As part of an e-mail to an old co-worker this morning, who was asking me how my life is now, I wrote the following:
The hard part for me lately is the feeling that I will always be one step short from achieving my career goals, having a healthy, long term relationship in my life, and living my spiritual path fully. This is probably just a story that I'm trapped in, but it's had a grip on me for awhile, and I also know that I hold myself back too much at times out of fear.
This narrative is actually an old one, but when you have a lot of free time on your hands, and no clear direction, the old narratives can get really loud.
What I find interesting about this particular story is how it points directly to the way grasping at something doesn't work, and how it is, in that way, completely true. I can't really "have" any of the things on the list. The fulfilling career. The great relationship. The unfolding path of wisdom and awakening. They aren't graspable in the way I want them to be.
I've been considering desire lately. The desire to awaken for example. I think we get a little too black and white about desire, deeming it all trouble, all the time. It isn't. There has to some desire to awaken, or to have healthy relationships, or to do something more than the same job over and over, otherwise there's no movement. But at some point, the desire has to be let go of, to flower or disperse on it's own as it will - or else everything gets really warped.
What I see in the narrative I have cherished above is that everything I have sought - the continued career achievements, the loving relationship, the unfolding wisdom - has been something "out there," outside of me, that I feel I have to possess in order to be complete.
I'd still love to experience all of this, but it needs to be approached differently - I can see this, feel this, now. The desire energy, the wanting - it's time to respect it more, engage it differently, and to see it as another raft that, if ridden intelligently, will take me across the river.
*Image by Harry Northover
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