All suffering, it seems to me, stems from one of two thoughts, both of which I have toiled under at one point or another in my work. The first thought is, “I don’t know what I want.” Staring at the blank page of your day or your story or your life, you feel not the satisfying hum of a desire seeking its form, but the carcass of an idea. We follow many ideas that for one reason or another are stillborn within the womb of our imagination. This is a part of the experiment of life. Our pain comes when we mistake this single dead idea for our complete creative potential. Simply thinking the thought, “I don’t know what I want,” – not with a story or a moment, but at all – cuts you off immediately from everything that will ever bring you pleasure. Just like your characters, you must always want something; it is as natural to you as breathing. That you are not hearing that desire is a measure of the noise of your mind, not the curiosity of your soul.
Which brings us to the second thought, “I know what I want, but I am incapable of having it.” This is the song of the Broken You. I want love, but I am unlovable; I want to publish, but my work is unpublishable. By some cosmic toss of the die, you came up short. There’s nothing to be done. You needed to be just a little bit better.
Your desires are always simpatico with your abilities. Always. In fact, your abilities arise specifically and only to meet those desires. That you may need to acquire a few skills is irrelevant; humans are skill-acquiring machines. The delay between the desire and its fruition has everything to do with the quality of one’s attention. It is as if we have a kind of psychic bank account. Every time we think, “I can,” we put money in; and every time we think, “I can’t,” we take money out.
It is important to remember that just as it hurts to bend your finger backwards, so too will it hurt to think you cannot have what you want, or that there is nothing that you want. These thoughts run in complete contradiction to your nature. You were born wanting that next thing; your birth was your first expression of it here on earth. Go only toward; that is the direction of life.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com