Why desire less?
The ego wants, it wants more, more energy, more life and it will disguise it's desires in the cloak of your emotions. It has no limits, it is fundamentally a four-year-old with never-ending bowl of ice cream who will eat until it is sick or reduced to a sugar induced coma, because it is a simple form of life who can only recognise more as being better. It is up to you and your adult voice, that is able to recognise long-term consequences, to stand up against the child within you.
And the world doesn't help you, the culture we find ourselves within, actively encourages excess, it only recognises that more is better. There are no limits on the number of likes and heart-shaped icons we can collect, there is only unfettered growth of material wealth without any acknowledgement of the diminishing returns that can be achieved before we drown in our own success. Adverts unashamedly encourages our young ego in its desires, it conveys the message that everyone else has more and only those who have everything are truly happy, it plays into our fears that we are missing out and that we are less if we do not have more. There is not any money in telling us to buy less.
This article is not an attempt to promote the idea of limiting ourselves to a bag of forty items, this is his own form of wanting more, a cult of personality that idealises the simple life as a superior state that pities desire. Instead there is a different path, where we do not measure piety in an inverse relationship to material wealth, it is where we make decisions for ourselves and the active choice as to what actually brings value into our lives. The idea of a limit, an arbitrary number of items we are allowed to own, kicks against our fundamental nature as growing beings of consciousness, that is a desire that seems truly unlimited at least in our current experience of being and should be celebrated as the mountain that has no peak and that reaches up into heaven. However when it comes to material things, they do tend to be stick around, once you own something, you keep it, instead of asking is it still giving me value. So much of our stuff is a habit, we get use to it being around even when it stops giving us value, so keep checking whether the things you own still give you value, as space has it's own value, which you can give up by mistake, if you do not keep on asking the question. If you stop choosing what you own, it will start owning you.
In contrast other earthly pleasures have such obvious limitations that it is astounding that the lie, that more is better, still has such a pull on our desires, which can only be explained by our inability to connect our actions today to the consequences of tomorrow. We all know that overeating and a lack of movement leads to secondary effects that impact our health, however changing ourselves into healthy and happy people seems so difficult, until we understand that it is a choice that we actively have to make. You have to decide that you want to be healthy and happy more than you desire the last piece of cake, you have to actively build a model in your mind of the future version of yourself, so that you are clear on the actions that person would take and then make the choice to act as that person now, you have to be that person before you can act like a person who makes better choices. Your desire has to be channelled into being that future version of yourself in the present moment.
That is why it is so necessary to challenge the absurdity of your current actions, your current desires and how they are so unlimited and boundless. You have to build a long term model of what the consequences of a limited desire for material things, the space it gives you to grow and develop as a person and then use it as your contrast that highlights the advantages of being the better version of yourself. If you give the mind the simple contrast, the simple choice between two different states, it cannot help but choose the better version.
Take the most extreme examples you can imagine, the most ego driven desire that someone could possess, whose greed actively denies the full happiness of others. It is the fantasy of some to have a harem of forty wives or husbands, the reward of 40 virgins or the western version of a string of boyfriends, it is the ultimate more is better delusion. Putting aside, the realities of such an arrangement in terms of human petty politics, its inherent instability and tendency towards self-destruction, as witnessed by the bitter infighting of Chinese dynasty's. Focus instead on the inherent greed that is involved in such a situation, the greed of wanting the attentions of forty people being focused on just yourself, it does not recognise or care about the individual desires of others, they are simply servants of one individual's ego. And to take it even further and ask if it's even serving, the mistress in the middle of the mess, by definition your attention must be divided between all of your harem, so that even if you were the most caring version of a mistress, you would at best only be able to invest certain small part of your interest in any individual, and by definition it could only be the most shallow type of relationship.
And while you might not want to feel sorry for such a person, you would have to recognise that in their greed for more, they were losing out on what is possibly the greatest and most satisfying aspect of life. A single and incredibly deep relationship with one person, and there is no limit on that depth except the amount of consistent time and effort that you put into it, because any relationship is ultimately about who you are, that is it's underlying purpose to help you find out the answer to that question. As there is no other arena in life where we truly find out who we are by the actions we take within such a relationship.
When I reflect on such a clear contrast between a model where I want everything, and a model of my life where I desire less, where I grow as a being of consciousness, where I have the love of just one woman, enough clothes for one man, enough space to feel abundant, enough books to read for the rest of my life and enough food to feed us. The choice to me is crystal clear and indisputable, I want less, so that I can have more.