On the surface, human beings appear to be very different. Our physical appearances, goals, and preferences about practically everything come in endless variations, but at the deepest levels, everyone desires the same things. We want to attain life satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment. Only when you uncover your deepest desires will you be able to find the fulfillment in life that you truly deserve?
Your Surface Level Desires vs Deepest Desires:
When you and your family members, or friends, are sitting around a table having dinner it is easy to see how different we all are. One of your friends may be a lawyer who’s interested in sports, world news, and weightlifting. Another friend may be working as a waitress while she gets her graduate degree in psychology. Her interests may be music, yoga, and reading the newest mystery novels. You on the other hand may work for a nonprofit organization and use your free time to travel, enjoy the outdoors, and watch your favorite TV sitcoms.
On the surface, it seems that we all have different wishes, wants, desires, and goals. The people that you know buy different brands of clothing and electronics, are attracted to different types of people, and enjoy different types of cuisine. While the goals that we set, things that we do, and topics that we discuss make us look very different on the surface, the truth is that the overarching goal of every individual is the same. Any action that anyone takes is done so to help them reach their ultimate desire: To find fulfillment and happiness.
In the Western world, it is very normal for people to pursue the goal of fulfillment in very different ways. One individual may decide that working on Wall Street will give him the financial stability he needs to be happy, while another decides to work for an international relief organization because he or she believes helping others will bring them higher levels of fulfillment. An individual may regularly decide that the mouthwatering taste of unhealthy food helps them increase their happiness, while another sticks to a strict diet because they believe the long-term benefits produce higher levels of fulfillment. Across all areas of life it is easy to see individuals making different decisions that they believe will produce the highest levels of happiness and satisfaction.
While on the surface it seems that we are all very different, the truth is that at the deepest levels of ourselves what we all truly want is happiness and fulfillment. Every action that we take benefits us in some way and is taken to increase the levels of fulfillment that we feel. Oftentimes, the decisions that we make greatly emphasize short-term gains, even if there are long-term consequences. This is evident by examining how individuals smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol until they blackout, or even cut their wrists in an attempt to gain some type of ‘pleasure’.
Chasing After Surface Level Desires:
At the surface level, every action and decision we make in regard to our career, health, relationships, and intellectual needs are done so to help us meet our deepest spiritual desire of fulfillment, however, the vast majority of our choices do not produce the levels of happiness that we truly desire.
Beyond our limited viewpoint of the self-concept, or ego, we intuitively know that none of the things that we tirelessly pursue will bring us the happiness we desire at the deepest levels of our beings. The monetary improvements that we can receive with a job promotion, the intense high we experience from starting a new relationship, and the material goods that we crave to get our hands on are all impermanent in nature.
The happiness that comes from these things can be intense at first, but inevitably our feelings of joy and ecstasy come, peak, and eventually fade away. This is because the things we chase are in a state of constant change, and since they are constantly changing, the happiness that we obtain from these things is also constantly fluctuating.
If you analyze your goals and desires on a yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily basis, you can easily see how the things that we believe will make us happy ALWAYS leave us yearning for newer, bigger, and better things. Since the money, relationships, and material toys that we have chased much of our lives won’t give us what we truly desire, we must take the time to search out other avenues to reach the states of fulfillment that we truly crave.
Uncover Your Deepest Desires:
To find true and lasting happiness, we must stop searching outside of ourselves and start searching within. At the deepest levels of our beings, what we truly want is to find complete acceptance of ourselves, others, and the world. We want to find contentment with our situations. We want to stop the tireless pursuit of external objects that only bring us temporary pleasures. We want to give ourselves the unconditional love that we deserve.
The ancient spiritual traditions of India have known this for centuries and have given the world the knowledge that they need to find true fulfillment. Yet in the Western world, advertisements, a collective mindset of competition, and falsely instilled societal beliefs stop us from pursuing this path, which will actually give us what we truly want.
If you are ready to begin your journey to finding true and lasting happiness, you must start searching within yourself and begin analyzing the nature of the things you desire at the surface level. You must start learning about yourself, about your decision-making criteria, and about the societal influences that have shaped you into the person you are today.
If you are ready to take the first step along the spiritual path, the time is now to start determining what will bring you closer to your deepest-held desires. To start this process, the most important things you can do is to begin a regular meditation practice, deepen your understanding of reality, uncover your deepest desires, and act in ways that will bring you what you truly want.