I’m sick right now. I’ve had a low-grade fever for the past few days. I’m not thinking clearly in my fevered state and find myself reaching for everything to feel better. Not only medicinally I mean. I want to eat everything in my fridge, I want to watch all the movies, I want to sleep all day. I want to do everything all at once. And hi, being sick means I’m not satisfied with any of it. I’m a lock searching for a key yet to be found.

It has me thinking about the principles of my spiritual practice. My teacher says mundane pleasures give human beings temporary satisfaction and relief but nothing of a permanent nature. I’m there! I’m acutely aware of that state because I am dissatisfied with everything. I don’t know what I need or what I want other than the general “to feel better.” I eat something and momentarily I feel better, but then I feel worse. I don’t mention all this for pity but rather to express being sick has put me in touch with the pain of being human. When I’m well, the pain and pleasure cycles last longer. When I’m sick, they’re shortened, demonstrating to me how much I desire permanent pleasure.

I want to eat all the cookies! Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

My spiritual teacher says only by turning toward something infinite and unwavering will we feel permanent pleasure. Communing with a power greater than ourselves is what brings that permanent happiness. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that at the moment I don’t feel spiritually connected. I don’t feel the love of a higher power. I don’t feel in the flow of life. My meditation sucks at the moment because I can’t hold a thought for more than a second or two. It’s taken me twice as long to write this post as normal.

You might be asking yourself, “Why is she even writing this?” I’m writing this as a reminder to me that getting caught in the pain/pleasure cycle sucks. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that as much as I want to eat cookies, they’re not ultimately going to make me feel better. I need rest and medicine at the moment, but even when I’m not sick, I’m more satisfied, more content when I’m not chasing one thing or another. I’m more content when I turn inward during meditation and when I turn outward to serve others. Happiness cannot be found at the bottom of a bag or a box anymore than it can be found at the bottom of a bottle.

I often forget where true happiness lies even when I’m not sick because I think it can be found through a career highlight or a romantic relationship. Those things absolutely contribute to happiness but not of a lasting nature. Lasting happiness comes from communion with a higher power and serving others. The more I remember that, the better.

I dream of a world where we recognize what will make us truly happy. A world where we understand material things only contribute to our happiness in a fleeting way. A world where we turn inward to meditate on the divine and turn outward to serve others.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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