I was inspired by a page I read this morning from a book by Matt Haig, called ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’.
It started by saying “The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more?”
He goes on to describe the ways we are made identified & doubtful about our bodies, our possessions & our situations to scare us into buying or doing stuff. Plastic surgery, insurance, voting for a certain political party.
And then came the line that caught my eye.
“To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act”
This reminded me of one of my earliest realisations when I first sat & listened to my teacher 34 years ago. That there is a power of needlessness. This power counteracts the sense that we are lacking & need more.
The message that you are born perfect & whole is not readily found or believed in this world today. Because then we would be happy, and as Matt says, “why would we need more?” The world of consumerism prays on this sense of need.
It convinces us we will not be happy unless we fulfil the endless stream of trends that will see us conform to social norms in looks, behaviour & social standing.
Submitting to our cravings only builds more wants, as we feed the endless wheel of wants & needs, & the temporary satisfaction that follows the fulfilling of our desires.
And it doesn’t mean there aren’t times where we need to go out & achieve for a qualification or a goal. We need to take action to get what we need for living & survival. We don’t need to ‘renounce’ the world. But we do need to cultivate an awareness of how much is really necessary.
We need to see clearly, what are we putting into our body & mind. Is it serving me, or is it creating more involvement, leading to agitation & anxiety?
Am I believing in the lure of wealth & status, name & fame that is glorified by media & society? And which we so often observe is a happiness destroying illusion.
Lets instead pay attention to the things we have. No matter how lowly they may seem. We can be rich in awareness, not things. If I was to sum up the contentment I’ve experienced in my life, it could be expressed as ‘simple living & highest thinking’.
We have a great power to be free from craving, & to be calm & content with who we are & what we have.
And it is a revolutionary act. It’s a revolt against the brain washing of a consumer driven culture.
Instead of following our wants & desires to aquire more & to succeed more at the expensive of others, we can be a warrior of discrimination & discernment & ask the hard question.
“Do I really need this, & will it make me happy”
Or will it just create more involvement in ‘things’ which will just sap my time, energy & resources.
We have been so conditioned into short temporary satisfactions, that we often miss the great peace of needlessness.
Think about that moment of satisfaction you feel after you have get something you want, or have achieved something you have strived for. Imagine it, savour it.
Then what happens?
The mind again arises in its infinite capacity to want & not to just be.
But we can hold that moment of satisfaction & by pass the need to follow the mind to its next want.
Like all worthwhile skills, cultivating the power of needlessness takes time & practise. To master any new ‘movement’ of thought takes awareness, focus & courage. The key to that mastery always comes back to an awareness & acceptance of your Self as whole & complete.
For me the key was meditation & self-knowledge.
May you find your key & your calm, & be free from need.
I will finish with a beautiful story of a sage who was having an audience with a gentleman of great academic learning & achievements. This man was listing all his qualifications & acquisitions with great pride, aswell as what he planned to still achieve in the future.
The sage listened quietly & when the man finished he said, “but I have one thing you don’t have”
The gentleman sat up intriqued and asked what that could be.
The sage replied, “I have enough”.