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Question: I’m relatively new to meditation and am still finding my feet. I deeply want to discover my true spiritual self, yet I have so many material desires that I want fulfilled as soon as possible. I’m looking for miracles that I trust will happen.
My concern is that I don’t want to lose the real purpose of my spiritual quest while playing the tempting game of material acquisition. I know desires are never ending and I’m only human. I don’t want to find myself lying on my death bed and wondering why I wasted my “powers” chasing things that I had to leave behind.
How can I have the courage to look beyond creating abundance after a certain level?
Deepak responds: Congratulations on starting your meditation practice. This will naturally cultivate your mind and desires to become more aligned with your highest spiritual purpose.
You don’t have to try to only have non-material, universal desires in order to be spiritual. Too often, we fall back on archaic, misguided notions of spirituality that tell us that spirituality must come through a rejection of the world and the body. In that view, wealth and sex are considered unspiritual, while spiritual ideals are associated with vows of poverty and celibacy.
Spirituality must include the wholeness of life, the inner and outer, the sacred and the profane. So instead of fighting against the mind’s tendency to generate desires, which is impossible anyway, it makes more sense to use that irrepressible force of life within us to carry us forward to our highest spiritual aspirations.
The desires that arise within us are part of that evolutionary force of universe that impels all creation forward toward its ultimate fulfillment. Maybe your desires don’t feel very cosmic and altruistic right now, but instead of trying to squash your natural impulses and try to manufacture spiritual desires in their place, just let yourself easily move toward the attainment of your desires as they are right now.
As you continue with your meditation practice, you will find that the next desires that pop up in your mind will be more inclusive of the needs of others. You will also find that you can want something, but not feel desperate for it and not mind when circumstances change to bring you a different outcome from your original wish, because you can now trust that the new result serves your highest purpose more perfectly.
This is how you can relax in the knowledge that the natural flow of your desires in conjunction with your meditation practice will inexorably lead you to the highest state of spirituality.
Deepak Chopra, M.D is the author of more than 65 books, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His medical training is in internal medicine and endocrinology, and he is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and an adjunct professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is also a Distinguished Executive Scholar at Columbia Business School, Columbia University, and a Senior Scientist at the Gallup organization.