The key to Happiness is dropping all your wants


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! 

“wotsubusu” craving, feel liberated!

No object of desire is the cause of any agony in itself. It is your craving for that object that makes you suffer.

Take for instance, a hot summer day. And you are thirsty. You see nice juicy watermelons on the street and want to stop your car. But you find the parking slots by the stall crowded and you see a policeman standing under a tree nearby. You believe the cop will object to your parking your car outside of the earmarked space. You are miffed and drive away cursing the crowds and the cop, ruing the missed opportunity to take some of those melons home. Even when you narrate this experience to your wife when you get home, you are complaining and are not merely reporting. There’s a sense of loss and evidence of frustration in your reportage. Now, did the humble melon on the street cause your agony or did your craving for it__and your eventual inability to buy it__cause it?

Think about it. All of us are victims of this cravings-brings-suffering trap. What we crave for is not the cause, it is the act of craving that causes misery. We crave for attention, adulation, understanding, respect, fame, rewards, recognition, wealth, opportunity, love and followership. And when we don’t get it, we are disappointed. Now, if you are disappointed and if your disappointment doesn’t affect your Life, it is fine. But when you are disappointed, you are mourning. Your energies are low. You start operating in a low energy__scarcity__spectrum. This naturally affects the way you live and experience Life. On the other hand, consider the situation when there is no craving, and so there’s no disappointment, so there’s no suffering. In such a scenario, you are operating in a high-energy__abundance__spectrum. Remember: Wherever your attention goes, your energy flows. In Buddhist teachings, they advocate the complete cessation of craving. Which means to eliminate all craving. In Japanese, the word wotsubusu means to annihilate. When you wotsubusucraving, you feel liberated. Such freedom opens up a whole new opportunity spectrum of playing to your strengths – to what you have. Than to worry about, lament over, what you don’t have.

Simplify Life: Give up the craving. And you will immediately stop suffering!

It is up to us to change the stories of our lives

Nothing in Life is worth suffering for.
Not money. Not health. Not love. Not career. Nothing. And contrary to popular notion, Life is not about suffering. Yet we suffer in Life because we try to force outcomes. Don’t. Just do what you can do in a situation. Do your best. And let the outcomes take care of themselves. It is when we try to ensure outcomes that the strife, the struggle, the suffering begins.
A friend called yesterday to say that his attempts, over the last five years, to try his hand at business had all failed. He said he was out of money and out of luck. He confessed that he was gripped by fear and insecurity. He did not know what the future held for him. And he said he did not see a way out of this situation immediately. He wondered if I could share with him how to be calm in such a crisis and avoid suffering.
I told him that there are no methods to deal with Life. The best way is to do what you can and must do in a situation and live each day fully – engaged in turning the situation around, without bothering if the results were coming the way you wanted them to. There will be some times in Life when, despite your best efforts, the results will not come. This doesn’t mean something is lacking in your effort. It only means you must now try once more. Outcomes, I said, are not in our hand. Efforts are. We must be engaged in making our efforts with focus, purpose and joy – relentlessly. Leave the outcomes to themselves. If they happen as envisaged, great. If they don’t, we must learn to try again. It is only when we expect outcomes to be the way we want them to be that we suffer.
Think about why you force outcomes. Because of your wants. You want someone in your Life. So you desperately woo that person. If she rejects you, you suffer. You want more money. So you will do anything for it__even if you don’t like doing it. Because you don’t enjoy doing what you are doing, although you are making money, you suffer. You have been let down by someone. So you sue them. Because you want them to feel your pain. Little do you realize that in trying to bring them pain, you are hurting. Your want to fight your battle with them is causing you a lot of harm. Invariably, it is the wants that lead you to expectations of outcomes and therefore plunge you into suffering when they are not met.
So, the simplest way to avoid all suffering is to stop wanting. Just live Life fully not worrying about the outcomes. If the outcome’s meant for you, it will come your way. If it is not, it won’t. Why struggle? Why suffer? Know this__clearly, surely: We are the authors of all the struggle in our lives. We are the script writers of all our miseries. And so, it is up to us to change the stories of our lives.