Reading by Liz Helgesen (Download file)
Most of us do not have to worry about where we will get our next meal, or if we will have a place to sleep tonight. Most of us are not in imminent danger, and neither are our families. We find ourselves in a precious lifetime where we can set aside our mental habits and strategies of protection and reflect on what is present when the mind is not busy being protective. [...]
Obviously everyone, even the most privileged, experiences some degree of suffering. But if you look out over the planet, you will see billions of human beings who are undergoing enormous suffering and who are almost totally bound by it. In contrast, the privilege of our lives is that we have the time, space and opportunity to question the most basic assumptions of human life. We are free to examine our lives and to ask the deepest questions: What is this life about? What is it being used for? How is my time spent? Where is my attention? Is my life meaningful? Am I happy? [...]
What do you really want? I invite you to take the time right now to answer this question. Ask yourself repeatedly and directly,What do I really want? Let the answers flow freely, rising up effortlessly from the unconscious without censorship. There are no right answers. Consider these questions a game, a game that can expose whatever beliefs and concepts are still buried in your subconscious.
As you inquire within, let whatever sensations, emotions, and insights that arise wash through you. If you have discovered that what you finally want is peace, happiness, love, or enlightenment, now is the opportunity to see where you have been searching for them. You can investigate even further by asking: Where have I looked for what I want? What activities have I pursued to get what I want? Where do I imagine I will finally find it? What do I imagine obstructs me from it right now? [...]
In this moment, be willing to tell the truth, which may at first be the relative, most apparent truth. For instance, your truth in this moment may be what you believe is necessary for your happiness. If your loved one is ill, you may be certain that you want only for him or her to get well, and then you could experience happiness. This relative truth can open the way to telling a deeper truth that reveals the paradoxical, causeless nature of true happiness, present now, whatever the circumstances. Tell the truth fully, whatever the cost, whatever the risk, whatever the consequences.
-- Gangaji from "The Diamond In Your Pocket"