ON VACATION MANY YEARS AGO, I was reading
the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's holy books.
It is basically a conversation between Arjuna, a charioteer,
and a spirit. The spirit is urging Arjuna to let go of his attachment
to the outcome of the upcoming battle. And all throughout the
book, there is a continuous urge to let go of your desires, to
give up desiring.
Crazy idea, I know. But I was on vacation,
and I thought of something I'd like to try, so I tried it. I
did a kind of meditation that lasted for several HOURS. I normally
fidget a lot and have a hard time sitting still for long periods,
but without any goal to sit still for so long, I was quite content
to stay sitting there for hours. And all I did the whole time
was to notice when I had a desire, and then decide to let that
I realized that desires are something I
don't really have control over. They come up on their own. Just
sitting there, one desire after another would pop up. I wanted
to move my position. I wanted the pain in my leg to go away.
I wanted to get up and have something to eat. I wanted to get
rich. I wanted people to like me. I wanted things to go well
at work. I wanted I wanted I wanted. One after another these
desires came forth and presented themselves. That part I had
no control over.
But I did have some control after
that point. I can decide on a desire or not. I may have the desire
to have a beer, but then I can decide, "nah, I don't really
want one, now that I think about it."
In other words, I don't really control
whether or not a desire comes up. But I do control whether I
hang onto that desire or let it go.
So that's all I did for several hours.
I payed attention to when a desire came up, which was several
per minute, and then decided to let the desire go. I simply decided
No, I don't really want that now.
That was one of the most deeply peaceful
experiences I have ever had in my life. I achieved a kind of
bliss I didn't think was possible without heavy medication. I
was totally peaceful. I was completely at ease. I had found bliss
Now of course, most of my life is oriented
toward goals, and that's the way it is. I don't want to simply
sit and live in peace without doing anything worthwhile. But
I know that any time I want to decend into the well of deep peace
and quench my thirst, I have a way.