What do we really need?
Lately, I’ve been contemplating my tendency to overlook all of the wonderful things in my life and to instead torture myself by focusing on what I don’t have or what I’m not doing,
If I’m living in Thailand, I feel like I should be traveling on the back of a camel in some majestic corner of Africa that hardly anyone’s ever seen. If I’m meditating on the floor of my apartment, I feel as though I should be ordaining as a Buddhist monk. If I’m doing my best to be kind to people in my daily life, I feel as though I should be “saving the world” by starting some large-scale non-profit. If I’ve got a $20 bill in my pocket, it should be a $100. If I’ve got a decent little blog with a few followers, it should be something that touches the lives of thousands, something like this perhaps. If I’ve got something great, I always seem to overlook it, feeling as though I should have something better.
Sometimes it’s so important to take a step back and see those deeply rooted inclinations for what they ultimately are — craving. Usually we think of craving as that sense of wanting something tangible, like an ice cream cone, a girlfriend/boyfriend, or a longer vacation, but craving takes far more deeper and broader forms as well.
When I finally got around to reflecting on all that I should have, I began feeling not only selfish but also a bit silly. I have food in my belly, a roof over my head, a healthy body and mind, loving family and great friends, a job I enjoy, and so much more. So many in this world don’t even have one of those things, let alone all of them.
Today I’m turning over a new leaf — to acknowledge and be satisfied with what I am doing and what I do have rather than dwelling on what I don’t. It’s so simple, but honestly, it’s not easy.
What are the wonderful things in your life that you’ve taken for granted? What do you really need for happiness? I wonder, if you turn around and reflect for a moment, are most if not all of those things already present?