To need and to want

I was reminded today, by someone very close to me, of the many things I had started or tried in the past year, that I ended up abandoning and giving up. One particular example immediately came to mind. Few weeks ago I signed for lessons in Swing dancing, a pursuit that has now come to an end.

Learning to dance is something I had always wanted, having always been a complete klutz on the dance floor, looking like a fool with two left feet. I’ve had a great deal of admiration for those people who can simply glide across the floor, marveling at, and yes envying, the ease with which they spin the most complex steps. It made me want to be like them, to be capable of happily enjoying a dance without embarrassment, and even maybe find myself the subject of admiration and applause.

So I signed up for something I wanted. And almost from the very beginning, I realized it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t who I was. I felt no joy at the mindless jumping up and down, that was anything but beautiful and graceful looked from the side. The constant change of partners in the class left me uncomfortable and unsettled, with a different stranger touching my hand, finding myself unable to find harmony and comfort with the ever changing hands that held mine.

So I gave it up. And today, following the remark about my inconsistency, it got me thinking. Why is it that we always want so many things, yet the moment we get them, we don’t want them anymore?

One of the first things I learned from my meditation teacher more than 15 years ago, was about the eternal battle each of us face, between the pursuit of our wants and the fulfillment of our needs. His words of warning – “We decide we want something and we go after it. And when we get it, we want it no more, now we want something else. So by design and definition, our wants can never be met. Our needs, on the other hand, always will be”.

But where do our wants and needs spring from? Our wants come from our ego, that pushes us to always want more. This is how it makes itself useful, it justifies its existence. We get it in our heads that we want something, we achieve it by will, work or sacrifice, and it brings no happiness or joy. We think we’ve wasted our time. So the ego jumps back up, putting a new batch of thoughts in our heads, making us want the next thing. And off we go… But it’s a losing battle we fight. It’s like building a cabin of straw on a windy beach, and every time we complete it, the tide comes in and washes it away. And we have to start from scratch. Giving into the illusion that the constant ‘building’ gives our life a purpose. Except that it doesn’t. We are wasting time and energy we don’t have, to build something we don’t need, to impress an ego that doesn’t serve us. And where is all of this rooted? Our ego lives in the past. It is the sum of all of our fears, pains and disappointments. We are trying to solve problems that no longer exist, because we have long grown past them. We no longer need the cabin of straw. We now need a castle of stone.

And this is where our needs come in. They come from the soul. From the path we have charted for ourselves for this life, before we even started it. Our soul doesn’t need the pursuit of momentary happiness, fleeting pleasure or instant gratification. It needs no cabin of straw. The soul’s work is to build a castle. Something solid, unshakable, indestructible. A sustainable foundation, on which we can base the next layer of growth and evolution on our path. A home, where we can find shelter from the harshest storms, where we revive and recharge ourselves after each of life’s challenges. It takes time, and the building stones are often heavy, but the reward is greater than we could possibly imagine.

The ego bombards us with thoughts and fears and doubts every minute of every day. That’s all we hear – what we don’t have, what we can’t achieve, how we must get this, do that, be something else. Surrounded by unconcerned faces, deafened by the news on TV and the mindless chatter of social media, manipulated by false admirers and ‘friends’ with hidden agendas, the voice of our soul – quiet, subtle and unobtrusive – is drowned out by the shouts of our ego.It speaks to us through our feelings, but how often do we silence our feelings and our intuition, to follow the voice of ‘common sense and logic’? How often do we convince ourselves that the right choice IS the right choice, even when deep down it feels anything but right?

This is where all of our pain and misery come from. From the conflict of doing what we want, instead of getting what we need. From not living in our truth but putting on a show, for the world and our ego to see. Following the voice of our ego will lead us down a path of emptiness and disappointment. We will find admiration, but not true love. We will find followers, but not partners, we will find success , but not fulfillment. The voice of the soul, however, leads us back to ourselves, to the things that matter the most, the only things that are truly real.

The voice of the soul can only be heard in silence, solitude and stillness. When we disconnect from the world, when we stop looking without, and we start searching within. So find a quiet place, sit down with your eyes closed, and just be. And ask yourself the questions that trouble you the most. Let your thought flow freely. If an answer comes to you and it leaves you feeling unsettled and sad or angry, it’s not the right one, move on. The right answer will leave you feeling happy, balanced, it will leave you feeling ‘right’.

Your life is not a business deal, you are not running a corporation. Your job is not to ‘do the right thing’. Your job is to be blissfully happy, fulfilled, and to feel at home, no matter where you are. So go on, sit in silence and find your home.

Namaste.

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Size doesn’t matter

I’ve got this dream. I’ve had it for years. Something that I have wanted to do, or rather obtain, that would make a big difference in my life. One of those “If I get this done, I can do anything” dream. And being a follower of the Law of Attraction practices, and doing my daily bit of daydreaming and visualization, I’ve always thought that it was a matter of time. If I do this often enough and hard enough, it will happen. I will make it happen. Yet the years go by and the coveted dream is still as out of reach today as it was the day I conjured it up in my mind.

But the mind doesn’t like vacuum. If you don’t feed it with the right thoughts, it will make up its own to fill the void. So inevitably, a different sort of musings begin to sneak in – this is never gonna happen, who are you kidding, how could you possibly make something so big appear out of thin air….and on and on. Doubt is like an infection. Once it takes a hold of your brain cells, it will spread and multiply and it will take over your thoughts, your dreams, your beliefs. And it will never cease until it has destroyed the last shred of hope that miracles exist, that they are really…quite possible.

Years ago, caught in one of those ‘infection spells’, I decided to take a different approach. Tired of nothing going my way, having lost hope that ‘anything good would ever happen to me’, I got pushed into action by a word mentioned somewhere in the corridors of life, by a stranger passing by, or was it a friend concerned about me – gratitude. I sat down with a pen and notepad and began to make a list of all the wonderful things that had happened to me, that I didn’t even make an effort to achieve. That was the main point. List only the ‘little miracles’. Not things I had worked hard to accomplish, not purchases that took months of discipline and saving. No, only unexpected gifts of things I had once wished for, thought about and then quickly discarded as un-doable. Like experiences I had hoped for but never had. Or even inventions that didn’t exist in the world but I thought useful. The dream jacket that was nowhere to be found. The kind of answer that was not in a book to be read. That sort of stuff.

I sat and I wrote. And then I wrote some more. And suddenly I stopped, realizing that I had filled four pages with things I was grateful for. Things I had said about “I wish I could have/find/buy/experience that…..” and then never spent a second thought on. Four pages of little miracles, and I had only gone back six months in time.

And then I realised. It wasn’t that I had spent hours and days ‘working’ on getting those things. It’s not that I had invested energy and effort into making them happen. It was more that I never had doubt they would come into existence. I never felt I wasn’t deserving of them, or they were impossible to obtain. No, I just had a fleeting thought about something I desired, then left it at the back of my mind, never revisited, until the day that thing or object landed in my lap, and then I’d go “Oh yes, I’ve always wanted one of these, I’ve always wanted to come to this place, I’ve always fancied that”.

My meditation teacher used to say that ten hours of visualization can be undone by ten seconds of doubt. “When you do that, he’d say, you’ve lost all your brownie points”. Doubt and fear can destroy in moments what faith and belief have been building for months.

In his book “Think and grow rich” Napoleon Hill teaches us that we can achieve anything we can think of, as long as we have a burning desire for our dream and unshakable faith that what we want is possible and we deserve it. But how do you make yourself believe that you deserve something, that you are worth it? The answer is as simple as it is profound. Love yourself. Love yourself as you are the worthiest and most deserving person on the planet. Believe that all the goodness and abundance of the universe are yours. By default. By birthright. Indeed, failure is not an option. You will receive everything you believe you deserve. So believe wisely.

By now however, you are probably asking yourself – what does all of this has to do with size? Steady, my dear readers, you are not being spammed with an advertisement for a miraculous cure for male prowess or lack thereof.

The size in question is the size of your dreams. And the doubts and indecisiveness such size induces. A trap I have fallen into way too often myself, thinking that because something is too big, it is therefore impossible. Yet the simple truth is – size does not matter to the Universe. She is as willing and capable of fulfilling the grandest of dreams as easily as the tiniest of desires. However big or small your aspiration, she can meet your request with equal ease. Whether you want a small raise at work or lower gas prices nationwide, better looking garden or world peace – it is all the same to her. Size does not matter. At least when it comes to the metrics of your dreams, it doesn’t.

Where it does matter however, is in the size of your faith that anything is possible. The size of your conviction that you can have anything you wish for. The size of the desire burning in your heart and the size of the voice in your mind saying to you “Yes, you can have it, you deserve it, it’s yours”.

A friend of mine complained to me the other day, how something she’s been hoping for in a very long time, keeps slipping through her fingers. The more I want it and try to make it happen, she cried, the harder and more out of reach it seems. I said to her the same thing I’m gonna say to you now:

Be grateful for everything you already have.

Believe that what you want is already yours.

Be patient for everything that’s yet to come.

Successful careers and fat bank accounts might be built on work, education, ambition or greed. But inner peace and happiness need only three foundation rocks – gratitude, patience and faith.

So dream on. Dream big. Do not lose sight of your horizon. Chase away doubt and fear. And fuel the fire in your heart. For whatever you wish for, is already yours. All you need to do is say “Thank you”.

Namaste.

Conspiracy Theory

… or how you don’t get what you want.

Aspirations and dreams form a fundamental part of our lives. We all have something to strive for, aspire to, and truly desire. It might be something big or small, important or not, personal or not really, but whatever that is, it is there. That natural aptitude for dreaming and setting goals is deeply rooted in our human DNA. As is the disappointment from not getting that one thing that you really, really want. It may be that promotion you long for, your own house, or the love of that one special person, who keeps ignoring you as if you don’t even exist.

Whatever the case, failing to make our dreams come true is a bitter experience, leaving us down and disheartened. Eventually, we let despair get us and give up on our dreams and whenever that happens, we tend to blame the whole world, the Universe, God, or the people around us for that failure, rarely turning inwards or being aware of what the real reason behind that is. As I’ve said time and time again on this blog, any and all reasons are to be looked for on the inside and never on the outside. Regardless of your particular situation, you have all reasons and all answers inside of you. And you know them all. Always, no exclusions. There is not even one instance when you don’t know. You just choose not to. Whether or not you’d be courageous enough to see that truth, that’s another story. But if for some reason you don’t get what you want or what you think you want, next time you might want to try out a different approach to make that happen.

Let’s say, for instance, you want that promotion. You’re working hard, you’re doing your best, but it still wouldn’t happen. You see your colleagues succeeding on that path and even getting more money for the same job than you do. That could be really frustrating. You’re wondering where you went wrong, asking yourself what more could you do and finally telling yourself that you’re not good enough. Now, acceptance and resignation would normally be considered beneficial, but at the end of the day, accepting your failure brings no consolation. Then, what to do? First, stop believing in some universal conspiracy. Nobody and nothing in this world (or any other, for that matter) wants you to fail. There is no evil God, punishing you for your sins. There is no Universe that wants you miserable. And if somebody in your surrounding has something against your success… well, that’s their problem, not yours. Realize that life is not happening to you. You make life happen, every moment of every day you breathe. So get rid of that it-is-all-against-me attitude already! That might be one of the reasons impeding your success. Second, ask yourself if that is what you really want. This is another significant reason why things wouldn’t happen the way we want them to. We may want it, but it may not be that good for us as we once thought. But often we realize that too late. Mostly, when we get what we wanted and we’re still not happy. We might think that this job, particular thing, or partner, are right for us. But what if this is not the case? What if you’re struggling to achieve something all ways you can, but to no avail. Think. As objectively as you can. “Is this what I really want? Is it to my benefit to get that? Am I acting in line with my design?” Chances are, that was not what you came here for. Maybe the design was different. Maybe you were intended for a different purpose. Maybe this wasn’t the life plan you drafted before you came on Earth. So, theoretically, it might not be good for you to get that job or promotion. Maybe you’d work too much, losing the intended direction. That gift or talent you were born with would remain just a seed inside of you, while you should rather water it and help it grow.

Let’s take another example. You want to buy that house, but you can’t. You’d do anything, but you won’t get it. Whatever you do, there’s always something in the way and you just can’t understand why. Is it Fate? Is it Karma? Is it God? You don’t know, but you keep trying. But think of it this way: What if there was a flood or an earthquake in the design that would destroy your life after you settle down in that dream house of yours? What if you’d be unhappy there? What if you were meant to live in another country in complete satisfaction and peace? Or say that you’re hopelessly in love with someone, but they don’t love you back. You could turn the world around, take all the stars out of the sky for them, nothing would change. You find yourself miserable and brokenhearted, but you never know what you’re winning by losing, right? They might be unfaithful, self-centered, and you’d finally realize you weren’t meant to be. Years later. So why get frustrated for something that is actually to your benefit? Ask your soul and listen. If that’s what you really want deep down in your heart, then go for it, keep trying. But if not, accept it and move on. Make another plan. Invent another dream. And if it doesn’t come true, consider all possibilities and never assume anything as a failure. Because it’s not. Never forget that there is a greater design, where you play your part, one way or the other. All you have to do is just listen to that inner voice and watch out for the answers. Sometimes they are subtle and not that easy to recognize, but if you ask, you’ll definitely get an answer. So dream. Never stop dreaming, but always trust that your soul knows better. Trust universal wisdom. Have faith that you’ll always get all you need to grow and nothing less.