“Following after the endless desires of the senses leads to an entrapment of addiction and the bondage of always needing more. Sense cravings can only be temporarily satisfied for varying lengths of time depending on the individual. Yet, inevitably attachments will always convince us we are lacking and thereby make us a slave to their needs.”
It is the grandest illusion of the path of selfishness/ego that the senses (desire and attachment) can eventually be satisfied and ever-fulfilled. If I just got that career I would be complete. If I just made x amount of money I would be set. If I get that car, that free time, that promotion, that home, that woman/man, that vacation, that child, that family, that degree; whatever the desire is we can basically just plug it into the ego’s equation of: If I only had ______ I would be happy. This of course, is all part of the con. There is no actual lasting happiness waiting at the end of that yellow brick road, for there never was to begin with, it was an illusion and lie the entire time, we just bought into it. Again, as mentioned in the last sutra, we can’t beat ourselves up though, we all fall for it because it’s supposed to be incredibly convincing, attractive, seemingly obvious, and so satiating to think about, pursue, crave, and spend our entire lives chasing.
Let’s take the analogy of drinking alcohol that I think is a great microcosm of the ego’s con. We drink because it tends to make us feel good at first. Then we think hmm, I’m feeling pretty good, I’m going to have some more of this or make this a regular thing. Then we start chasing the feelings of freedom from no inhibitions or self-discipline; we notice we speak easier, feel relaxed, perhaps don’t judge ourselves as much and feel like we can just be ourselves for better or worse. If this pursuit continues we can eventually push ourselves until we literally can’t physically function or more often, we will seek to fulfill as many other cravings as possible during this intoxication of bondage to the senses. After this period of feeding our cravings we retire after feeling satisfied that we temporarily fed our addictions. Now comes the obvious con. Consequences, we wake up feeling, sometimes, absolutely awful to the point we feel like we are dying, we spend hours throwing up, literally poisoned and ill. If it stops at physical and mental dilapidation that’s the lucky ones, let’s not forget all else that might have taken place during this period of enslavement; perhaps a new child on the way, an STD, some lost money from gambling or unnecessary purchases, neglected responsibilities, lost job, hurt or lost relationships, damaged reputation, destroyed family, mental instability, temporarily destroyed digestive system, health issues, fatigue, headache, damage to property, physical injuries, or even death. And even with all this we often continue to fall for it again and again. Living in Las Vegas, I can definitely attest to this particular con playing out endlessly every night.
If you notice, this is not far from the con of selfish desire that unfolds similarly in our spiritual lives: seek after the things that will satisfy your attachments now (of the world) during this life and don’t think about consequences and repercussions – especially any notions pertaining to after this life which is absurd and wishful thinking to indulge in. Become a slave to the highs and lows of cravings and addictions to the senses and seek all pleasures that attract you. Spend, if lucky enough, your entire life not actually thinking for yourself because the senses will think for you, which is a relief because that way life can be so much easier. Only serve yourself and seek to glorify and pride yourself more than any other. Be smarter, quicker, more famous, more powerful, funnier, sexier, stronger, and wealthier. Only look after yourself and spend your time and resources on yourself; actually caring about others is a waste of effort unless it serves you. The universe revolves around your needs.
Yet, consequence inevitably always follows and we must experience the corresponding consequences that match our choices. We will also see that before we know it the body will pass (as it always does) yet the soul will go on, despite the ego’s staunch resistance against such an idea. We must wonder why selfish ego mentality would not want to embrace a spiritual, eternal reality, and that is hopefully clear to us by now that it is in order to avoid the consequences for our choices. For to embrace a spiritual reality means that the consequences for our choices do not stop at death and we can’t escape them, instead if the soul has not changed its vibration it will reincarnate again on earth or move onto another realm where it will continue to feed its addictions and suffer the consequences. The cycle, all the while, becoming more and more humiliating and degrading as we sell ourselves deeper into bondage – the ultimate spiritual hangover…
Now this is not written to make us afraid, it is just the truth that while we can choose for ourselves our own destiny, we must also accept the reality of the consequences for every choice. Thus this is being shared out of timeless experiential truth to help us see that selfishness and feeding our impulses are not actually going to make us happy. I, myself, among countless others, am saying this out of my own experience of this, at times hard, truth proven to me over and over and over again no matter how smart or clever I think I am or that this time I’ll get away with it. There is no escaping the justice and harmony of all creation, not a single particle is ever out of place. I especially resisted this universal law of consequence growing up and failed to see the profound wisdom within it due to my own ignorance and laziness. We must always check in with ourselves and make sure we’re on the path we truly desire and haven’t slipped here or there or otherwise been deceived.
For the fundamental truth is, everything in existence is perfectly balanced through consequence and all conscious beings are inheriting what they desire and continuously choose. What we have to stop and realize is, what am I really desiring? And where are those desires actually coming from? Who or what exactly is running my life?
Once we fully accept responsibility for our current situation, forgive ourselves, and love ourselves for where we’re at, we can then begin to explore how this law actually is the most glorious blessing in our lives when we make choices in alignment with our highest potential.