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August 15, 2006

Wanting and Having

"Enlightenment didn't give me what I wanted." She told me, her voice deep, gravelly, and seductive because of her cold. I started to laugh and I couldn't stop laughing. What a perfect statement, how perfectly hilarious. She hung up on me.

One way of looking at the spiritual path is this: the conversion of wanting into having. Every human being is on this spiritual path. Many are converting wanting into having by manipulating the physical world. They want something and so they acquire it. Physical things can be acquired in many different ways: working, speculating, or stealing, for example.

The cancellation that occurs when wanting is replaced by having produces a certain feeling in the body: micro-bliss. This is the feeling of temporary and partial cessation of wanting. This is a little taster of the feeling of perfect, permanent contentment: the bliss of enlightenment.

It is possible to convert the experience of wanting into the experience of having at will, with no external changes. This skill enables the time period between the experience of wanting and the experience of having to be reduced to instantaneous. This is possible because the feeling that results from having after wanting is something that occurs inside the body. The normal methods for generating bliss require time only because of the way that the mind warps perception: making things appear separate and so creating the illusions of space and time.

The mind creates reality, or rather the illusion in which we suffer, and so time spent wanting actually produces more experience of wanting. The wanting drives away the experience of having. Therefore life is spent in tug-of-war with the mind wanting, and driving away having, and the spirit, always leading back to itself, attempting to deliver what is wanted, to produce bliss.

And here is a facet of this great paradox: when wanting ceases all things flow to you because there is no more resistance. This is what Jesus meant when he said, according to Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

The mind loves to want because this is how it perpetuates itself. This is all the mind is: a self-perpetuating wanting machine that creates more wanting. The problem is that when there is wanting, there is only suffering. Suffering is waiting for bliss, waiting for cessation of wanting, waiting for the experience of having.

Waiting for bliss, waiting for anything, is nonsense because anything worth waiting for is available right now. I do have to wait for a Ferrari F430, but it is a meaningless thing without the sensation that I would experience when the wanting changed to having; I am experiencing that sensation right now. It's clearly not the thing that I am waiting for but the feeling that it evokes.

The advanced path of tantra involves encouraging and experiencing wanting and having, and using the feeling of bliss that is generated to realize that wanting and having are unnecessary. The less "risky" and traditional path involves merely watching, and historically also consciously minimizing wanting and having. A lot of people today, with some additional watching, would find that they are performing very advanced yoga tantra.

I was in Ashland, Oregon recently and I passed people doing chakra healing work. There was a man in his twenties sitting cross-legged under a small tent with his hands rested in perfection mudra on his knees; he seemed to be concentrating very hard. Some ladies were swirling their hands up and down the backs of some intrigued passers-by. As I walked past, an Indian man, who had been watching from a distance, called out to me, "Hey, would you like to learn how to meditate."

"I am meditating right now." I told him.

"This is a very good sign." He said.

I was watching the ebb and flow of wanting and having.

"Your writing these past couple of days has been amazing; such clarity; you seem to be on a kind of a high." — Carol


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