During a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre in Spain back in 2012, a spanish runner by the name of Ivan Fernandez Anaya, knew he was going to come in second place. The runner ahead of him, Abel Mutai of Kenya, had created a gap that Ivan could never close before the finish line which Abel was approaching. Curiously, Ivan noticed that Abel was slowing about 10 metres too soon. As he closed in, Ivan realized that Abel had misread the signage and thought that he had finished the race when in actuality he hadn’t!
He ran up to Abel and encouraged him to keep going but Abel didn’t understand Spanish. So, against the wishes of his coach, Ivan nudged Abel until he realized what was happening. Abel crossed the finish line with Ivan just behind him and it is a moment that is still being shared and talked about, rightfully so. Can you imagine being there and seeing this incredible expression of sportsmanship?
After the race, a journalist asked Ivan why he did that, especially considering that he could have won. “Why did you let the Kenyan win?” the journalist insisted. Ivan responded, “I didn’t let him win, he was going to win.”
Ivan explained that the only reason he would have won is because the Kenyan made a mistake. His lead was enough that Ivan would have never surpassed him. He continued by asking the journalist, “What would have been the merit of that victory? What would be the honor of that medal? What would my mom think of that?”
How many of us would give up the chance to “win” and instead help someone else cross the finish line?
Ivan’s coach Martin Fiz wouldn’t. He was quoted after this race as saying, “It was a very good gesture of honesty. A gesture of the kind that isn’t made anymore. Or rather, of the kind that has never been made. A gesture that I myself wouldn’t have made. I certainly would have taken advantage of it to win.”
This is a perfect example of the difference between the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone and the Desire to Receive in Order to Share. That day, Ivan knew he could win but that it would require only thinking of himself. Instead he chose to use his lead to help the real winner cross the finish line instead. His coach said his choice didn’t make him a better athlete, only a better human. The choice between desiring from ego and desiring to share is plain as day.
Choosing to win no matter what might make for a better athlete, but it comes from a desire that rooted only in the self. Choosing to be a better human first and foremost, where you choose to place values, honor, and community above winning is a desire that is rooted in the soul’s desire. It exists in the realm of the unseen where all miracles and blessings are made manifest.
If you look at the desires you hold today, how many of them are about “self” and how many of them are about soul?
Are your desires about what you’ll get, how you will be seen, or what you’ll have? Or are they about creating a better world for everyone, helping others succeed, the potential of who you can become, or nurturing your community?
Questioning our desires in this way is important, considering that we desire what we don’t have. This is where many of us get snagged. When we focus on what we lack, we step into a consciousness of doubt, stress, or fear. This is when we begin desiring to receive for the self alone. Yet, if we look to our desires as gifts that are being given to us, we may treat them differently.
Our desire is pure and powerful, it is what moves us and motivates us. It is the beginning of everything we manifest in the world and we all come to the crossroads, just like Ivan, where we can choose to manifest for ourselves or manifest to share.
Our feelings of confusion, lack, doubt, and worry are signals. They are alarms sounding, helping us to see that we have lost track of what we truly desire. They remind us to shift our perspective and refocus our consciousness on what we deeply value, on our gratitude, peace, and joy. When we are aligned with these positive states of being, our blessings flow to us with ease. And the beautiful irony is, when we are in a consciousness of positivity, we don’t “need” anything. We find our fulfillment through giving, not receiving. If Ivan had been in a state of lack or fear, he would have seen an opportunity to win. Because he was focused on his values he saw an opportunity to give.
It may not always be easy, but it is always that simple. With each desire we are given an opportunity to choose ourselves or to choose others. Paradoxically, when we consistently nurture a consciousness of generosity and sharing, we no longer experience a “need” for anything. Yes, we will always be focused on our basic needs and wants but we will move out of that lack mentality that so often drives us.
With each desire and each manifestation, we are shaping our lives and the world around us. How does this change the way you see your desires?
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