Unwholesome desire causes suffering for it contains wanting and craving.
Our skillful intentions are wholesome desires. These are the aims in life we are directed towards, also called goals.
Joseph Goldstein, Buddhist meditation teacher, says that goals are not a bad word in Buddhism.
Many years ago I was in a class with the brother of the Dalai Lama when someone asked, “I’ve heard that the Buddhists don’t have goals.”
His answer: “Of course we do. We are always aiming towards something.” And with that his arm shot up with a finger pointing high into the air.
Yes, the desire for enlightenment is a goal, an intention.
Intentions point us towards something. They move us in a certain direction.
Perhaps our intention is to understand. Is this a wholesome desire?
It can be if we have a mindset that is open to new information and takes note when it is tempted to make assumptions.
Real understanding requires a beginner’s mind, as the Buddha called it.
Jesus called it becoming like a child, innocent and questioning. Not demanding.
The mind will then investigate, seeking to go below the surface, for things are usually not what they appear.
This mind desires to understand its own thought processes and seeks to uncover the attitudes held within.
An unwholesome desire to understand will have an anxious quality about it, feel worried until it gets the information it seeks.
This mind craves to understand, wanting it as soon as possible, like now.
There is a “hot energy”—a burning feeling within this type of wanting.
Wholesome desire for understanding is patient. With this attitude we simply ask that the universe reveal to us that which we need to know.
We stay open and pay attention to what is going on within us; how we are seeing and hearing in this moment. What is our attitude?
Are we content, knowing understanding will occur when the time is right?
I believe the universe is on a need to know basis. All is revealed as needed. Patient attention is our work.
When we have an intention to accomplish something or complete the tasks set before us, it is vital to note the feeling tone as we accomplish.
With awareness we check out what is happening within the body to see if there is craving. Is there tightness, or clenching anywhere? This is a form of dis/ease—an unease—which is unwholesome.
Craving/wanting causes hurt and pain.
The irony is that which we crave is already within us. To discover this great truth requires watching the content of our mind.
We may blithely answer we’re not craving—we just want things to happen.
Well, our next question could be, “How will I feel if I don’t get the outcome I desire?”
Gandhi has said to do the thing that needs to be done but leave the results to God.
When we trust the universe to do what is necessary there is no craving.
Our work is to set wholesome intentions followed by action steps. It is up to us to wait patiently and persevere, not forcing.
The universe’s work is to manifest that which has been set in motion.
I can tell how much unwholesome craving I have by how much tightness there is in my body as I go about my daily tasks. Am I breathing fully, allowing the breath to flow all the way through?
Or am I clenching muscles?
Do I think this is pleasant or unpleasant? Am I rushing or worrying?
Or I can relax as I work, and feeling the joy of doing what is mine to do.
I can remember that joy and freedom is here, available in me and in everyone right now.
God gives us so much freedom that we are allowed to suffer as long as we are willing. Divine energy doesn’t push us to learn more quickly than we decide to. This is true love. True liberation. We are totally trusted by the universe to become as we are willing and ready—when we have suffered enough. When we declare, “Enough already!”
God allows—continually. Always we are being carried on a sea of joy, though we may be complaining and chomping on the bit.
It matters not to the universe whether we experience this freedom or not. Reality is still happening. Nothing can stop it.
All we need do is let go, lean back into the nature of reality and notice what our mind is doing.
Decide to make it a cravingless moment! Drop our wishing that something different were occurring.
What truly needs to happen will eventually take place. Pushing won’t help. In fact forcing interferes with the process.
You don’t have to get any better! Nothing has to get any better.
What you desire is already within you.
Relax and give thanks!
In lovingkindness, Rev. Billie