There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
Religions stress the impermanence and emptiness of desire in contrast to the abundance of love and joy that awaits us in the divine.
Echoing the Buddhist Four Noble Truths we are told that life is dissatisfying, and lasting satisfaction proves elusive.
But at the same time we still live in this world. And even enlightened or holy men and women do not rush to end their lives to be closer to God.
Life has a purpose. But how could any purpose be higher than the ultimate goal that awaits us after death?
What value does this dissatisfying life hold? How are we supposed to engage with something intrinsically dissatisfying?
In fact it’s not a flaw in existence that our desires are never lastingly satisfied in this lifetime, because if they were lastingly satisfied we would cease to grow, develop, and expand.
The whole of creation is unnecessary, strictly speaking, but we are told that God went ahead and created everything anyway, because He is not a God of necessities.
Like a writer can’t help but write, it tells us something of the nature of the divine that it outpoured itself into the manifold forms of existence.
An abundance of life and matter and elements and being and movement and energy, coalescing and evolving and coming apart and expanding and growing and changing.
Creation is alive, and the creator is alive too.
What feels to us like dissatisfaction in life is only so when we look for things that complete, finish, or conclude life, even though we ourselves and everything else continues to grow and change and expand.
Dissatisfaction is like getting upset when my smartphone can’t run the latest apps.
But would we be happier if people stopped making new apps instead? Would we be satisfied if we got to iPhone X and said “okay, that’s enough now”?
Why stop there? Weren’t the old Nokia 3310s good enough in their day?
If we want to start complaining about new technology we can go back at least as far as Socrates warning that reading and writing would lead to forgetfulness and false presumption of knowledge.
Satisfied and eager for more
A much better place to be is in a state of appreciation for the things we have, and eagerness for what is coming.
My current smartphone is amazing and I feel good just imagining all the future forms that this technology will take.
I know full well that this particular smartphone, or any piece of technology, will not bring lasting satisfaction.
There will always be more. And as more comes, it too will not be the end point.
Because satisfaction does not come from things it comes from us. And it is out of our excitement and passion and wonder and inspiration that new things are dreamt into being.
Life is dissatisfying when we keep looking for things to satisfy us. But life is satisfying when we embrace the excitement and eagerness of the growth and expansion and change that we are a part of merely by being alive.
It’s not just about new technology, it’s about everything. We are all continually evaluating and refining what we want out of life. No sooner do we arrive somewhere but we begin to work out where we would really like to be.
The idea of “satisfied with what is and eager for more” comes from the Abraham Hicks material. So does the observation that we can either work with this process of refining and embracing what we want, or we can fight it by fixating on what we don’t want.
The latter is precisely what keeps us stuck in feelings of dissatisfaction and worse.
Eagerness and enthusiasm are so much more enjoyable! There is so much to be gained in embracing the positive and turning towards the wanted aspects of life.
And most importantly, doing so makes sense of the otherwise confusing disparity between the love and joy of our creator and the apparent flaws and faults of the world.