Getting what we want and having our way take us straight to the heart of the Wasteland. Everybody knows what they want: Their Way! And everybody thinks it is all someone else's fault that things never work out for them. Things never work out because they want the wrong things, and try to acquire them in the wrong ways. Things take an immediate turn toward better when we want the right things and work toward them in the right ways. The surest way to get what you want is to change what you want. But--nobody wants to change what they want. Everybody has to get to the end of their rope before they will change their minds about what they want. Why wait? Other than because we are slow on the uptake and hard-headed as well. What's the solution? Intervention sometimes works. AA talks of "Raising the bottom," and giving an alcoholic an inescapable dose of reality, in hopes of bringing truth to the rescue. If that doesn't work, there is no way quicker to realization, illumination, enlightenment, and awakening, than allowing our life to play itself out and bring us to the point of no place left to turn. There, the choice between life and death. Life is on the basis of something other than "I know what I'm doing and I want what I want!" Death is generally the last wanted thing. We could make it easier on ourselves by seeing the emptiness of our wants and desires from the start. That is no more difficult that looking with eyes that see. But it is amazing how difficult that is.
It is all grist for the mill. What are we milling is the question. How consciously are we milling it is the other question. How much do we interfere with the milling process is the third question. Answer those questions correctly, and we have it made. If we are milling maturity and compassion, kindness, generosity, goodness and grace, we will have an outcome different than the one we will have if we are milling self-advancement, animosity, resentment, revenge, anger, hatred, rutlessness and greed. What we are milling depends upon how we look at what we see. And that depends upon how we evaluate what we look at. Interpretation is everything. We translate all that happens to us in ways that are meaningful to us. Our place is to evaluate the value/worth of what is meaningful. How well we do that tells the tale. In light of what do we evaluate the value of what is valuable? What is our primary value around which everything else coalesces? How free are we to call that value into question? To probe, inquire, examine, investigate, evaluate, authenticate or reject the value at the heart of our life? How good is the good we call good? Who is to say? Who is in charge of saying what is worth our time on the earth? Ask around. See what people have to say in the matter. Find out how they know that the value around which their life revolves is worth anything at all.
Jesus and the Buddha agreed on the most important things. They said, "You people care too much about the wrong things!" And, "You people don't have a clue about what is important!" And, "You people care about things that don't matter at all!" And, "You people have to wake up, see what is important and care about that-- with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength!" And the people crucified Jesus and assassinated the Buddha by poisoning his pork. And, if they didn't, both Jesus and the Buddha made enough enemies among "the people" for it to be a possibility, no matter how remote. You make enemies by telling people they shouldn't care about what they care about, and should care about something else instead. But that remains, to this day, the only thing wrong with people and the way the world works. Everybody cares about the wrong things. Get everybody caring about the right things, and the world is transformed overnight. Start with yourself. Examine carefully the things you care about. Decide for yourself which ones are not important. Stop caring about them. Do this exercise once a week, say on Saturday or Sunday, for the rest of your life. That day will be unto you as a Holy Day, a day of reckoning about what is important and what is not-- a day of remorse and repentance, a day of atonement and redemption, a day of reorientation and re-dedication away from what doesn't matter, and toward what does matter most of all.