The Ebb and Flow Feelings come and go BY: Troy Murphy | April 2012
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We want more. We feel sorrow when we perceive lack; but we always can achieve, possess, or control more. Are condemned to sorrow? Obtaining more isn’t evil. We should engage in the work of achieving more. The human drive for more provides the energy for new discoveries. Through this drive, humans developed sophisticated systems of beliefs, government, transportation, and security. We enjoy comforts unparalleled in world history. But with the great achievements (larger houses, fantastic gadgets, and faster transportation), the anxiety of deprivation has not declined. We still don’t have enough. Inventions haven’t stopped. iPhone will have better versions, cars will provide more luxuries, and entertainment will continue to thrill. We still have much more to achieve. Are we at the pinnacle of achievement? Mental illness, destructive relationships, racism, war, environmental decay and crime continue to plague the earth. Is life better today than a hundred years ago? In many ways, “Yes,” but in other aspects maybe not. We are still grappling for more.
The nagging feeling of lack interrupts enjoying the pleasures of the present. We are blessed with the genetic gift of dissatisfaction—an inherent part of humanity. If I have one hundred dollars, I want a thousand. If I have a thousand, I want a million. Perhaps feeling satisfied is uncomfortable. Deep in our cellular construction, we need more regardless of what we currently have. We must create space for these pesky feelings of dissatisfaction, realizing their existence, but thoughtfully understanding their limitations. Finding peace requires effort; purposely seeking gratitude. We view satisfaction wrong; perhaps satisfaction is more like waves of the ocean than a plateau; an ebb and flow.
Many brag about obtaining enlightenment, satisfaction and peace. Without a moment given to enjoying of this discovered paradise, they proceed to market their discovery. I’m certain many of these guides are sincere; but most, after I spend time interacting with them, are simply hoping to achieve material success from their enlightenment. And the material success, they hope will bring satisfaction. So they preach the path to a perfect life, hoping their success will satisfy their own sense of lack. “Follow me,” they call. I’m skeptical. False prophets, greedy entrepreneurs and optimistic dreamers prey upon the mass of humanities unrelenting drive for more. As long as humans have the drive, others will try to capitalize on the drive to satisfy their own want for more. They promise a fail-proof plan—sounds great but doesn’t exist.
Throughout human history, societies adopted different versions of paradise. Ambitious politicians paint glorious futures, drawing crowds to their support. Supporters blindly accept unproven promises of relief. With a promise of a better life and a greater country, we cast our support hoping for better. “Vote for me, life will be better,” they promise. I am usually skeptical of empty promises given to garner support. Political promises usually designed to attract votes more than improve lives.
Biological drives pass down through generations for a reason. They serve a beneficial purpose. Driven for more, we develop spiritually, physically and intellectually. We become more competitive then quietly settling. We are more viable with increasing resources to manage a complex world. Feeling inadequacy can motivate creative solutions.
The ebb and flow of satisfaction prevents prolonged resting after achievement; the thirst for more is only temporarily satisfied. We want more money, status, power, security and peace. Successes require more doing. Doing involves active preparation. The doing phase is essential, stepping into uncertainty and venturing into uncharted territories; this requires risk of precious resources of time and money. Over time, gather wisdom from successes and failures, we discern with greater accuracy, skillfully evaluating opportunities before dangers engagement.
We benefit from growth—better relationships, more self-esteem, increased compassion and security. We should pursue growth. Refining skills of living, multiply our future opportunities. But personal growth, doesn’t promise perpetual satisfaction; the biological urge to obtain more continues to prod and push and desire; underneath the rich and complex emotional system continues to influence our behaviors. We can adjust some of the emotional settings to experience more peace—but not completely eliminate emotion. We must accept living on the basis of our biological inheritance. If we don’t, we will constantly fight against the unmovable walls of existence. By realistically accepting the parameters of existence, we more comfortably move with the flow of life, balancing our emotions and behaviors to experience more joy. ~Troy Murphy Flourishing Life Society
When we fail to notice feelings, personal growth is sluggish. We emotions connected us to the world. Feeling experience is essential for growth. Take that mask off; mindfully observe the simmering emotions. We discover the richness of life through the fabulous emotions.