“As soon as you stop wanting something, you get it.” ― Andy Warhol
I want to introduce you to an idea that may change your perception of life. Before we begin, think about something you’ve been striving for. It may be a new career, improving your financial situation, being in a committed relationship, or something else. Close your eyes and think about your desire before you continue reading. If you haven’t manifested it, what do you think is the primary reason? Similarly, why do you want it? What will it bring to your life? The more we want something, the less it becomes apparent in our life. This is because of the energy devoted to what is missing or lacking.
When we focus on what we don’t have, we create an energy of lack, which moves the very thing away from us. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t have desires, but stop chasing after what we want. It requires changing our focus, because the more we pursue something, the more we reinforce our lack of it. When we want something, we tend to focus on it a lot and create an emotional energy of its absence at the same time. Therefore, we need to invoke the power of imagination and create the feeling of having it so it feels real. The key to getting what we want lies in the art of detachment, which means separating ourselves from our desires. So irrespective of whether it manifests, we will be happy. I realize it is not the advice you want to hear because you want to know how to attain your desires in the shortest amount of time.
But with all due respect, most people don’t know what they want. They think they know, and when it materializes, it doesn’t offer the fulfilment they expected. The source of our happiness is not contingent on having our needs fulfilled outside of us. Nothing can make you happy to the degree you can’t be happy without it. I’ve written many articles and books over the years that happiness is an inside-out job. It requires changing the beliefs we have about happiness and aligning with our true nature.
To use a simple analogy, consider murky water stirred with a stick. The water becomes dense and hazy, and it’s impossible to see the bottom. But if we stop agitating the water and allow it to settle, the sediment subsides and we can see the bottom once more. The point worth emphasizing is that attaining happiness is the same. Our minds are constantly agitated, and it becomes impossible to recognize happiness. We need to move our attention to the pure stillness within, to notice the true source of our happiness. Is this something you’re willing to give your attention to? Could you contemplate the idea that what you believe happiness to be may not be entirely true? I’m asking you to keep an open mind and consider an alternative view.
It’s worth repeating: most people don’t really know what they want. Mostly, it emanates out of a desire or a longing because we believe it will make us happy, and yes, maybe for a short time. But what happens when the joy wears off? Naturally, we go looking for the next thing to make us happy. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, without ever stopping to consider our motives. I’m inviting you to re-engineer the process and start at the source. Start within and try to understand why you want what you want. What will it give you once you have it? Who will you be once you’ve attained it? Will you be happier? If so, what then?
The key to our happiness lies in accepting WHAT IS. When we can accept what we have and who we are, we diminish our suffering. Again, this is not a new idea. In Buddhism, desires are considered the root of all suffering, and when those desires go unfulfilled, we suffer even more. It requires moving into a state of gratitude for what we have. When we stop trying to be happy, we will be happy. It is the wanting, needing, and desire for something we don’t have, which creates suffering. Are you with me so far? Is it making sense that your suffering originates from a longing for something you don’t have?
So, how do we navigate this idea to find contentment and happiness in our lives? It involves accepting our needs but not being tied to when and how they will come into our lives. For example, have you ever wanted something but eventually grew tired of waiting, so you gave up? Naturally, as time went on, you forgot about it and then suddenly it manifested? It happened to me many times throughout my life. This is the art of detachment working in the backdrop of our lives. We must stop trying to get it and allow it to flow into our existence when the time is right. Therefore, your practice from now on is to use your imagination and journaling to get clear on what you want. Try to understand why you want it and what it will bring to your life. If you’re unsure, answer the questions in the opening paragraph to see if your desire will make you happy.
Focus on the emotions of having the thing you desire to the degree it should feel you already have it. How will you know? If you focus enough mental energy and evoke the emotions of gratitude, love, peace, and joy, you have aligned with your desires. There is nothing more to do because the emotional charge and visualizations are evidence it will manifest in due course. After that, drop it from your mind. Stop looking for signs whether it will show up. Get on with your life and don’t get caught up in the negative emotions that it won’t happen. When those thoughts emerge, thank your mind and redirect your attention back to your desires. Focus on the positive emotions of having your desire fulfilled, not the lack of it. It is the constant focus on not having your desire which pushes it away. After all, it is when we get to a place of nonattachment that the very thing we want will flow into our existence at exactly the right time.