At this time, with the election coming up, and so many of my hopes, dreams, concerns, and views of the world on the line, I have been thinking a lot about what it is I want, for myself, my city, my country and the world.
I have had to take a step back and remember that I need to accept the things I cannot change and that I have everything I need and a great deal of what I want. I have to remember the dangers of desire to my peace and serenity. I need to remember that all of this is a part of a tide of history, energy and gradually building layers of earth, sun and flesh. I have played my small part in it and now need to regain my acceptance.
The four noble truths of Buddhism state that:
1. Life is suffering
2. Their is an origin of suffering
3. The goal. The ease of suffering and the attainment of nirvana
4. The Path, the way out of suffering
The second noble truth tells us that the origin of suffering is desire. That to rid oneself of suffering one must rid oneself of desire. Many people not familiar with Buddhism have interpreted this to mean that all desires are bad and should be erased and life as a meditating monk is the only path to salvation.
No more want of material things, sex, wine, food, position, career. This could not be further from the truth.
The word DESIRE creates the idea that there is something we do not have. The truth is that we already HAVE everything. Everything good and everything that can bring peace, happiness, enlightenment, compassion and love is already within us.
Therefore desire is not needed. To get rid of the stress, agitation and unhappiness that are the natural disappointments of desire, we simply need to became aware that all we need is within us already.
From there one can live happily in society seeking professional, material, physical, mental and spiritual gain, if the base is always that desire is useless.
The Buddha teaches that the key to eliminating desire is mindfulness. Always be mindful of what you are doing. Breathing, eating, sitting, working, loving, having sex.
I will do well to remember that no matter what happens in this election, with my job and anything else. Acceptance is key and desire is uneeded.
The older Buddha's belly is so big because that is where he stores all the acceptance he learned over the years.
Christianity and Buddhism both make clear that acceptance in all its forms is the key to a happy life and a heaven on Earth.
Accepting the things I cannot change, changing the things I can, knowing the difference and the elimination of desire have given me my happiness, serenity, great relationships with friends and family, professional success and material gain.
Essentially the lack of desire means I can enjoy all of this things but would be left with the exact same sense of peace, happiness and serenity were they all to disappear tomorrow.
I will have to remember that on November 3 and thereafter.