On one of my trips to Oʻahu we went out to the Aloha Stadium for the weekly Swap Meet. I walked past vendor after endless vendor looking at stuff. Eventually my feelings crystallized into the thought “There’s nothing here that I want. How can there be hundreds of stalls and nothing that I want?” To “want” can mean different things. To want for food really means to need food. But to want the latest IPAD means to desire it. Our culture tells us at every opportunity that we are “entitled” to everything that we desire.
When we don’t get what we think we are entitled to, when we don’t get what we want… how do we react? If we are mentally and spiritually healthy we just shrug it off. If we have come to believe our culture’s lie that we are “entitled” then we can be frustrated, distressed, or even angry that our desires have not been met. Does it ever occur to us that maybe we shouldn’t want half of the things that we want? Sometimes what we need may not be what we want.
At least one source of our unhappiness lies in our insisting that reality, or the Divine, give us what we want. Life however, like a good kupuna, sometimes insists on giving us what we need. And like small children twisting and turning away from the spoon of food offered to us, too often we refuse to take what is being offered. Perhaps if we stopped fighting and took more time to listen to reality we might find that what we need is actually right in front of us! In doing so we might even find the happiness we so desire!