Contemplation – Wanting

Contemplation - Wanting

Sit for some time if possible free of distractions and comfortably. See if you can allow your mind and body to be still. As you become still, ask yourself this simple question: What do I want? As you sit quietly, witness the flurry of responses and answers your mind comes up with. As this happens, try to stay with just the question. See if you can simply repeat the question as your mind conjures up hopes and desires and needs you think you have. Do this for a few minutes without settling on any one particular answer. Say you are in desperate need of money and you ask yourself this question. What do I really want? Wealth? Try and go no further. You seek wealth, stop there and be still again if you can. Repeat the question to yourself again after the pause. And now visualize that you have obtained all the wealth you desire. Will that put an end to your seeking? Will the causes and conditions for other needs and wants stop occurring? See that they will not. As long as you are alive, the conditions for needs and wants will ceaselessly arise. In the midst of all this, see if you can rest simply with the question, and go no further. What do I want?

The objective of this exercise is to realize that our seeking never ends and that we can be still in the grip of longing. It is not meant to do away with wants and desires, but allow us to just sit quietly in the midst of all our yearning and longing. The emphasis is meant to be on the questioning, not on finding answers. With practice, it is possible to pause even when we think we are in the middle of the most important thing. In pausing, we allow stillness to come into being, and actions that are rooted in stillness are always more wholesome and fulfilling. Most of the times, we inhabit a state of frenzy, running after one thing or the other or chasing one thought or the other. With this exercise, we can discover that silence and stillness can come no matter what we think we should have, whether it is a more comfortable existence, pleasant memories, health or wealth.

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