(Note: This isn’t looking down on anyone, it’s more of what I dig up through self-reflection, writing etc and which sort of gets expressed as self-deprecation. I am as flawed as anyone I have ever met.)
I think a lot of us chase the wrong thing in our lifetimes. I am talking about things and objects. Like 10,000 feet outlook. Not about your new iPhone 4s (yes it’s pretty) or your new low price pants (yes you look pretty too) but at much higher abstraction level of objects and attachment. When we chase something we are attached to it. We are actually attached to the object of desire – which is fine, but it comes with some side-effects. Wherever there is attachment, pain breeds. It’s inevitable.
I think we as humans are at very core level are all about “Self-Expression”. Not about these moving plethora of new shiny gadgets that fill our lives and never give us time to think. I think we seek – constantly – self expression. We do it though various ways. Our work is one main avenue. But there are many other things through which we like to express ourselves – art, dance, music etc. But somewhere we forget that and we start to believe that we are out there seeking objects. Objects of desire. This leads to false self-identity and later does not bode well.
I think the key to happiness is to find out what we want and then dig deep into it to find out what self-expression do we seek from it. It could be anything, a 50″ tv for example. It may not be that you are just satiated by the HD reel that runs through it – but there could be more to it – may be like you like your entertainment in a big way, may be you like to express yourself in a big way which is making you go for a big ass tv. I know it’s a silly example, but I think for any objects we are chasing – there is more to it other than just mere momentary gratification.
I think there is way to sort it out. Here is what I think could help.
1. Find out what you like most. What is your object of desire.
2. Reverse it. Think as if this object is desiring you
3. How would you expect that this object is trying to express itself through you?
4. What are the feeling that you feel when you think of this object is trying to express itself through you?
5. Focus on those feelings. I bet you will find the core of your self-expression there.
Philosophically – when we chase down our objects of desire and once we have it, the fun ends. There is no where to go. And just because you cashed in some of your karma to chase that object of desire you will have to face the opposite action of your actions. It’s unavoidable. But in case you don’t chase the object of desire but the feeling – the feeling of your self expression may be with that object or may be not, then it’s a whole new ball game. You just made the object of desire a means to an end. Not an end. That way, you are guaranteed of endless opportunities of self-expression and not face the reverse karma.
Chasing that feeling is what we should be doing. But instead we are chasing the wrong thing, yep including me.