Why You Want the Things You Want
Start fulfilling your own need for happiness from within
In some parts of the world, a monkey trap is constructed from a gourd. It’s staked into the ground so that it can’t be moved, and a small hole is cut into the top that is just big enough for the monkey’s hand. Nuts or other tasty monkey treats go inside. The monkey places its hand in the trap to grab the bait. However, once the monkey grabs the snacks, he can no longer get his hand out of the trap. He’s caught. All he needs to do is open his hand and release the goods to gain his freedom. However, many times he doesn’t. He keeps clinging to them, sacrificing his freedom for the objects of his desire. Sound familiar?
As humans, we also sacrifice our freedom when we cling to things. We may not grasp at nuts, but we do grasp on to people, relationships, material goods, ideas we have about ourselves, expectations we have for others — really, the list is endless. Like the monkey, we get stuck when we can’t release our grasp. Attachment prevents us from living our life fully and enjoying all of the other pleasures around us. We just stand there with our hand stuck in a figurative gourd. Fortunately, once we understand why we get attached, we can start to loosen our grip on the objects of our desire, regaining our freedom so we can enjoy our lives.
We become attached to people, things, and beliefs because we think they will make us happy. We want this stuff to fulfill a need. We feel we lack something. The boyfriend will prove that I’m lovable; the new job title will show that I’m smart and competent; looking a certain way will ensure I’m desirable. We grasp and cling to things outside of ourselves to validate our worthiness. However, worthiness is not a façade we can create through external accouterments. No number of boyfriends or girlfriends, job titles, or compliments, can give us the validation we need. Creating a feeling of worthiness is an inside job.
Rather than manipulate people and situations to get our needs fulfilled, we can cultivate sovereignty and learn to fulfill them ourselves.
I hadn’t always realized this bit of wisdom. I often looked to external objects to help me feel…