The insanity of humanity has us always looking for something other than what we have. The “more” factor has steadily increased throughout our history. We build things we want, obtain them and then, create more.
Socrates, a famous philosopher, walking through a street fair one day, observing the vendors and all their wares, is quoted as saying, “Its amazing all the things man can do without”.
My teacher, Swami Parthasarathy, says, “We keep building malls that maul us”.
To me it seems we have a constant “want” list that never ends. No sooner we receive an item on our “want” list, we are already looking at the next item that we just have to have.
The questions we need to answer are: Why do we want? What are we looking for? Why don’t we want what we have?
Let’s examine these questions further.
Our first question, is why do we want?
In order to answer such a question we have to know what want means.
It is defined as, to be without, to lack, to desire greatly, to seek or capture. A want is something we can do without. If we have what we need, why is there a drive for more?
All animals, except for the rat, are content when their needs are satiated. They do not seek more. This is the law of the animal kingdom.
This is only partially true for humans. For instance after a big meal are we interested in food? The answer should be known unless we have a serious problem. Once we are full, there is no thought of food, until we get hungry again. It is a temporary piece of mind.
The same is true for the rest of our lives. We chase something and obtain it only to have temporary satisfaction until we are off to the races again for more of what we have or something new. We want food out of a hunger. We want everything else because of a hunger as well.
That’s why we want! We are hungry for the knowledge of our true Self. Those that are truly full have no wants. Wants are for those who are empty.
This brings us to our next question.
What are we looking for?
We just established that we want (seek) because we are empty. This means that what we are looking for is something to fill us.
Humans have looked everywhere. We have searched all over the world. There is virtually no place we have not discovered on earth. But all that we have discovered is not what we are looking for, because no one has found contentment in people, places or things. We are looking for something to fill the void that we all have.
If there was no void, there would be no searching, no misery, no more wanting. Anyone that is whole or full wants nothing else.
The history of man gives us an important clue as to where to find what we are seeking. We have looked, since the beginning of man, outside of ourselves, including those, searching for a god, who have looked above and not within.
We know that, whatever it is we are looking for, is not outside of ourselves, or we would have found it already. This story exemplifies this truth.
Long ago man had very special powers. However, over the years he began to abuse those powers greatly. One day god had a meeting with his angels to discuss taking away man’s powers.
God asked his angels to help him find a solution as to where to hide those powers. One angel suggested he hide them deep beneath the sea. God answered that man is smart enough to discover the bottom of the sea one day.
Another angel recommended that he hide the powers in the sky. God replied that man, one day, would discover and explore other planets.
Yet another angel spoke about hiding them in the bowels of the earth. Once again god thought that man would dig and drill the earth dry and discover the powers.
Finally, one angel said, “let’s hide these powers within man himself. If he finds them there, he will be worthy of their use”. Finally, a thinking angel, and so it was! The place that holds what we are looking for is deep within us.
The final question is, why don’t we want what we have?
This could not be simpler to answer. We do not want what we have because we do not have anything. All there is in this world is as meaningful as the dream is to the person who just woke up!
Think about it, all through life we keep scrapping one thing of value, for the next once we realize the worth is higher.
I remember getting a big wheel. It was red, shiny and my eyes caught fire just staring at it. I still remember the thrill of riding it down the street. The speed and handling were so much better than my measly tricycle that was once the apple of my eye.
The big wheel was it and the tricycle was no longer meaningful to me.
Needless to say our whole lives are like this. From things, to places and even to people, we constantly keep discovering there is more than what we were clinging onto and this is just in the material world.
Many will not like hearing this, but even our partners and children become meaningless, once we are exposed to the brilliance of our true identity.
By meaningless, I am not, not, not, not, not saying we do not care or love them. Nor am I saying we do not have a duty to them. What I am saying is that they no longer are our world.
Those of us with families or partners know that we do not stop craving for more once we have them. Then, if they were the answer, the search would be over. But it is not!
Those of us that want what we have use it as a discipline to stop accumulating more in all the areas that will never fill the void. This is a partial fix.
We must continue to search. Our work must not cease, but we need to understand our road map is way off. We are going the wrong way if we are looking outside ourselves. The moment we look in we feel immediate relief and our journey to an everlasting happiness begins.
The world is an illusion that tempts us to jump into her arms only to find that she will not hold us, only toss us around and spit us out.
Dive into ourselves and we will be nesting in the bosom of heaven and from there, we will see everything else is meaningless.