To wish or not to wish

An old wisdom (Maybe Buddhist? I don’t know. I forget so much.) says that the key to happiness is not wanting anything.

I get it, on some levels. Always craving for more, never being satisfied – you cannot be happy that way. Wishing for something can end in disappointment, either when you get what you want and it is not what you thought it would be or the joy of fulfilment wears out too soon, either when your wish never comes true. I’m not sure it really matters if what we wish for are material things or not. The mechanism is the same: we wish, we get, we forget. Or we wish, we don’t get, we get sad. Or we wish, we get and we regret. Or… there is always a chance we get and it is it. At least, I want to believe there is, that chance.

However, I still don’t know how not to wish. And I am quite experienced at trying, if I may say so myself. I’m learning over and over again not to expect. I know expectations lead to disappointments. I know, I understand that most of the wishes come from influences of our society. We are a society of consumption on so many levels. Consumption of food, of goods, lifestyle, relationships… we are (sometimes very subtly, sometimes not subtly at all) taught to always want more. Realizing this is the first step to learn how to control those “cravings”. I do not need much. When I want something, I know that even if I don’t get it, it is ok.

But… there is a different kind of want. Wish. Need. Is it not? The kind that, even if I cannot categorize it, is quite distinct. The kind that you burrow deep, cover it, hide it, deny it, try to ignore it… and still it is beating deep in your heart. Retreating, but never going away. Fading, never vanishing.

I know. I’ve tried. I’m still trying. But the more I try, the more it feels like I’m denying not only my wish, but myself. My core. My soul.

Maybe it is not that simple with wishes. Maybe some are not simply wishes, but parts of us. I just wish… I wish I’d know how to tell my heart not to wish. I wish I would spare myself the hurt.

Well, maybe pain is the price for wish and not wanting anything is the way to happiness. But why does it then feel like I’m only depriving myself of being what I am, the longing being part of that?

Alenka H., 2021

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