If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride

bareback-riding horses-1.jpgThat’s what my mother used to say to us kids when we told her how much we wanted something. Later, as adults, she would ask us and the many who came to her for advice, “What do you really want?” Her deeply inquiring tone left no room for stock answers.

So how can we get what we really want? Well, we’d first have to figure out what we really desire above all else, which is already a pretty big achievement. Then we’d have to jump off our Wishing Horse and think about how much we’re prepared to pay for it.

Along with payment, the first word that jumps into my mind is Practice. Now, there’s a really active word. It’s where the rubber meets the road, as my advertising friends used to say. Because isn’t the Big Question always how to get moving once I’ve signed up for something? As Newton’s first law states, an object at rest will stay at rest as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it. So here I am, with my stated wish, and an intention to practice daily, along with—no surprise!—a resistance to the requirement of pushing myself up and out to do what I signed up for.

But let’s not give up hope, because, after discouraging us with his First Law, Newton adds that an object in motion will stay in motion, traveling in a straight line, until something pushes or pulls on it. In other words, if I can only get Me-the-Ball rolling, momentum will help me move forward. Then maybe I can get on with my practice.

Another approach would be to replace the question “What do I want?” with “What do I need most?” Because NEED is the key to opening the energy spigot that wanting doesn’t always turn on. In my case, the wish revolved around Spiritual Practice. That suggests thoughtful silence, the stillness when sitting on our cushion, or a prayerful activity like Tai Chi, Qigong, or Yoga. All of which can call forth finer vibrations in us.

So let’s look closer at the process: The wish is already there or I wouldn’t have signed myself up, but at the moment of resistance I need to step into the reality of my situation and realize with head and heart that I both want and don’t want. Oops! But it’s true, and a recognition that’s key to the resistance. Once I admit it, I begin to accept that I am divided. I can ask again, what do I really NEED?

In my opinion, need is the secret propellant, the indispensable jet fuel that can power me into action. I NEED. In fact, I often desperately need, divided though I am, to turn my attention toward the inner summons that’s calling me home to myself. And once engaged in meaningful, needful attention, the engine revs up, the jet fuel kicks in, and I’m on my way.

If any of you have other good ideas, please share them here below!

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