515: Teeming with Desire - Living the Buddha
“There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.” The Buddha
Oh yeah, I started off the episode with a quote, with the quote of the day. Some of you might be saying, um, that’s cool but who the heck are you, and what’s this show all about? I tell you what, how about I just say that if you stick around to the end you will be better than you were when you started listening. It’s only five minutes, and that’s not a bad return on your investment.
So let’s get into it.
What do you want in life? What are your desires? Do you have any? Chances are pretty good that if you are human, you have some wants. If you are like some people, you have many wants. But does that serve you? Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, would say that it may not. His belief, as evidenced by the quote of the day, seems to point to a belief that being desirous is a path to fear.
Let’s start with things. You work to make money to buy things. There’s nothing wrong with that if you use the things and indeed buy them for that purpose. There are other purposes, like a desire for status, a desire for feelings of importance. but where does all that desire lead you? It leads you to fearing for the things you have amassed.
Since I started the episode right off with a quote, I’ll just keep things fresh by asking one of the questions of the day, now.
How much time and energy do you spend safeguarding the things you own? Is it worth it?
The desire to have more and more things, makes many people more and more fearful that those things could be taken away, stolen. Desire equals fear.
It’s not just about things though when it comes to desire and fear. Many people desire to live a long life. They feel it’s the benchmark of a full existence. That desire has them doing any number of things to ensure that outcome. The interesting thing though, is that in that desire to prolong their lives they often miss out on actually living. They wish to live as long as possible and in the process fear anything that could possibly keep them from their goal, even if those things could enrich their lives.
The Buddha was quite wise with his word choices. For instance, he didn’t say “filled with wants”, he said, filled with desires. Wants seem more casual, while desire has a yearning quality to it, an aching to possess.
The next question of the day seems obvious then, do you want to live fearfully? If not, then cast off your yearnings, your desires, whether that is for things, people, feelings or outcomes. One of the greatest lessons I have learned over the past year has come from producing 5 Minute Mojo and ZEN commuter. The lesson is simple, allow things to happen, don’t try to force them. You will become fearless when you understand that desire for a specific thing or outcome is unnecessary. Things will be as they will be, and no amount forcing, prodding or desiring is going to elicit a different outcome. If anything, not only will the outcome not be realized, but it will also come with a fair amount of stress, and, as Buddha pointed out, fear.
What’s the Friday moral to the story? Just relax. Ditch your desires. You can certainly work towards achieving things, even having things, but don’t let it ever get to that feverous pitch of yearning. because once that happens, the fear will eventually set in.