I came across the idea, recently, that the simplest way to live life is by not suppressing our desires, but finding better, more effective, and healthier ways to meet them.
Yo-Yo Ma shared (in a beautifully-filmed interview) that playing cello is his weed; in his words, playing takes him to places he can’t access otherwise. This is one example of a kind of fulfillment and ultimate satisfaction that is perhaps universally relatable and understood.
I was then reminded of Hank Green’s account of ‘passive-somethings,’ shared in an earlier post here, that we are always creating something, whether we realize it or not. In a similar light, we are always desiring, and moving in ways to fulfill those desires, whether we are intentional about directing our actions or not! So why not direct our intentionality towards fulfilling the desires which actually most pique our interests? Why don’t we give ourselves time to get clear on what those are? And then determine simple, effective, and healthy means of getting ourselves closer to them?
There is of course, a fine line to traverse here: one sway too far to the right, characterized by dissatisfaction and displeasure in our current lives (both of which concoct a perfect environment for disrupted peace), and one sway too far to the left, characterized by fulfillment at the expense of regard for those around us. What will keep us steady as the wind blows? A beautiful and steady character. This, I hope to get to in another blog post… For now, let’s get back to the subject at hand.
I can see all of these insights applying to my own life, through getting clear on and pursuing professional ambitions, fulfilling religious duties, meeting financial goals, and so on. When we get clear, “we [may] use knowledge and turn it into power to climb up to the summit of ourselves,” shares this (albeit tackily named) video which I feel lucky to have found this evening. “Our highest desires,” the narrator goes on to say, “lead us to our highest selves.” In a way, they can! Our desires can be used as tools which draw us closer and deeper to ourselves.
And maybe they don’t, or won’t. But who will it hurt, as we traverse the terrain ahead (careful to neither squash our internal drives nor squash those around us in our pursuit of them) if we go ahead and try this out for a while? Maybe we’ll find this perspective will lead us somewhere new.