Most of us desire something other than what we set our sights on, yet even when we know exactly what we want, we tend to get side-tracked along the way. Human nature is clumsy and we are easily distracted. If you really want something, look past that something and notice what feeling you’re chasing, because it’s never a physical thing that we desire. It’s almost always the feeling of being happy.
For the longest time I thought I wanted continuous sobriety, but when being sober didn’t deliver immediate feelings of bliss, I relapsed. It wasn’t the actual sobriety I was aiming for – it was feeling good without a drink. Addicts chase a constant high, which is pretty insane, yet what we truly desire is a sustainable good feeling. People in general desire happiness; addicts just go after it with a vengeance. When we discover that drugs and alcohol don’t deliver continuous happiness – we try to quit. Then when we still aren’t happy, we replace our drug of choice with something else outside of ourselves. This is why so many people get involved in relationships right away, or why they distract themselves with work. I know a lot of reformed addicts who are now workaholics. They distract themselves from feeling lonely, bored and lost, instead of working through the misery and eventually discovering a reason to live.
If you can identify what it is you truly want, you can easily identify the things that are distracting you from getting there. At some point in my life, I realized that it wasn’t fame, wealth or a certain guy that I truly desired. It was simply to wake up in the morning and feel like I was ok. It was to be content with where I was, who I was, what I had and how I felt. This was all I really desired. Since I can remember, I have never been content. I was the antsy type who always wanted “more.” Contentment for me was like having an endless box of dark chocolate followed by a note from the universe stating that I could have anything else in the world I wanted including a shiny new car of my choice, and a fabulous new wardrobe. It seemed that far fetched, so instead of focusing on finding contentment, I focused on a lot of other things that made up for the lack thereof.
We all do this to some degree. It doesn’t matter if you’re an addict or simply a human being. We chase “things” while suppressing our disappointing feelings. Some of us chase religion looking for God so that “he” can remove us from our suffering. We’ve got this all backward. Once we start feeling God in the midst of our problems, we realize that what we are wanting is never somewhere else, or something outside of ourselves. “God” does not truly remove us from our shortcomings, nor does our higher power take us “away” from our problems. What occurs is that “we” somehow find harmony in a moment of rage, or in the act of balancing our check book, or while folding or laundry, or when our computer crashes and we discover ourselves smiling rather than cussing at the damn thing. This inner harmony that we discover does not come from an outside source. It makes its appearance when we wipe the layers of bullshit from our eyes. Harmony is always accessible; we just refuse to recognize that what is occurring right now is not any better or worse than what is going to occur five seconds from now. This life is filled with highs and lows because we label everything between the spectrums of “good and bad… fun and boring.” Once we stop doing this, we become awake to the fact that a blustering storm is just as brilliant as a warm summer breeze. Our excitement for life doesn’t come from the arrival of spring; it appears when we notice the magnificence of the goose bumps on our skin from the chill of winter.
We avoid simplicity because it seems boring, but this is just a lie we tell ourselves so that we can keep filling ourselves up with temporary fixes like sugar, porn and entertainment. Remove these things from your life, and you are left with whatever feelings that come up for you. Some of us are often bored, but this is just the ego’s way of trying to obtain a fix in a body that ultimately desires harmony (joy). If you want to find sustainable happiness, turn off the TV, close the magazine, leave work when the job is done and take some time to be alone with yourself without any distractions. Experience the awful loneliness. Sit quietly with your discomforts and allow yourself to be bored. It’s the only way you’re going to get to the bottom of yourself where the sustainable joy actually resides. Rather than praying for God to remove your shortcomings and for your higher power to take away your suffering, sit in meditation and feel the pain just as it is. Listen to the voice inside you that beats you up for not being perfect. Get acquainted with everything that comes up for you, without judging it. If you constantly try to bat these things away, you’ll never experience the fullness of yourself beyond all these nuances.In other words, if you want something sustainable, stop chasing the temporary shit. What you desire is not a hot girlfriend, or a rich husband. It’s much more significant than these things. It’s what we all want and it’s accessible to each of us if we would only stop and appreciate things as they are, rather than trying to change them. If you desire sunlight, you’ve got to notice it behind the storm clouds instead of waiting around for summer, or distracting yourself from the winter as it is. The sun is always there. It’s just not always obvious. I want to get to a place where I’m not looking forward to going to Disneyland because I’m having just as much fun cutting these carrots. Ya know what I’m sayin?