Everybody has a dream even if they say they don’t. Sometimes they think it’s just out of reach and prefer to keep it secret. They hold a vision of whatever it is in their head, though, and when they feel confident enough, they take baby steps in the right direction.
Some want to be rich, powerful, and successful. Others have smaller goals. They might long to date someone they know, but judge to be above them. Or they might wish they were smarter, thinner, or possess another attribute they haven’t got, or hope to improve one they own.
It all comes down to craving material, or non-material elements that add value to life. Yet, you may have been told, or got the message from self-help books, that craving’s a heinous quality you should give up in favor of contentment.
Why you need to crave
Contentment isn’t negative, it’s a wonderful thing. Only problem is, all the personal growth and improvement happens while you’re a seeker. When you really want something, you strive to improve. You search your soul, your brain, and your body to find how to make them function optimally.
Rather than milling along, satisfied with life, you do what you’re built to do. You reach up to the light like a plant in a darkened room. All it takes is a chink of sunshine — a little hope — and you will extend your boundaries, pushing further ahead than you imagined was possible.
Why Craving isn’t the bad guy
For a long time, I believed craving was undesirable; the equivalent of running into a brick wall continually. I learned from spiritual studies that longing causes suffering. And the gurus and masters I listened to were right. The problem, though, with ditching craving and opting for constant satisfaction, is you stop growing.
If you’re satisfied in the dark, why reach up to the light? Why extend your branches and become more than you are right now? Of course, what you are now is good enough. But that’s not the point. Maybe you could be more.
If Buddha didn’t have the craving to ease people’s suffering, he might have just sat under his tree and kept quiet about what he learned while there. People would have seen him and said “there’s that guy who does nothing” and they wouldn’t have known any better.
Mother Teresa had a craving to help people too. If she didn’t want to serve others, she would probably have blended into the background. She’d have woken in the morning, gone to an average job, come home, cooked dinner, done the chores, and gone to bed. Day in and day out. And the examples could go on.
I’ve learned it’s not only okay to want things, but it’s healthy. We are built to strive. We aren’t designed to stay as we are at present. If we did, nothing would change. Nothing would improve. No advances would be made in medicine or technology.
We would still live in caves bashing rocks together to create a spark if we hadn’t tried to grow. Hang on. No we wouldn’t. Only someone who had the urge — craving — to progress would have recognized potential in their first sighting of a flash of light when two rocks met under friction. The desire to grow teamed with curiosity led to improvement.
Want what you want intensely
It’s all right to crave and grasp now and then — do it all day long for years, though, and you’ll get tired. Aim for the stars if you want them, just put your goal down occasionally and take a break. Sit under a tree like Buddha and let your ideas soak in your psyche. Or go on vacation and relax.
Afterward, though, allow your dreams to fill your heart and propel you to transform into the person you could, no, can be rather than settling for a second-rate version of you.