We spend our life chasing Wants.
We chase money, relationships, free-time, possessions, real estate, vacations, status, and pleasure, among other things.
We chase Wants for much of our lives and wonder why we keep chasing.
Eventually, we are forced to acknowledge the Truth.
Our Wants are poor substitutes for what we genuinely Need; Need; Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness.
You could say we are going about it backward
What is Peace?
Many mistakenly believe Peace is a feeling like happiness or joy or that Peace is the not-feeling of anxiety or sadness.
Peace is a neutral space.
It is the absence of positive and negative emotions.
We experience Peace when we exist at and only in this moment.
Peace occurs when we accept that now is all that is, and know everything is perfect exactly as it is.
What is Freedom?
I will unpack Freedom more in the next chapter.
For now, know that most pursue ‘Freedom from’ which focuses on planning for and avoiding potential future adversity.
‘Freedom to’ focuses on removing resistance, obstacles, and barriers that stand between ourselves and what we move towards.
What is Connectedness?
The dictionary defines connection as the relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.
The concept of Connectedness is more appropriate as it describes the feeling of belonging to another person or group.
I describe Connectedness using the example of Aspen trees. Every seemingly separate tree in a stand is part of the same organism.
Just as they are all one tree, In Connectedness we are all One.
You can’t get there from here.
All we desire are Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness.
None of these are places to ‘get to.’
Each is a state of being rather than a destination.
Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness are, in fact, ‘natural’ states.
Just as it requires no energy for a top not to spin, a natural state requires NO energy or effort.
Rather than thinking of getting to Peace, Freedom, or Connectedness; consider the concept of returning to them.
Perhaps we chase Wants because Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness feel abstract and out of reach.
However, we have all experienced these before, and are guaranteed to experience them once again.
We were born into Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness.
At the moment of your birth, there was only that moment. No future to get to and no past to move away from. That was Peace.
You were born with absolute Freedom to Do, Be, and Feel anything.
Finally, you are born part of another human; wholly connected-to and one-with them.
We return to Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness.
At Death, there is no longer a future to avoid or a past to regret. You return to Peace.
Death represents the elimination of all resistance. With nothing left to do, nothing can get in our way. As we get closer to Death, we naturally enjoy more and more Freedom.
Finally, once dead, our physical form begins its inevitable return to organic matter and energy. You become the ground, the air, and the light.
You are part of all that is, once again.
We want Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness now.
It may be comforting to know we have already experienced Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness and that we will return to these once again.
However, this doesn’t stop us from desperately chasing Wants in the mistaken belief those will give us access to Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness along the way.
What if we could let go of chasing our Wants and move directly to what we Need?
Fortunately, this is possible, and I want to share three concepts that create access for you now.
These concepts will challenge your view of how the world works and how things ‘are.’
Be forewarned, these concepts require practice and will take time to absorb and integrate.
Concept #1: Your circumstances do not create your experience.
We believe our experience is created by and occurs because of what happens outside of us.
Consider the following statements:
- “I’m irritated because traffic was a nightmare.”
- “I’m so happy because he bought me flowers.”
- “I’m so upset because of how she treated me.”
Unfortunately, this approach and these statements place control over our ‘Experience Of’ life to circumstances outside of us.
When something outside of our control creates a negative ‘Experience Of’ we require something outside of us to get back to positive.
What if we held a different perspective?
“Nothing outside of us causes, creates, or even influences what goes on inside.”
It is natural to resist this perspective: “What do you mean they didn’t make me angry? They were disrespectful!”
Rather than arguing to prove or disprove this perspective, ask the following question: “What would it mean for my life if nothing outside of me caused, created, or even influenced what happens inside?”
The answer, of course, is it would mean you never give up power to create your ‘Experience Of.’
Concept #2: Acceptance creates Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness.
Most know it was Buddha who said, “Desire is the cause of suffering.”
Few understand that by “desire,” he meant much more than ‘things we want.’
Desire represents resistance to the way things are and a belief that life could be any other way than it is at this moment.
For example, when we have an illness, our greatest desire is ‘not to be sick.’
Buddha would call this resistance to ‘being sick’ desire.
Illness is unpleasant, but it is our ‘desire not to be sick’ which causes our suffering.
Acceptance is the antidote to desire and represents an absolute surrender to what is, as is.
We are in Acceptance when we believe ‘what is happening’ is the only happening possible in this moment.
In Acceptance, we see that whatever is happening is supposed to be happening.
This surrender brings us instantly back to Now; and Now brings us to back to Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness.
Concept #3: Dreaming without attachment.
The last concept for accessing Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness is Dreaming without Attachment.
Each of us lives our life within a ‘frame’ we create that defines what is possible for our life.
From where we begin at the center of the frame, we look to the outer edge and experience possibility and inspiration.
As we move towards the ‘edge of our frame,’ attention shifts slowly but surely back towards the center.
The more we look back towards the center, the more our thoughts turn to worry about losing all we have gained.
The path back to inspiration and possibility requires building a larger frame.
Bigger frames, however, carry the burden of potential disappointment.
Each larger frame we build stretches us beyond previous limits.
Over time, we forget the pure joy of pursuing our dreams as ends in themselves and worry about the cost of not achieving them.
Dreams that were once a means to an end can become the end.
The concept of Dreaming without attachment allows us to create bigger and bigger dreams without assigning meaning to whether we ever realize that dream.
Dreaming without attachment allows us to create inspiration and possibility as continuous states.
How to practice these concepts
These concepts will require practice.
Rather than trying to absorb and implement them right away, I recommend reading them out loud each day.
Reflect on them by asking, “What would it mean for my life if these were my Truths?
You can also ‘play’ with these concepts in real life.
Practicing: Your circumstances do not create your experience.
Notice when you relate your circumstances to (or even blame them for) your ‘Experience Of’ something.
Feel what happens when you decouple circumstances from ‘Experience Of’ by saying out loud:
“At this moment, I feel [WHAT YOU ARE FEELING.]
Fear wants me to believe I am feeling this because [THE CIRCUMSTANCES YOU ARE BLAMING FOR THOSE FEELINGS.]
I know that is a lie. Nothing outside of me is the cause of anything inside of me.’
Practicing: Acceptance creates Peace, Freedom, and Connectedness.
Notice where your thoughts, actions, or language creates non-acceptance.
See what happens when you say out loud:
“Everything happening now is happening exactly the way it is supposed to.”
Practice: Dreaming without Attachment
Finally, notice when you feel unease or anxiety as you approach the “top of your frame.”
Challenge yourself to dream bigger and write these dreams down.
At the same time, watch out for where you begin to create an attachment to these dreams.
Notice where you create pressure on yourself to ‘get there’ and shift your focus from accomplishing your dreams to being inspired by them.