What do you say when you see somebody making any number of foolish decisions, acting unwisely, making wrong moves, and gradually building up and building up for an emotional, physical or financial crash? When the final crash comes, are you one of those people who turns around and says, “Well, all I can say is ‘he asked for it!’ ”? Well, I guess we all say it, and the strange thing is that we’re all
right, because we do ask for it, literally, don’t we? All the troubles in our life have come because we have asked for them. It seems odd sometimes to realize that, but it’s true.
Desire, deep inner desire, is a powerful force, much more powerful than most of us realize. We wish for things very, very deeply and the very intensity of our wishes draws those things to us. But if they are wrong things that we’ve desired, they bring us misery and pain. They don’t belong to us; we try to cling to them but they pass away from us.
I think, perhaps, it’s dangerous to concentrate too much on getting a certain specific thing or things out of life. Emmet Fox once said, “Be careful what you wish for because you’re liable to get it!” I think he was right. The desires in your heart move in a mysterious way that none of us really understand, and they are made manifest in our lives. So we should be careful that we understand what it is we are wishing for. You know, what we wish for might turn out to be a white elephant!
The old Rajahs in India, when they wanted to break a man they would give him a while elephant. The problems of cleaning it, feeding it and parading it would make a poor man of him – so it is in our lives. Many of the things we desire turn out to be white elephants. I think that life withholds from us any number of our foolish desires because they would only turn out to be white elephants anyway.
Perhaps, rather than desiring things, we ought to start seeking more wisdom. It’s a lot safer to seek wisdom, because having wisdom you find that you have the equipment to deal efficiently and humanely with other people and their problems. Having wisdom, you won’t rush blindly into foolish decisions that lead inevitably to that crash that will
give other people the chance to turn to you and say, “Well I suppose he or she desired it anyway. They really asked for it.”
Many people give up asking for things when they don’t get exactly what they want immediately. They want what they ask for, but they don’t ask for what they need and there is a vast difference, isn’t there between the things that we think we want and the things we need? Just imagine if as a growing child, your parents had given you everything you thought you wanted; that time you reached up for the bottle of disinfectant to drink it; or that time you reached out to the fire to grasp the pretty flame. You thought you wanted it, your parents realized you didn’t need it and that it would be of no good to you; indeed, it might harm you, so it was withheld.
There is a difference between the things we want and our basic needs. If we will ask not for things but for wisdom to understand what is right for us, then we shall have everything that we need and we shall learn those were the things we really wanted all the time.