An Exchange

A big thought while listening to a teaching from Pema Chödrön: saying “I don’t want to be how I currently am,” is the surest way to remain exactly how you are.”

A simply question: Why?

I don’t have the capability to answer why, so instead I will take a swing at how, how it works. And let me start off by saying that none of what I spell out here is new. I have aped it all from countless book and lectures. If I researched or remembered better I could cite and point you towards them. Alas.

We embrace the model of cause and effect, of stimulus and response. Someone cut me off in traffic and so I get angry. But impulse exists before object. Shame, joy, jealousy, lust; like a kitchen filled with gas they exist in you waiting for a spark. But the spark didn’t burn down the house any more than the toy on the stairs ignited your frustration. It was the fuel. You walk around clogged with potential. The object simply clicks and sets it off.

One of these impulses exists as want, which we rarely classify as an emotion, and less often see as sin. Not sin in the sense of forbidden by God or prescribed in text, but sin in the sense that it acts as a roadblock to our success. Want, desire, craving, hunger; it’s all shackles. And we hope the next object, food or cash or a person will quell it. But again, we walk around brimming with unstable elements. Want persists.

Yet, we can break down these compounds with brain-grammar. The phrase “I want” could be rewritten as “I am wanting” or “I have want” or “I want my wanting.” And the opposite of wanting is having. Why don’t you want two arms, or room temperature oxygen, or skin to keep your blood in? Because you have these things intrinsically. Wanting them makes no sense.

And so, knowing, you now have a choice. You can keep your wanting, let it swell you to overflowing, and enjoy your dissatisfaction daily, or you can let it go. You can open a window, vent the fumes, and simply let it drift away. Nature, disliking vacuums, will replace that gas with what matters, with everything. Back to our mental grammar. I am now… what? What are you? You wanted to change. So now you are change. You wanted love. So now you love. You wanted your body to be a certain way. Your body is, in a way.

This is not simply mumbo jumbo. It is turning your inner vocabulary, your mind inside out, flipping your awareness and your consciousness, eliminating that which prevents you from being. Instead you will now get what you are. You will see what exists. And this, “this”, all of of this, will become your gift. As Mary Howe’s brother taught her, “This is what you have been waiting for.”



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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