I was watching a landscaper cutting grass the other day. He had head phones on, and, based on his rhythmic motions, was thoroughly enjoying his music while he navigated the large mower. For all I know he could have just won the lottery. But the point, he was happy with very little.
We spend a lot of time filling our lives with more luxurious cars, homes, jewelry, clothes. We struggle for better jobs, and more money. We want to be successful. We want to be happy. We want to own the giant home and have the money to hire the happy landscaper. And so we seek.
This seeking, this drive for a better life, is good. It’s natural. And there is nothing wrong with money and success. It’s just we spend so much time trying to develop a sense of self, a sense of purpose, and a semblance of power from it all. It comes to define us. It can take us over, really.
What if we spent time removing the desires? Buddha would agree. So would Jesus.
Rather than trying to gain in an effort to feel better, what if we spent time trying to remove? What if we focused on removing vice, envy, jealously, scorn, anger, resentment, greed, contempt, lust, and all the other toxins that fill our habitual thoughts? What would happen? What if we, like Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God?” In God’s reality, we would start thinking differently.
It might look something like this. Our competitiveness might become powerful creativity and cooperation. Our envy might turn to inner joy for someone else’s success. Our anger might turn to passion. Lust might become respect and honor. Greed might turn to generosity. New friendships and ideas might come to life.
Filled with these thoughts, we’d be energized, renewed, and have a clearer picture of God’s purpose in our lives. We would, in short, find what we’ve always wanted.
This isn’t philosophy. And it isn’t religion. It’s a sketch of God’s kingdom available to all. From here, the world opens up in ways we never thought possible – that we never could have dreamed.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson