The first of The Four Noble Truths is that suffering exists. The second is that all suffering has a cause. And the root cause of suffering is attachment and desire, which lead to misery.
Desire includes regular every day urges like food, sex, TV and drugs, but we can crave all kinds of things: yoga, freedom, people, stability, a new house, the past, fulfillment, happiness, and so on.
We live in a culture where we are taught that the endless desire for and consumption of something outside of ourselves is where we find happiness. But, according to Buddhist philosophy, that desire for more is what leads to suffering.
So, from this view, all of our suffering can be understood as stemming from desire.
* present desires are not met, you feel pain.
* future desires may not be met, you can feel fear and anxiety
* past desires were not met, anger and sadness emerge
* youthful dreams were not met, a mid-life crisis may happen
What is greed but too much desire? Greed is insatiable so then you cannot enjoy your present life because it constantly seems like too little.
Desire and greed drive us to overuse the resources on the planet—oil, minerals, trees, animals, fish and so on—so that there will be none left for the future. Greed is the desire for more, more, more.
But does that mean we should live without desire?
No, of course not. Desire is part of being human.
The Buddha talked about the middle way of moderation as the solution to desire.
How do we approach this with wisdom? By having some space around desires so they do not drive you. To know that there are choices in this present moment to appreciate what you do have and to love what is presently in your life.
‘Freedom’, said the 20th century mystic and philosopher Krishnamurti, ‘is not the act of decision but the act of perception.’
When you become more conscious and you can notice the continual arising of desire, stimulated by our cultural greed.
How do we learn to live in this rapacious, materialist culture without being consumed by it ourselves?
Mindfulness encourages increased acceptance of what is right here, right now. Cultivating values that support you to feel the enoughness of this moment. And continually returning the mind back to this present moment
But don’t confuse this with not continuing to strive to become a better person, reach for better jobs or have goals. It’s about not being attached to them or greedy about reaching them.
If you set a goal, say a new job, and work toward it over time, and then get the job, celebrate. If you do the same thing and don’t get the job, then notice what happens.
You cannot be sure that if you had gotten what you wanted, it would have been good for you.
And when you get what you want, such as the job, then pay attention to the desire for more of that very thing, or the next best job, because then you’re back living in the problem of more, more, more. So if you accept that you don’t know the whole picture, can you sit in deep acceptance of the moment, no matter what?
Some say that to find happiness, you must first be happy with unhappiness. The mind is in a constant state of dissatisfaction and unhappiness—this is why our desires increase with time.
The ancient philosopher Epicurus said, “If thou wilt make a man happy add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.’ [And we add woman to this, of course]
By understanding that whatever we can buy, find, or experience will soon change, we can end the greater part of our suffering.
Join me for mindfulness practices to increase your present moment awareness, your happiness and decrease your suffering. firstname.lastname@example.org https://janatiyoga.com/?port=susan-young-2