are God’s Presence,” and see light beaming out of it.
So even there, the mind has options. And it hops. And yes, it’d be sweeeeet to have a mind so trained that it can easily focus on a mantra or the breath for hours at a time. At the same time, thoughts of gratitude and thoughts of inspiring people like Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha – those kinds of thoughts are always welcome too. Nothing wrong with thinking about Jesus 🙂 Or breathing…just being grateful for the breath! What a miracle that connects us all…the universal breath….
Overcome desires? Overcome temptation?
Ha! Who am i to judge an idea as temptation? Who am i to say it’s a bad thing?
Ha! Like it’s a bad idea to cut down that tree? Maybe as soon as that tree gets cut down it will become enlightened and know God fully! Who knows?
Just watch. Be the witness. It all passes away.
The great teaching of impermanence…it all changes! The only thing that doesn’t change is change. Change is constant!
And this too shall pass…
We are dust…and to dust we shall return…
Might as well have fun and play while we are here and now 🙂
Love. Gratitude. Compassion. Hallelujah!
By the way…
Next time you see someone doing something you think is wrong or you judge as a negative behavior, think “Just like me!”
Earlier today, i verbally criticized a friend for eating ice cream while they’re also recovering from a cold. Then a minute or so later it hit me, “Just like me! If i had ice cream, i would eat it too.”
Who wouldn’t eat ice cream? Ha!
What are you…going to live forever or something?
Ah yes, finally, ha finally, yea right – this blog post is never going to end – and that ice cream will still be waiting for you even though 🙂
One wonderful quotation i received from a yogi teabag today…
“When you love, you are unlimited.”
EAT YOUR ICE CREAM 🙂 And be sure to thoroughly cook the pink elephant, and then load it into your homemade spaceship and send it to the moon. Pink elephants on the moon!
Praise the Lord