Feelings. We all have them and we really love feeling the good ones, romantic love for our partner, satisfaction at a job well done, the joy of laughing with our friends, the pride we feel as parents, the awe we experience when we discover new places and new beauty, and a myriad of other feel-good emotions.
Then we have those not-so-feel-good feelings. At some point we’ve all felt regret, abandonment, confusion, rejection, loss, sadness, pain and hopelessness. The gift and the challenge of this month of Capricorn is to embrace all of life’s experiences and understand that everything that occurs is part of our spiritual purpose.
Embrace pain? Embrace depression, you ask.
I never said it wasn’t a challenge!
But imagine a life where nothing, literally nothing, could shake your joy. It sounds unreasonable, but that is in fact what the kabbalists teach is possible and the gift that is available to us this month. Who wouldn’t want to experience life as constantly positive? Count me in!
In order to live a life of constant joy we have to ask for two things:
When we have a consciousness of desiring wisdom we begin to understand that process of life is actually the purpose of life. The goal is not to be caught in the minutiae but rather to shift your perspective to take in the whole of your life, from birth through the future. Too often we get caught up in day-to-day frustrations and worries. These annoying details get to us. We fret. We obsess. But, if we were to take into account the whole of our lives, these altercations are laughable! Who is going to remember that someone dinged their car door in ten years? Who will remember that the babysitter was late? Or that they had to return a malfunctioning appliance and the service line was really long? From the long-distance view, these scenarios right-size, shrinking from a mountain in the laser focus of our present to mere ant hills in the big scheme of things.
The process of life, is our life. Researchers surveyed travelers and logged their feelings from the idea of going on a trip all the way through a year after the vacation. What they found was that people gained the MOST satisfaction in the planning and researching of the experience, not the trip itself. In fact, in priority of most fulfilling to least, the experience of actually going on the trip was eclipsed by remembering the trip. The least satisfying part of travel is the travel itself — which was the purpose! All the planning was the process.
The second thing we have to ask for is desire. Nothing happens in life until you decide and if you have no desire, then not very much is going to happen! If one never wanted to go on a trip, then they would never even book a plane ticket. Fundamentally, we all have desires. Our most basic being the need for air, water, food, shelter and sleep. Some of you may be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which he proposed in 1943.
- physical needs (air, water, food, shelter, sleep)
- safety (primarily physical safety)
Interestingly, Maslow posits that all human motivation is based on the desire to fulfill one of these needs. Most of us are blessed enough to have enough food, have a home and feel comfortably safe in our lives. Once those desires are fulfilled we move higher up the pyramid, to love/belonging, to then exploring our talents and interests, and finally to the striving for self-actualization, in other words, working to meet our greatest potential. Meeting these needs is a lifelong process and integral to our happiness and our spiritual growth.
Think about all the things that you desire in life, for yourself and for others. Take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy and see where your desires and energies are most directed. When we focus on our desire and have the wisdom and consciousness to enjoy the process we are setting ourselves up for a life of greater enjoyment and happiness.
Thought into Action
Are there certain areas or situations that make you lose sight of the big picture? Think about those times and make a conscious decision to instead shift your focus to the process rather than the annoyance of details.