Class One: Survival

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau

We all want to lead lives of purpose and fulfillment. Yet, most people’s lives more closely resemble what Thoreau described. I have noticed that “quiet desperation” lurking inside me at many points in my existence. I’d venture to say you’ve felt it yourself.

So the question we must each ask ourselves is this: What am I desperate for?

It might be quality relationships, job satisfaction, or a cure for a chronic illness. Or it could be as simple as a hearty laugh. We can’t know what it is until we take a long, close look inside ourselves. What we’re looking for is the empty space.

There’s a space like that inside all of us. But the thing which fills it will be different for everyone, and it can be hard to identify. It can also come as a surprise. Sometimes what we need is the exact opposite of what we’ve been seeking.

So how do we identify our needs, and beyond that, our true desires? The articles to follow are a sort of checklist of human pursuits, to be used in taking stock of what we already have and what we need more of. We’ll start with the basic resources required for survival.

Most of my readers already have access to all these things, likely in abundance. But, like me, most of you probably forget that you have them. That happens when we don’t take time to notice and appreciate what we have. And when we feel that our basic needs are somehow lacking, what happens?

We panic. We get desperate. And desperation leads to poor decisions, ones that don’t bring true fulfillment.

By living mindfully, we can stop that desperate, directionless running. Instead, we can take deliberate steps toward what we truly want. And we can savor the beauty of the path we’ve chosen, smelling the flowers that grow along its edge.

Are you ready to breathe it all in? Come on a stroll with me, and I’ll show you how.