I want it now!
Now. Now. Now! To the ego, now is the ultimate symbol for the lack of patience. In the earlier years, I remember my daughter demanding various forms of external gratification, NOW! “I want to go to the movie, NOW!” “I want you to play dolls with me, NOW!” I would say, “Be patient little grasshopper. The movie doesn’t start for an hour.” To which she would angrily reply, “I AM being patient and I’m not a grasshopper!”
We’ve both grown up since then, but she helped me gain a deeper perspective on what it means to truly be patient. Is it patience that simply tolerates something that does not go our way? Is it patience that anxiously awaits an outcome? I don’t think so. Even the slightest twinge of anxiousness or annoyance would not be considered true patience. True patience is not anxiously awaiting a desired outcome. It is quietly, looking and waiting without judgement.
The Ego Keeps Us Trapped
What if the inner and oftentimes anxious desire for a certain outcome actually worked against us? Ouch. Didn’t Buddha say something like, “Desire is the root of all suffering?” It’s not the thing we desire that is evil or wrong, it’s the fact that we believe there is something outside of us that will make us happy—no matter how right or great it is.
The ego never has our best interest in mind. The ego is a tricky fox and our higher yoga is to catch it working against us moment by moment. What we think we want is not what we really want. What if the attachment to what we think we want were a trap cleverly designed by the ego to lock us each into our own separate universe? Can you think of a better way to maintain the illusion of separation? If the higher goal of yoga is to join in the oneness we all share, then this inalienable goal will be delayed as long as we cling to our desires. Consequently, this delays the recognition of the inner source of lasting happiness. Outer desires become a substitute for deep, inner fulfillment.
There is a way out
We all have desires, but we don’t have to be attached to them. I have found great joy in realizing that all of my ego desires work against me. But I also get into trouble if I deny my desires! Stuck again and now the ego has ahold of me because there is an “I” denying my desires. Here’s what you do. Begin to trade desires for gentle preferences. A preference has no attachment. A preference includes the inner yoga of realizing I can and will be happy regardless of the outcome. Most importantly, I get out of my way and something bigger and better is allowed to work through me—something that is all inclusive, and yet always has my best interest in mind.
Completely different than the ego’s selfish demands that turn now into misery, this state of being opens the door to a higher Now that sets you free. To be continued in Part 2.