However, it is my belief that we all have a trump card. We do, really. It is not a radical trump card, extremism, or asceticism. No. The trump card is this: simply recognizing that right now you are already completely fulfilled. This is not some new-agey trick. It is based on the premise that fulfillment cannot possibly be based on acquisition. Acquisition based fulfillment is conditioned by the legacy of colonialism, and is based on the need for more (ie. unlimited expansion). David Loy talks about this as trying to fill our “lack.” The issue is, from a Buddhist perspective the quest for this type of fulfillment is simply another way we condition ourselves to be totally dis-satisfied.
Just imagine for one second that nothing is missing.
How did that feel? I am not proposing that people should not enjoy material things. Yet, I am assuming that what we really want is to be whole, to not be missing anything. Reflect on the ways that you may have been conditioned to believe that something is missing, and that acquiring that thing/or circumstance you will get happy.
Happiness needs redefinition. Rather than being measured by what you have, I am proposing that it be measured by what you don’t need. This does not mean I am suggesting to go and get rid of all of your belongings, or to shun all of your relationships. Rather I am asking that you make space for a part of you that perhaps no one told you existed. That part of you that is already totally fulfilled does exist. In fact, the more we deny it, the more power the opposite part of us has. This opposite part is always looking to be fulfilled, and thus by definition is not presently fulfilled.
I am here to say that it is possible to create a life with the intention of recognizing the part of us that is fulfilled already. Of course this does not mean the exclusion of the type of fulfillment that is involved in meeting achievements and goals, relationships, and acquiring material things. These things can and do bring most people joy and meaning. Rather, what I am pointing to is a type of fulfillment that is not dependent on having a particular circumstance. I think we can shortchange ourselves into thinking that the only way we will be fulfilled is if x happens, or we get x. When our happiness is dependent upon x material object, or x circumstance, then it is likely when we don’t get what we want we are setting ourselves up for serious disappointment. And if we are lucky enough to get what we want, then soon thereafter we realize we need something else.