Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Positive Desire

The problem of seeking happiness is that it's always a step out of reach. If it were present, then there would be no seeking. We are always looking for a future situation that promises better feelings than the one we have right now. As soon as we get that situation, we imagine a better one just out of reach of the present so that the cycle of dissatisfaction continues. From the emaciated poor starving for food to the anorexic rich starving for attention, there seems to be no escape from this mental wiring of insatiable desire.

It's not exactly desire that is the problem but its tenor of dissatisfaction. What if there was a way to desire happily? Positively expectant salivation over a meal is qualitatively different from a hunger pang though they share the desire to eat. At the other end of desire is fulfillment or the failure to fulfill. Can the failure to fulfill be reliably avoided or prevented from causing disappointment? Failure loses its sting when you know it's temporary. It's just a mistake that can be corrected. The mistake could be in an intermediate step toward attaining the goal or even a mistake in choosing the goal. Disappointment occurs in proportion to the perceived permanence of the failure state.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I had a good discussion with a friend yesterday about boundaries, a word I've avoided because of its confrontational tone. Based loosely on her description of what it means to her, I've come up with my own provisional definition that a boundary is an explicit description of what behavior in another or circumstances make one uncomfortable. It's not intended to lay blame but to inform the other person that one may react poorly or leave if those circumstances occur.

I think part of the reason I didn't like to think about boundaries is that it puts emphasis on external circumstances for one's happiness. I believe in ultimate oneness, and boundaries seemed to be a delusional separation. I think I may have been too idealistic. Upon entering the physical world, we have "signed up" for separation as a vehicle to learn how to reunite. We grow incrementally, dissolving one boundary at a time, but to do away with the boundary concept all at once denies the structure of the school in which we find ourselves.

Boundaries do presume and uphold separation but for the greater purpose of enabling relationship. A lonely Creator can be seen creating an independently willful Other, whom He can love. Not satisfied with just satisfying Himself, he allowed multiple Others to feel separate from each other and so that they may potentially experience a microcosm of the original love that created them.

In order to experience true relationship, people must allow for the will of others to remain independent of their own. Otherwise, what they experience is a premature merger, a destructive consumption of another. All forms of control seek to consume or subsume another. Love, on the other hand, plays with that illusory gap between selves in a way that enhances and enthuses (i.e. puts God in) both the individuals and the whole.