The Joy of Not Getting What We Want

“Keep in mind that not getting what you want Is sometimes a terrific stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama

Let me inform you a story. I initially read it in a book on Taoism, however Ive seen it in at least a lots other locations since then, each with its own variation. Heres the gist:

I had spent the previous fifteen years running from one thing to another in order to avoid anxiety, anger, worry, and depression. I did this through drugs and alcohol and taking insane threats with my life. These things have repercussions.

I started to recognize that I had a mind, however I was not my mind. Meditation showed me how this mind was constantly understanding and desiring and reaching out for different things. It was a craving and aversion device.

I initially got into a lot of weird things like alternate theories about the history of the world, cryptozoology, and things like that. Not really the change I required.

This altered everything.

When I initially heard that story, now let me inform you who I was. I was twenty-three or twenty-four, attempting to leave of drugs and stop drinking and turn my life around in general. I had recently rolled my cars and truck out into a field, lost my better half and the majority of my buddies, and had actually moved to West Texas to start over.

The farmers boy is attempting to break among the new horses, it throws him, and he breaks his leg. Everyone tells the farmer that this is an awful turn of occasions which theyre sorry for him. He says, “Well see.”

I was clever sufficient to understand something needed to alter, but I wasnt rather smart sufficient to understand how, so I attempted to do what I thought clever people did– I started going to the library.

I ultimately stumbled onto The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav, rearranging my worldview again. Having grown up in a quite stringent evangelical house, any sort of eastern viewpoint was entirely outdoors my context. This led me to start studying Taoism and Buddhism, the majority of specifically Zen Buddhism, and to the story I started this post with.

It wasnt long before I realized that it desired these things entirely for the sake of having them, and that none of them were all that crucial. I just wanted what I desired due to the fact that I desired it.

Its difficult to exaggerate just how much this book revolutionized my view of the universe and my location in it. It was delighting to acknowledge just how much there was out there that I didnt understand. Atlantis and Bigfoot were replaced by quantum mechanics and string theory.

The army comes through the village. The nation is at war and they are conscripting individuals to go fight. They leave the farmers boy alone because he has a damaged leg. Everyone informs him that this is a fantastic turn of events and that theyre delighted for him.

One day I went to the library searching for a book about the Mothman, but Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time was being in its place. I didnt know anything about this book or the important things it spoke about, but the title was cool, and libraries are totally free, so I checked it out.

These consequences came as automobile wrecks, prison time, hospitalizations, and a long string of ruined relationships. I was so mesmerized by my wants that I was running through life with my eyes closed, blindly chasing them, with foreseeable results.

Recognizing that I was not my mind provided me a sense of objectivity about the important things I desired and the important things I did not want. It taught me that I didnt need to be so connected to having or preventing things. This let me stop running.

The horse returns a few days later on, and it brings a whole herd of wild horses with it. Everybody tells him that this is a fantastic turn of events which theyre happy for him. He says, “Well see.”

The farmer states, “Well see.”

Theres this farmer. His favorite horse flees. Everybody tells him that this is a dreadful turn of occasions which they are sorry for him. He says, “Well see.”

I learned that getting our method is exaggerated. Once we recognize this, we are much less susceptible to the whims of a lightweight, fragile, and fickle mind.

Why We Have No Business Getting What We Want

There are 3 main factors we need to be cautious about being too purchased getting what we desire:

We are emotional creatures, driven by things like hunger and a bad nights sleep.
To a fantastic degree were wired for short-term thinking. Immediate advantage typically surpasses long-term repercussions.
We experience time in a direct fashion, so the future is entirely unknown to us.

Lets have a look at these.

Starving, Angry, Lonely, Tired

I often motivate individuals to memorize the acronym HALTS to utilize when making decisions. It means starving, happy, upset, lonely, worn out, stressed out, and unfortunate.

I had excellent intents, and they held so long as I wasnt around any of my temptations. My long-lasting planning was solid up until short-term fun was in front of me. It was irritating to watch my willpower and dreams go out the window over and over once again.

When were lonesome were most likely to let the wrong individuals into our lives just due to the fact that we need somebody. This opens us up to poisonous, manipulative, and malicious individuals.

Im not sure Ive ever seen great decisions come from these emotions, unless luck let the person and stepped in off the hook. When we believe about it, it all makes sense.

Our brains are sluggish and slow when we are worn out, and our choices are, sadly, hardly ever our best.

When you take all of this together, it assists us to see that the important things we desire are flimsy and that they alter depending on our mood. The important things we want end up being a lot less essential when we understand that we may just desire them since we had a bad nights sleep, or we avoided lunch.

As I discussed above, our wants are flimsy when we start to explore them. Why do you want chocolate? Why do you want a beer? Why do you wish to go on a walk? Why do you want to go to Disney World?

Even the so-called positive feelings arent safe. When I was happy and feeling a little bit better than normal, I understand I have overcommitted to things on days.

When we are sad the entire world seems bleak and it feels like it will never change. This is alright, unless we make long-lasting choices based upon the concept of an ominous, squashing world.

Tension makes the smallest things feel overwhelming. We can not make good decisions when making our bed or going grocery shopping noise like significant tasks.

. The issue arises when we concentrate on meeting these requirements to the exclusion of the things that benefit us long term. I wasnt silly– I d always understood that the drinking and drugs were an issue. The issue was that rational James was typically outvoted by insane James.

Short-Term Planning

Anger shuts down the very best parts of out brain. When we decide to deal with something in a minute of anger, situations go from bad to even worse and from worse to unfixable.

These are all common psychological states, and they are all dreadful times to make a decision. Weve all heard the guidance not to shop while were hungry, and theres a reason for that– its good guidance. You will buy more food than you require, all based upon how you feel because moment.

Our immediate responses are hardly ever oriented to the long term. This makes sense, because most of the things our body needs are immediate– food, sleep, protection, sex, using the restroom, etc

We have all sorts of answers for these concerns:

When we examine them though, these do not actually hold up.

Because Disney World is the happiest location on earth.

Because I need to relax.

Since I deserve it.

Since its a good day outside.

Why do you deserve it?

What does it indicate to unwind?

What makes it a nice day?

What makes Disney World the happiest put on earth?

Not feeling good is a part of the human experience. Youre going to get ill, youre going to have days that are not as excellent as other days, youre going to have a headache in some cases. These things are inescapable.

If we keep going, we constantly get here at the realization that we simply wish to feel excellent one method or another. We wish to feel great for the sake of feeling excellent. While theres certainly absolutely nothing incorrect with this, it is eventually unwarranted, and we can not let it drive our lives.

The important things we desire right here and today are hardly ever the finest things for us long term. Long-lasting preparation requires intentionality and energy because of this. It might be bothersome but its true.

We Cant Predict the Future

It sucked, but this led me to working at hotels, where I was able to earn money to do all my research and still have time to read for enjoyable. I burned through all the Russian classics, made all As, and got to spend a lot of time with my child when he was little. I will constantly be grateful for that.

Lubbock has some dubious honors. We have actually been voted most dull city in America, worst weather condition worldwide, and I recently read that we have the worst diet in the United States. Our poverty and violent crime rates are approximately double the nationwide average, and we score high up on things like kid abuse and teen pregnancy.

As a kid, I keep in mind believing it was weird that we couldnt remember the future. If I could remember what took place yesterday, why couldnt my brain go the other direction?

There have been smaller sized examples along the way. I was working at a CD store and enjoyed it, however one Sunday corporate came in and stated they were shutting the place down. They provided me a two-week paycheck to assist them pack the shop up and move it out. It was that abrupt.

This catapulted me into opening my own service due to the fact that I didnt truly see any other choices. I d never seen myself as being accountable enough to do this, and individuals informed me I didnt have the head for it.

When things spoiled, they went all bad and it was obvious it was time to leave, however I was comfy. I neglected some problems I ought to not have actually been neglecting, and it overtook me. By the time I left I was burned out and ill all the time.

I always swore I d never live in a location like Lubbock when I would travel through here, however moving here twenty years ago saved my life. The location that I loved, Austin, I brought me to rock bottom. it was only a matter of time before I was dead or in prison.

This is among the main limitations of our types, and the most essential factor that we shouldnt hold the things we desire too tightly. We dont understand how anything is going to end up, including what will occur if we get what we want.

I utilized to drive through Lubbock, Texas one or two times a year to go skiing. Lubbock is a city out in the desert, and while I have actually pertained to enjoy it here, I do not believe anybody would explain it as beautiful.

On the other hand, the place that I swore I d never ever live has actually given me a college education, a household, and a successful organization– all things that I believed only existed for other individuals. I honestly shutter when I think what my life would have looked like had I not moved.

Before opening my practice, I was operating at a private university. For somebody with sixty-plus tasks in their life (my spouse and I made a list), dealing with a college school was fantastic– it was the top place I viewed as a “permanently” job.

6 years later, my business has been super effective and managed me more liberty than I might ever think of, but even this wasnt completion. I just recently closed my workplace to stay home with my kids, another twist I couldnt have seen coming.

We are trapped in linear time, so we do not understand whats coming right around the corner. Hanging on to something or another as the best thing or the important things we “must have frequently triggers us to miss out on the fantastic things right in front of us.

Accepting What We Get

My life has actually been a series of difficult lessons caused by my egotistical, entitled, and silly choices. They have all, in one way or another, taught me one thing: I do not understand whats best, so a majority of the time I dont have any company getting what I want.

Things like someone shelving a library book in the incorrect location, business closing the place I worked, and moving to a city I actively did not like have produced the best things in my life. If I d been given the choice, I would not have selected any of these.

We are emotional, shortsighted creatures who have no access to the future. Discovering to cultivate approval for the important things beyond our control often opens up fantastic paths for us. I understand it has for me.

About James Scott Henson

Meditation showed me how this mind was always grasping and wanting and reaching out for various things. Realizing that I was not my mind offered me a sense of objectivity about the things I desired and the things I did not desire. The problem develops when we focus on conference these needs to the exemption of the things that are good for us long term. The things we want right here and right now are seldom the best things for us long term. When things went bad, they went all bad and it was obvious it was time to leave, but I was comfortable.

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James Scott Henson has actually worked with people as a social worker, a counselor, a meditation teacher, and now as a coach for near to 20 years. He writes, podcasts, and posts on Instagram about mindfulness, gratitude, intentionality, and compassion.