Soon as the teacher left, some of the children ate their cookie. Some waited a few minutes, but quickly gave into the urge and ate their cookie as well. A few waited patiently and upon the teachers return received the additional cookie. These children were then followed over the years and the result was very amazing. From what I remember, few if any of the children that waited to eat their cookie were divorced or spent time in jail. However, the children who quickly gave into the desire for instant gratification had this same pattern as adults.
When we ponder concepts such as instant and delayed gratification, in essence, we are dealing with a person’s concept of time. One has a longing for something and, because of the perception of time; either delays the gratification or acts quickly to have it immediately. When we consider things such as fear, depression, anger, hopelessness and a whole list of conditions, they all, in some way, pertain to our perception of time. I feel depressed and have a longing to fill the emptiness, so I take a drink or a pill. I want a certain car, so I steal one. I want to feel a sense of power, so I bully or belittle others.
In each case, there is an initial need or desire. The person believes that he will be experience a state of satisfaction by taking a particular action. In many ways, history is the story of men trying to fulfill needs and desires mostly through instant gratification. Once again, these actions occur often because of a perception that we have of time. Most every year, I read or hear about people proclaiming or prophesying that “the next year will be a year of breakthrough or a year of prosperity or”… fill in the blank.
I don’t remember anyone proclaiming that “this moment is the moment of breakthrough.” On one hand, we can discuss having self-discipline and delaying gratification in exchange for getting what we truly desire later, but we should also consider something else. Is it possible that we can have what we truly need now? Notice the difference between desire and need. Someone feels depressed at this moment and wants to have that empty place filled, so they take a pill or a drink or whatever thing that they believe will replace the negative feeling with the feeling they desire.
So in essence, when one desires a car, house or any possession, it is not actually the possessions they desire, but the way they believe they will feel by having those things. The same is true for most things. It may not truly be the promotion that one desires, but a longing for the feeling of what they believe the new job will bring.
Again, what if we could have that feeling of fulfillment now? I believe we can. In order to, however, we have to adjust our paradigms of time. Maybe we have been failing in certain endeavors because of our perception of time. Why does it take some people years to master the piano, while others can do it in a relatively short amount of time? I believe in many, if not most cases, it is based in one’s perception of time.
We have been trained that it takes years to master anything. I want to learn to draw, but I know it will take years to be proficient. Is that truly the case, or will it takes years before you believe that you are now worthy to be considered good? Whether we are talking about reaching goals that we equate with success or eliminating feelings such as stress, anxiety, or depression, in many ways the fulfillment can be obtained now. Our stress is due in some way to our perception of time. What if we considered ourselves worthy at this very moment of feeling peace and serenity? What if we stopped thinking about how we would feel if we had or were relieved of something? What if we were able to live in this very moment and have the authentic fulfillment of what we truly need?
Every week many recite the Ve’ahafta from the book of Deuteronomy. We speak about loving the Creator with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Isn’t it time that we were honest? Do you have the ability to love the Creator this way and to love your neighbor as yourself? Certainly, it is possible because the Creator gave the commandment—but is it possible for you? Yes, but it may require radical transformation in thinking first.
Can we love YHVH with all of our heart if our heart is not completely open? The same question would apply to all of our parts. Can we love Him with our entire mind if our mind is 30% closed? Consider for a moment what it would feel like to have a completely open heart, mind, and soul. The very thought would frighten many. To be completely open in every way would seemingly make us vulnerable. If I were 100% open, people might not like me. They might make fun of me or think that I’m stupid. They might try to take advantage of me. Yes. All of that is possible. However, it is only by finding this place of lucidity and transparency that you become free of the fear of man.
It may seem that surrendering to an attitude of openness would leave us defenseless. This is not true. If fact, I believe when we begin to let our own walls down, walls of our own making, a spiritual hedge arises, not of ego but of true strength. The kind that men, in the grips of ego themselves, cannot penetrate.
If we begin to detach ourselves from predetermined outcomes and learn to be content in every situation, we will no longer even seek many of the things that dominate our thoughts. We will not need the acceptance of others to feel worthy or qualified. We will no longer need nor seek validation. It will arise on its own from within.
When we surrender to true transparency in this very moment, we begin to become free of many of the things that have been our masters. Oh I know, some day … yes, some day … someday, I won’t be afraid. Someday, I will no longer be depressed. Someday, I’ll have a job I enjoy. I’ll have all of the possessions I desire. Someday… Remember, it’s not the possessions you truly seek, but the feeling that you’ve associated with having them.
You will begin to master the guitar when you lose yourself in the very moment of loving to play, not thinking about how far you have to go to be at a satisfactory level. If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask! Wouldn’t we all like access to wisdom in this very moment, or would we prefer to put it off to a future time when we feel more worthy? Wouldn’t we all like to live without fear and depression? Again, the instant gratification of peace is available, but does our perception of time and of self prevent us from having it this very moment?
We don’t feel worthy or ready in this moment, so we deceive ourselves into accepting the pipe dream that someday we will be—somehow. Just by virtue of the fact that it’s in the future. As if the future has magical powers of some kind. If it does, then those powers are also present right now, or they wouldn’t be possible in the future! “Someday”, once it arrives, will only be another Now.