Eliminate the wanting to be in peace and to be free!

To have wants is not what hurts us. To keep wanting does.
Desire by itself is normal. You see a beautiful woman and you say, “Wow!” That is a normal reaction. If you said, “Gee, what nonsense?” that would be abnormal. You see the waiter at a restaurant taking away your plate, without asking you, while there’s still some food you are finishing over a conversation. Quite obviously, you will want that plate to stay. If you said, ‘By all means, thank you!’, while you were still intent on eating, well, that will be abnormal. So, as long as we live, wants will arise. Who doesn’t want more money? Or a more fulfilling relationship with a companion? Or children to behave well? Or bosses to be more empowering? Or who doesn’t want more comfort in Life __ a bigger apartment, a bigger car, business class travel?
Wants are not lethal. Fueling your imagination basis the want is what is dangerous. You keep thinking about that woman, night and day, and your Life will become miserable. You keep expecting your boss to become more nurturing and dignified, when he clearly is a tyrant, is making your own work Life a drudgery. You continuing to think of a bigger car, pining and lusting for it, when you can’t afford one, is sure to depress you. Don’t, therefore, try to eliminate desire. Eliminate the thinking that continues to dwell on that desire. Eliminate the wanting. Move on.
This does not mean you should not be ambitious. There’s nothing wrong in wanting a more successful, profitable, happy future. But when you have an ambition like that, a vision, a goal, go to work on it. Ambition always is a call for action. Merely wanting, with no follow through action, is a surefire way of inviting suffering in Life. Know also that desires are also contagious. One will lead to another. The big car in your driveway, the woman in your bed, the properties in your name, the money in your account, the desire for more and more will create more and more wanting. Endlessly. And that means more suffering.

Legendary playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856~1950) says in his 1905-released four-act drama, ‘Man and Superman’, “There are two tragedies in Life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it.” The long third act of the play is Don Juan in Hell and consists of a philosophical debate between the play’s lead character Don Juan and the Devil. Shaw’s play’s third act covers much ground on the debate between desiring and not getting what you want. But the key learning here for us is that we have a choice of journeying through Life, hopping from one want to another or moving from one joy to another. To kill the wanting process, all you need to do is to simply interrupt the thinking that follows a want. Interrupt it with either action to go after what you want or with action to stop the wanting. In either case, replace the wanting with a simple ‘Do I need it now or can I do without it?’ question, and believe me, all will always be well! You will always end up being happy, in joy, with what you have, than live suffering, wanting! Try this test on the next desire that pops up in your head. It works! 
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You create more problems by wanting people and things to be different!


Intrinsically, there’s nothing wrong with Life. Or with people. Life is the way it is. And people are the way they are. It is your wanting them to be different, your wanting them to be the way you want them to be, that causes YOU__and often others__pain, suffering, misery and angst!

Any home with a teenager will understand this perspective the best. As a parent you would want your teenager’s room to be maintained well. But your child just doesn’t want you to even enter her room. Now think about this deeply. Is there something wrong with the room? Or is there something wrong with the way your child thinks she is maintaining it? Or is there something wrong with the way in which YOU WANT it maintained? In reality, nothing really is wrong. Simply, your WANT, your expectation, is what is causing you all the grief!

So it is with people everywhere. The teenager at home perspective is simple __ so you can relate to it. Also, you may be willing to forgive a teenager__because the kid is still not ‘mature or worldly-wise’ in your view! But you are not always so understanding of others! Here’s why….

If you review your Life, particularly your relationships, almost all the time, all your problems have come from wanting people to be different. Take any relationship where you have a problem and replace your want with acceptance and see how you perceive the relationship now. Let’s say, you have a colleague or a friend who is unethical and scheming. You cannot trust this person at all. Now, if you accept this person as someone who is not worthy of your trust, there will be no problem at all. The problem arises ONLY when you continue to trust this person, expect this person to live up to your trust, and this person keeps betraying your trust every single time! Who is to blame. Your friend? Your friend’s unethical behavior? Or you __ for continuing to trust someone who is NOT worthy of your trust? The answer is so simple. It is you who are responsible, and your expectation that your friend lives up to your trust, for the stress and strife in the relationship. You have to either trust this person and be content with betrayal or you have to stop trusting this person. The in between path__that I will trust and expect him to live up to it__is a foolish one and is paved with grief at every step!

This is so true of any situation, any relationship in Life. Yesterday, I watched a British film ‘Life Goes On’ (2009) directed by Sangeeta Datta. This is a simple story of an Indian doctor, Sanjay (played brilliantly by Girish Karnad) who comes home one evening to find his wife Manju (Sharmila Tagore) dead. She had suffered a major cardiac arrest. Sanjay’s grief is soon overshadowed by some facts, bigger, more shocking and more painful, he stumbles upon about his three daughters and his wife. His oldest one, he finds, is breaking up with her British husband. His second one is in a lesbian relationship. And his third one is pregnant with the child of her Muslim boyfriend. He further discovers that his best friend Alok (Om Puri) is the father of his first daughter because Manju had sought out Alok’s companionship in the early years of Sanjay’s marriage to her, because Sanjay could not take time off from his medical studies and practice to nurture their relationship! Everything that Sanjay had created in Life__a family, built on what he thought were Indian values, a culture of discipline and a tradition of being conservative Indians and staunch Hindus__seems now blown to smithereens. He is plunged into deep grief. And even roams the streets of London one night looking for answers. Then Alok confronts him with the truth: “Your wanting is not going to make anything different or better. It is the way it is.”

Life’s beautiful ONLY when we stop wanting people and things to be different. The moment a want creeps in, rearing its ugly head, a perfectly peaceful Life can become traumatic.  You can’t do much to prepare yourself for the rest of your Life. You can only deal with what you are dealt with! So, the best thing you can do, for now, is to simply, stop wanting people to be different. If it is someone you deeply love, try having a honest conversation. If it works for you, fine. If not, just let people be. You be who you are. And, believe me, your Life will be peaceful ever after!