September 22

The best antidote I have found is
to yearn for something.  As long as
you yearn, you can't congeal; there
is a forward motion about yearning.

Gail Goodwin


Today's Meditation:

We are often told that to get along in life, we need to give up our wants and simply accept life as it is.  Desire, after all, is often a negative thing, something that keeps us feeling discontent with our lives and our situations in life.  But that doesn't take into account human nature, and who we are as human beings.  We are creatures who do desire, and when we can use that desire as a catalyst for changing our lives for the better, then what can be wrong with yearning for something realistic and positive?

And of course, there's the rub.  Many of us spend so much time yearning for things that are simply materialistic and not positive or helpful.  We can also spend time yearning for things that are simply unrealistic and that could even be harmful--yearning for some time with that married person we know, or for that diamond ring we saw that would put us seriously in debt.  These kinds of desire are negative, and they can harm very deeply both us and the people we love.

But healthy yearning can be a catalyst, a feeling that can propel us into new situations and new states.  A great desire to walk the Great Wall or spend time in the Grand Canyon can cause us to economize and simplify our lives in order to be able to afford to go there.  Wanting to get a college degree can help us to find the motivation to figure out ways to make it happen--as Gail says, yearning can propel us into a "forward motion," as opposed to staying where we are, stagnant in the status quo.

If you feel stagnant, then there really is nothing like finding something positive and healthy to yearn for.  A good home for your family, an education for your children or yourself, a vehicle that's safe and practical and reliable, a relationship with a person who can be very good for you, good grades in classes that are difficult.  There are many things that we can desire that can be very, very good for us and that can cause extremely positive changes in our approaches to life.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things do you tend to yearn for?  Do these things tend to be positive for you, or do they add to stress and tension in your life?

What kinds of things might you change in your life to make the things that you yearn for actually become reality?

Why do so many people yearn after things that are ultimately bad for them?

For further thought:

And yes, there definitely are many good desires.  For example, without the desire for food we would not stay alive.  It is when our desire becomes an unquenchable craving or obsession, or causes us to do harm to ourselves or others, that it creates suffering and unhappiness.  If you have ever been hurt because you tied your happiness or well-being to a person, place, opinion, self-identity, behavior, or goal, then you have firsthand experience of desire.

Donald Altman

More on desire.


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