One of the most frightening things about melting from a normal, Solid, ego-based lifestyle, to a more Liquid, dynamic, spiritual one is that some concepts that you always assumed to be sound and good and true, start to lose their solidity. The very glue that holds together this solid, stable world begins to lose its cohesion. For example, take the simple concept of "self-control." You have control of yourself. You are in charge of your Destiny, the Captain of your Fate, the Master of your Mind...
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Beyond these words lies madness. Madness to the Ego - Danger to the Me Story that you hold so dear. The very foundation of the dam is starting to crack. Do you really wish to stress it more? To destroy the dam will free the River of your Soul, but the dam, once in ruin, can never be rebuilt.
Control. A simple enough concept, but let us look a little closer, let us brush away the dust and cobwebs from this ancient box. Let us lift the lid and peer inside. Let us find the secrets hidden within. Let us look closely at an assumption that is as old as the hills - the assumption of self-control.
Why do you continue reading? Before proceeding, answer this question truly. Why are you reading this article?
What controls your actions, not "re-actions," but conscious, "I decided to do this" actions? Without a thought you answer, "I do." Now thousands of philosophers have tried to deconstruct the "I" in "I do." So let us not waste our time with that old, and ineffective argument. Let us take a more direct approach. Let us simply watch our thought process. First - Remember a decision you recently made. You chose "A" over "B". Take your time and remember it. It may have been a difficult decision, you may have had a number of arguments for each side of the problem, but if you look closely, you'll realize you decided to pick "A" over "B" because... you wanted to. Something in you "felt" this was the best decision. Simple as that. All the practical reasons, all the logic, all the rational arguments were used by your mind to make yourself "feel" better about "A" than about "B". You chose "A" because you liked that option better than "B".
Why are you reading this article? In your answer, were there the words, "I want"?
Desire. Desire IS Life. It is what motivates the body, mind, and soul. Without desire, we would just watch - there would be no reason to do anything. I want. I want. I want. Desire drives the mind. Desire drives the body. Desire is the captain of our soul.
Behind your eyes, behind your thoughts, behind your desires, your hopes and your dreams, there lies a stillness, an awareness, an opening. Still, aware and open - no action, no trying, no doing - no wanting. Within this stillness there lies only... a Watching.
Decisions are made because they feel right. They feel right because you were raised with certain values, you have certain lusts, you have compassion and selfishness and anger and envy. Can you help what you want? Do you control what you love? Can you make yourself happy while watching an animal suffer? Desires arise from our primal nature - filtered through our value system they drive our emotions and thoughts. Desires are uncontrollable. We may think we control our actions, but all we are doing is satisfying one desire in lieu of another.
I want a relationship and I want my independence. I want to eat chocolate and I want to lose weight. I want to live the good life and I want to quit my job. Desire pulls, desire motivates, desire inspires - Desire controls. I want to be responsible and I want to be carefree. I want to make my family happy and I want to be alone. I want to be selfish and I want to be compassionate. I want, I want, I want.
As difficult as it may be to hear, every decision you have ever made, you chose the option that felt better. Even the most horrible, awful, painful decisions - you chose "A" over "B" because "A" made a part of you (the compassionate, loving part?) feel better than choosing "B". Look at any decision you have made. Look at any reaction you have experienced. Look at every movement of your body. All movement, all actions, all Life, is driven by a desire for something better.
You're not in control. Nor is your neighbor, or boss, or lover, or your dog or the driver cutting you off in traffic. All creatures act on an inner pull, the tug of their desires. We cannot help the way we feel - we cannot help our urges. Our minds rebel, our egos fight, but these, of course, are just more desires.
What controls your actions? What controls your thoughts? What controls your deepest emotions?
I want, I want, I want - The Blessing of Life. The Foundation of the Ego. The ripples upon the still and Ethereal Lake.
Can you watch the natural desires arise? Can you see them twitching the strings of your life? They pull a string and you turn left. Another and you buy a house. Another and you sit upon your meditation cushion. They are not you, they are what happens to your body - to your story. They are not you, they are the life that You experience. They are the ripples upon Your lake.
Watching the desires arise, the sage relinquishes control and, like an autumn leaf upon a forest stream, floats happily upon the gentle currents of his worldly life.
Wayne Wirs is the photographer and author of Fading Toward Enlightenment - Life between the Ego and the Ethereal. For more information about Wayne, his writings or his photography, please visit http://FadingTowardEnlightenment.com
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