Recently, we have been talking about fear and how fear affects our choices and thus our life. Our focus was on subtle forms of fear that I called “Mailbox Fear” – that fear you may feel at times when you are approaching the mailbox anticipating some adverse news. We realized that the most important aspect of dealing with fear is recognizing when it is present. When we have identified the presence of fear we simply shine the light of our consciousness upon it and it dissolves. It loses it grip on us.
We then discussed some causes of fear – impermanence, rejection and wanting. The discussion on impermanence helped us realize that our minds want to make concrete, predictable and secure a world that is bound to impermanence – bound to never being concrete, predicable and secure. When we experience impermanence fear arises because we want things to be permanent although we can see clearly they are not. Our discussion on rejection showed us that our wiring evolved to experience fear and pain in the face of rejection. Rejection can cause great fear and trepidation to arise in us. We want to belong to the tribe and without that sense of belonging we suffer. That lead us naturally to wanting. Through our conversation on wanting we are able to see that we only experience suffer over things we want. You can see this plainly when you realize that you’ve never suffered anything you didn’t want. Fear can also arise – the fear of not getting what you want. You can see that even in this summary of the causes of fear that we want permanence we want to belong. We want. The next question we will attempt to answer arose quite organically in the conversation. How do you not want something that you really want?
Just to quickly review, wanting is that sticky, attached feeling that causes fear and pain – fear and pain because we are not happy without that thing or experience that is the object of our wanting. In order to answer the question, “How do you not want something you really want?”, we must understand how wanting works.
The most important distinction regarding wanting is that wanting does not feel good. That is how you distinguish a want from a desire or need. It creates discomfort and dissatisfaction. It tells you now is somehow now not good enough and would be better if it were a different way. Wanting is never satisfied. A few moments after you get what you want, you want something else. The insatiable nature of wanting is its painful core. The hallmark of wanting is an uncomfortable, upset and unsettled mind. To see this clearly, just imagine if you didn’t want anything. What would your mind feel like?
So, we must first see that wanting is not desirable and is certainly an obstacle to a peaceful mind. As always, look to your own experience to confirm this. Does wanting create discomfort and dissatisfaction in you? Does it bring you peace? Does it help you realize a still, quiet and serene state of mind? Do you notice the more you want something the worse it feels? Do you want to know the lie that wanting is???
The fundamental flaw in wanting is that it tells you that happiness, satisfaction and peace are something that exist outside you. That is a lie! When you are experiencing the cravings of wanting know that you are being lied to. “Life would be better only if …” To let go of something you really think you want you must realize that the reason you want it is a lie. Your mind has convinced you that this something (fill in the blank) is so important and you can’t be happy without it. And then what happens? You acquire that thing … That experience … You get there and you realize there’s no there there. Just you. Just your mind. Looking for the next thing to want.
Our most core desire is peace … To live this life with a Peaceful Mind. When our mind is peaceful our world is peaceful. The egoic mind convinces us that if life were just a certain way then we would have peace. Then we could enjoy life. Its just not so. The very peace you seek exists inside you in this moment and all moments. You don’t need life to be any different than it is. Ironically, a peaceful mind exists in the absence of wanting. When the wanting is gone the peace is just sitting there waiting to be recognized and experienced. When you realize that wanting is the source of your suffering – not, not having the thing or experience you want – it’s easy to let go of what you think you really want.
Tom Notarianni Jr.
“Yesterday, I was sitting in my room, looking back over my life, and I realized that everything in the outer world that had promised great happiness had deceived me, but one thing has never deceived me — my inner peace. As I passed through various experiences over the years, that unchanging inner peace has been proof to me of the existence of God. (me)”