Have you ever noticed how much time we spend avoiding reality?
- We turn on the radio to banish the silence in the car
- We turn on the tv and stereo to cover up the silence in our homes
- We plug in air fresheners to cover up the smells in the house
- We talk to cover up the silence in conversation
- Every store has music or announcements to cover the silence
- We keep eating even though we are full
- We light the house and stay up even though we are tired
- We eat junk even though we know our bodies need real food
- We cover up the taste of our food with salt, sugar and chemicals
- We use scented detergents to wash ourselves and our clothes because somehow it isn’t conceivable to tolerate the smell of ourselves and our clothes
- We wear perfume and deodorant to cover up what we really smell like
- We drink, smoke and take drugs to make the moment better than it is
- We procrastinate and do something other than what we know we need to be doing right now
- We turn the lights off during sex to hide our perceived flaws
- We try to dress ourselves to hide what we really look like, to look “better”
- We put on makeup to hide what we really look like, to be more “beautiful”
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
In Buddhism and nondual spirituality it is said that desire is the cause of all suffering. At first it might seem to apply only to selfish or extreme pleasures, or be about coveting material possessions. What it really means is that the cause of all suffering is “the desire for this moment to be different than it is” or desiring for reality to be something other than it is.
What’s cool about this statement is that you can test it out for yourself. You probably even have memories you can use to test it. Remember the last really great thing you experienced and wished you could make last – a holiday, vacation, sunset, someone’s visit, the feeling after a new purchase? The intensity of that longing and everything we do to try to make a moment last could be characterized as suffering. Same for avoiding pain: pushing away something that we don’t want or like makes it seem much worse, last much longer, than it otherwise might have been. Have you noticed? See if you can check into this sometime.
Freedom, then, is in fully participating in the moment, no matter what it brings, rather than living for the good moments and trying to stretch them, and working like hell to improve the mediocre moments or fast forward through the undesirable ones.
The first step toward freedom is noticing this human tendency to push away pain and grasp at pleasure. I dare you to check it out. In fact, I double-dare you! How much time do you spend trying to alter reality?
Let everyone know what you discover…leave a comment below.
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I cover up a TON of moments – watching TV until I am ready to go to bed, turning the car stereo on, perusing the internet if I get bored, cooking while catching up on phone calls.. sheesh. Definitely need to do some modifications!