Sunday Sermon: Gratitude, the Cure for the Craving for More

Sunbeams

No matter how dark the storms, there is some ray of hope to be grateful for.

This is the first of what I plan to be a weekly series of Sunday Sermons (like most things I borrowed the title from someone else, thanks Beth!). A few will be spiritually oriented, but many more will be self-help, philosophy and inspirational (hopefully!) Today’s Sermon will go along very nicely with the last 3 posts on living on very little. First I will describe the problem, and then offer the solution I found.

The Problem

For most of us, our money problems don’t come from making too little, they come from spending too much; the more money we have the more we spend. For example, if we find we can just barely live on $500 a month and then our income increases to $1000 a month, we won’t have more money at the end of the month. Somehow, it will disappear and we will soon be living like we can just barely survive on that much. If it increases again to $1500 a month the same thing will happen. Our spending will increase to match our income and we will just barely be able to survive on the $1500 a month.

What’s going on; why does that so often happen to us? Is there a way to break the cycle? Fortunately for you, my esteemed readers, you have come to the right place for the answer. I am an expert on not allowing a single dollar to stay in my wallet any longer than absolutely necessary. For most of my life, as soon as money came in, I had a wonderful plan on how I was going to get rid of it! I was terrible with money!! I put that in the past tense because things have changed for me and I am now able to have a proper relationship with money

The key for me was to come to grips with my perpetual Craving for MORE. I have found that no matter how much or how little I had, I always wanted more. And when I finally got more, it never satisfied me; instead it left me with an even greater Craving for More. And it didn’t just apply to money; every facet of my life had a perpetual Craving for More. Things like:

  • Possessions (Stuff)
  • Pleasure
  • Money
  • Love
  • Food
  • Sex

Granted, I have a highly addictive personality, but I suspect if you examined your life carefully, you too can find some evidence of a perpetual Craving for More. Here are some signs to look for:

  • A general, low-level feeling of unhappiness, discontent, restlessness or a low-grade depression.
  • Packrat Syndrome
  • Shop-aholic
  • Compulsive eating
  • Work-aholism
  • Excess of drug and alcohol use
  • Thrill Junky
  • Taking interests and hobbies to an extreme.
  • Obsession with sex or relationships by jumping from one right into another

Don’t think these areas have to be extreme because chances are they won’t be. Your life may be going along normally and no one else is even aware of the fact that you have an obsession with getting More of the things that are important to you. Maybe you never even take any actions on the Craving for More, but you still feel the Craving like a gnawing slight hunger. For example, I didn’t have any money to spend so no one know I was a packrat or shop-aholic, but my favorite thing in life was buying the Sunday paper and looking through the ads finding all the things I would buy if I could. Then I would go through the stores and look at the things and lust after them. I would choose a thing that would finally satisfy the Craving for More and study about it and read about it and long for it and save my pennies until I could finally afford it (or much more likely put it on a credit card if I couldn’t save the money).

Finally, I would have the object of my desire, I should be so happy!! But I never was. Within a very brief period of time (sometimes days) the object had lost its interest to me and I was back to the Sunday paper looking for the next thing to fill the Craving for More.

Moving into the van put a physical limit on what I could accumulate, but didn’t stop the craving. I still absorbed the Sunday ads, saved for things and bought them. The main difference was that the thing I had already lusted after, bought, and left me feeling hollow had to be got rid of before my latest Savior could be bought and come into the van. Oddly enough, I found that Minimalism can be a symptom of the Craving for More. It revolves around the idea I will finally be happy when I have LESS stuff, and not until then. It’s the exact same idea in reverse, my happiness is determined by my number of possessions.

A few of you will be like me and the Craving for More will be in-your-face-obvious, but for most people it isn’t. It’s a subtle, driving force in your life leaving you with a general discontent. For some reason, you aren’t as happy as you think you should be; life is okay, but not great. And so we accept that is just the way it is. An acceptable but not really happy life is just the way it is.

The Solution: Grattitude

When I was 40 years old I had a mid-life crisis and my life had to change. I couldn’t keep living with the Craving for More. In searching for the source of the Craving, I discovered that the root of all my problems was fear and it had to be resolved before anything else was even addressed. I discovered that the only workable cure for a fear like mine was faith and so I began a long, extremely difficult and unpleasant journey to a faith that works. But that is a topic for another Sunday Sermon.

What’s important now is that as I researched faith, I explored Eastern religious philosophy, specifically Zen Buddhism. The Eastern mind works totally differently than the Western mind. One of the tools it uses is stories to shock the mind out of its destructive obsession with linear reasoning. This is one of their stories that just seemed so preposterous when I first heard it, and yet today holds the key to happiness for me:

A monk was being chased through the jungle by a tiger when he came to a ledge overlooking a straight drop to a canyon 3000 feet below. As he was trying to decide what to do next the tiger burst out of the jungle and lunged at him. Having no choice he leaped off the ledge and dropped 10 feet straight down but managed to catch himself on a bush hanging off the edge of the canyon wall. To let go was certain death but the tiger was still above him trying to reach down and grab him. Plus, even if the tiger left there was absolutely no way to climb back up the sheer rock-face. At that moment he noticed a wild strawberry growing out of the rock, he lovingly plucked and ate it and smiled; life was good.

RT_Sunrise!

Have you ever seen a sunrise or sunset and been totally filled with awe, wonder and gratitude? What if you could take that feeling, and bring it into all the moments of your life?

Whether we know it or not, each of us is just like that monk. We have been chased through life by our own tigers. We have known good times and bad times, but that is all behind us now. In front of us is death. For that monk it was coming very quickly, but it is just as much coming for each of us. I’m almost 58 and my recent trip to Florida made crystal clear what my fall to the bottom of the canyon will be like. It will include some combination of heart disease, cancer, decreased mobility, brittle bones that break easily, and a lack of energy. It makes the monks fall to the canyon below look pretty good!

How does all that fit in with the Craving for More? As we hang by a thread moment by moment over eternity, we are all looking for happiness. But we only have eyes for what is behind us or what is ahead of us, we can’t see or enjoy the strawberries that are right in front of us. Here is how my thinking always went about the past:

  • “If only I had what I used to have, I would be happy.”
  • “If only that hadn’t happened, I would be happy.”
  • “If only she had loved me, I would be happy.”
  • “If only I would have ….”
  • “I should have ….”
  • “I could have….”

We look at the past and say, “I wasn’t good enough then, but in the future I will be more! There was never enough of …., but in the future I will get more.”

When I think about the future I think:

  • “If I had that, I would be happy.”
  • “If she will go out with me, I will be happy”
  • “If my wife would just change, I would be happy.”
  • “I will be happy when….”
  • “It will be so great when the weekend gets here”
  • “My vacation will be so wonderful, I will finally be happy.”
  • “Only five more years till I retire, then I will be happy.”

The Craving for More always moves happiness away from now, and moves it into the past or into the future. It places happiness outside of myself and says it can only be found in some other person, place or thing.

But that is all a total lie!! Happiness only exists NOW. It can not exist in the past or the future, only in the present. Happiness can NOT be found anywhere but deep inside yourself. Happiness will NEVER be found in any other person, place, or thing.

All of this was made so very clear to me when I read a book by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She is a remarkable woman who spent her whole life with the dying and the families of the dying. She is the author of many books, most notably “On Death and Dying.” She was the first person to formally outline the Five Stages of Grief. She wrote a final book on her own deathbed called “Life Lessons” in which she summarized all she had learned from the dying so that we the living could actually live.

There is something about death that strips away all the lies we have told ourselves and each other and the real truth of life comes rushing in like it never could at any other time. The lesson of what she calls “The Game of More” shook me to the core, and I have lived every day (and sometimes every moment) since then with it mind. I want to give you some edited quotes from her book, pages 102-104:

Why does tomorrow seem to hold so much more possibility for happiness than today? Because we delude ourselves in the game of more. True happiness and well-being are found in the fine art of gratitude. Being grateful for what you have, for things just as they are. …if you do not know how to appreciate the things and people you have now, why would you be able to appreciate more things and people when you get them? You won’t, because you never worked on your “gratitude muscle” you never learned or practiced being grateful. And so you will live, continually wanting more or wishing things were different than they are, playing the game of “more” instead of being grateful for all you have.

…trade the game of “more” for the game of “enough.” We quit asking “Is it enough?” because in our last days we will realize it was enough. Hopefully, we can understand this before our days come to an end.

When life is “enough,” we don’t need any “more.” What a good feeling it is when our days are enough. The world is enough. We don’t often let that feeling in. it’s a foreign feeling because we tend to live our lives feeling they are not enough. But we can change that perception. Saying that this is life and I do not need any more is a wonderful statement of grace and power. If we don’t need any more, if we don’t need to control everything, we can let life unfold.

Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the

Eat the Strawberry.

The cure for the Craving for More is gratitude. You get it by refusing to play the game of more and start to play the game of enough instead. That monk dangling over the ledge had learned the importance of the “Game of Enough” and was very grateful for the joy of that strawberry.

Right now, when I look around, my life is filled with delicious, wonderful strawberries. The choice is mine, will I focus on the tiger and on the cliff, and ignore those strawberries, or will I live like this moment is enough?

Right Now

Life is Enough!

I Don’t Need any More

I am Very Grateful

Bob
About

I’ve been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

92 comments on “Sunday Sermon: Gratitude, the Cure for the Craving for More
  1. Al Christensen says:

    A book that made a big impression on me is “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff. It’s an entry level look at Taoism. One thing that turned my thinking around was the idea that each person has a unique niche in the big picture, and that we make ourselves unhappy when we try to live according to other people’s plans, try to walk their paths, try to fit into their niche.

    Whoa! All my life until then I had been taught that happiness came from conforming to a model, a universal ideal. “Here’s who you should be, what you should be, what you should want, what you should do. You’re wrong to want something else.”

    The low- or high-level dissatisfaction with the present that makes us chase after stuff might be caused by following the wrong path to the wrong destination — for us. For you. For me. All I know is that I became MUCH happier when I stopped measuring myself with other people’s yardsticks, when I stopped slogging down a road to a place I had no interest in reaching.

    Once I was on the path to becoming my authentic self, it became clearer that those talking the loudest about what type of person I should be and what I should want actually just wanted me to serve their interests. They wanted to own part or all of me.

    I didn’t need to isolate myself from the rest of society in order to become myself. I just needed to tune out a lot of crap and criticism.

  2. Al Christensen says:

    However, there are also religious/spirituality/philosophy addicts who go from belief system to belief system hoping to find happiness, to resolve the past and assure a future.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I know people just like that Al! They are always chasing after the latest fad and twist of religious/spirituality/philosophical thought. To me it seems that can only be because what they are trying isn’t working. But you can’t know if it is the path itself or them. Most paths are solid, the problem is with the followers.

      I heard someone say once that we all need a North Star. Something that when your world is shaken and going to Hell, it is firm, guiding light that you can always come back to it and find safety and knowledge that all will be well. I am very fortunate to have a North Star, it’s something I wish for everyone.

      It sounds like you have found yours, you are very fortunate.
      Bob

  3. Kim says:

    In my 50’s, I realize that one is just plain fortunate to live long enough to discover the truths you expressed in this post. So many people don’t get there for one reason or another

    That’s my favorite aspect of traveling. It makes you (well, me anyway) appreciate the here and now. For example, just now while typing, I saw some geese flying over my van. Their glorious honking made me ridiculously happy.
    Kim recently posted…Independence, MOMy Profile

    • Al Christensen says:

      Yeah, some of us need to do it wrong for a few decades before we can realize it’s not working. They say wisdom comes from making enough mistakes.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Kim, as usual, I agree whole-heartedly! My first 40 years were dedicated to doing everything wrong! The last 17 have been learning from the many mistakes of WHAT NOT to do and doing the opposite!

      Thats the joy of nature for me, the present is so wonderful I have no real desire to live somewhere else in my head.
      Bob

  4. HoboHounds says:

    Posts like this are why I really enjoy the variety of your blog! You cover subjects that are both practical and existential. Keep up the good work!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Hobohounds, I figure if I just keep plugging away at it with lots of different kinds of stuff, I’m bound to hit a homerun SOMETIME!
      Bob

      • HoboHounds says:

        You should write about your experiences on the road with your dog. If there are any challenges, benefits, etc…

  5. Naomi says:

    Wonderful post. I can see myself in most of those descriptions, and have been working toward getting rid of a lot of things. Now I need to keep a check on that desire as well. Progress, not perfection.

    I have ordered a copy of the book based on your review. Used, of course. I have admired Kubler-Ross for a long time, but didn’t know about this particular title. (And, this purchase doesn’t count as a Craving for More purchase. 😉 )

    • Bob Bob says:

      Naomi, Progress not Perfection indeed! that is a motto I live my life my by! I love Amazons variety of used books. I prefer Kindle books but sometimes they are so much more than the used that I buy used. That’s how I got the Kubler-Ross book as a used book also.

      Might we have a mutual friend? Do you know a guy named Bill?
      Bob

  6. Patrick says:

    You can not enjoy what you have if you want to more.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very wise Patrick. It sets up a self-sustaining viscous cycle. Not being happy with what I have guarantees that when I got what I think I want, I will not be happy with it. Not being happy makes me want something to make me happy. When it doesn’t I am even more unhappy and desperate so I quickly move on to the next thing that is supposed to magically make me happy. And so it goes, on-an-on forever!

      The only cure that has worked for me is to simply say to myself that I am happy right now with exactly what I have. I don’t need any more. And don’t allow any thoughts into your mind. Of course I live 100% of the time on public land, maybe it wouldn’t work if I wren’t in a situation that actually makes me very, very contented with life. I’m not convincing myself I am happy, I actually am happy.
      Bob

  7. Pauly says:

    This post is exactly why the entire blog is so valuable! One day you lern how to make coffee by installing a solar panel – the next, the meaning of life! Keep them coming!!!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks so much Pauly! But a lot of the credit goes to you and all my amazing readers. Your comments allow me to cover such a range.
      Bob

  8. Suzann says:

    Once again Bob, you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak!

    I fist read Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in Hospice training & experienced much of what she describes with various patients. To watch a person die with regrets & frustrations over the choices they made and/or the things they didn’t do, is a wake up call indeed.

    Living in the NOW every moment of every day has enriched my life beyond any possession I’ve ever had.

    This very moment, regardless of what appears to be happening, is the only time we have. Let it flow. Watch it; listen intently; examine it and ask to be shown whatever it is YOU need for your journey.

    We all have an internal dialogue and with time and practice, your inner voice will guide you. Eventually, you’ll distinguish between the incessant clammoring of the ego and the whispers of your soul.

    My motto is “Happiness is an inside job.”

    Your blog has evolved as you have. It’s a wonderful thing to witness.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Suzann, I can’t tell you how much I admire hospice workers, they are angels in disguise on this earth. My second wife was a hospice nurse and she came home from work and would tell me about her patients and I couldn’t comprehend how she dealt with it. But she really had a calling and she was a remarkable gift to many hundreds of people. As you know, her work often revolved more around the family than the patient.

      I have another post burning inside me wanting to get out and it will be titled “Today, is a good day to die”

      Suzann, life is always working to lead each of us to wisdom and a wonderful life, but so many of us won’t listen and become angry and bitter instead. You are so fortunate that somewhere along the way the road forked and you choose the right path, it has led you to a glorious place. I’m sure it has been watered with many tears along the way. From where I stand, your garden was well worth all the tears.
      Bob

      • Nicole says:

        Morning Bob,

        Yesterday I realized how much of an impact your blog and forum have on me. I was working on the van, I was sanding the woodwork, lots of time to think. As I was working I was composing a post for the forum in my head. I knew it would never be posted but just knowing that I could have done so without reserve or fear of judgment is priceless to me.

        I’m bipolar. I’ve dealt with some “interesting” situations in my life. When your mind takes a hold of you and throws you into the wind, you find yourself in very strange places once you landed back into reality. Lots of damage control to be done. Lots of shame and embarrassment involve. I am EXTRIMELY fortunate because over the years I was able to build a ‘bubble’ around me that helps me control my triggers. At one point yesterday (that was a good thinking kind of day) I thought how shameful it would be to dye at this very moment. I was so content and truly happy and how much I had to work to get to this point. So often in the past I have wish that death would come and get me out of this misery, so now that I’ve learn to live happy…It would be a shame ‘If I Was To Die Today’. I’ve come to resent death. I’m really looking forward to the next sermon, I’ll be paying close attention.

        • Nicole says:

          Thanks a million 🙂

        • Bob Bob says:

          Nicole, I incredibly admire the work and dedication it must have required to make so much progress. The mind can be such a terrible taskmaster and cruel enemy, and when that is combined with chemical imbalances many people never recover. That you have made so much progress says a great deal about you. I’m humbled that i may have contributed in some small way.

          I don’t have a schedule of sermons, so I don’t know what will be when, or if there will even be a Sermon every week. We shall see. To be honest, I don’t really have anything wise to say about your question. Right now I am as baffled as you are. that is a hard question for which I have no answer.

          Often I just know things intuitively and have no real idea why. The hard questions force me to chew on them and lead me to a new mental understanding. Maybe this will be the case. But, sorry to say, sometimes the chewing takes me years so no promises.
          Bob

          • Nicole says:

            OH, it’s so cute, the word I had to type to prove I was a person was VAN, ha!ha!

            Bob you are so kind. I have a definition of what I think is the perfect person; kind with a backbone. It’s no wonder that your forum is so comfortable to post in. You create the goodwill and somehow set the tone.

            I am more fortunate than most. I have the support of my husband, family and friends. If it wasn’t for them I KNOW that I won’t be here today. Cliché but true non the less.

            Bob, you are a beautiful person.

            Nicole

          • Bob Bob says:

            Nicole, I love the Elizebeth Kubler-Ross quote that says beautiful people are not born, they are made. if there is any beauty in my life, it came because it was fertilized with so very much s**t. It doesn’t smell good, or look good, but the “end” result can sometimes be very, very good.
            Bob

  9. Calvin R says:

    I would not usually read a “Sunday Sermon,” but this one is different. This is an especially good moment for me to be reminded that the present is all that actually exists. I have had the good fortune of experiencing enough pain to push me into learning these lessons. I have learned imperfectly but well enough to have a profound effect on my spirit. Among many wonderful results, I have learned to listen to the voices of sanity rather than the voices of “more.”

    I may be blessed in another sense as well. You had a “long, extremely difficult and unpleasant journey to a faith that works.” My journey has certainly been long, and it has been difficult and unpleasant enough at times. But the last few years before my turning point were worse and were unproductive. From a long-term view, this way is easier by far.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin I don’t know why, that phrase “Sunday Sermon” just really appeals to me. Maybe it is tongue-in-cheek I don’t know for sure. I am a terribly unstructured person but I think the blog should have more structure and this gives it to it. I’m glad you overcame the distaste it left in your mouth.

      I divide my life into two halves: before and after I started on my current spiritual path. The way has often been very difficult. But one thing I can say with absolute certainly, is that the worst day of following this path has been better than the very best day of my life before following it. And the good days (which there are now many) are beyond my wildest dreams.
      bob

      • Calvin R says:

        Bob, don’t worry too much about that phrase. The reason I read the posting is that I know you.

        I share your experience that the worst day since following this path is better than the best day before.

        That guy Bill has kind of a lot of friends, which is a very good thing for me.

  10. Robert says:

    I read the book On Death and Dying many times back in the 80’s..I studied it many times and found that it apply’s not only to dying but to any emotional upheaval..I’m so glad you brought up her book!! I’m grieving the lost of a dear friend..She hasn’t died we just went are separate ways…You’ve hit on a very important topic/subject!! Thank You!! Love your blog!!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Robert, there is no topic as important as death, and yet we are all so terrified of it. Many primitive cultures had a rite of passage where the teenager had to go through an experience that directly made them confront death as a possibility and tried to simulate it. They knew that there could never be a good life until death was confronted, resolved and even embraced. Death is the opposite of life, but there is no opposition.

      I hope something good comes out of this loss for both of you.
      Bob

  11. Steady Eddie says:

    Bob,

    You’re preaching to the choir. Keep it up, great work. As I face another Monday of the work-for-the-rat-race,I found this article to be the perfect anecdote. Thanks.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Steady Eddie, I look back on those Mondays and the thought of it makes me shiver! Believe me, it is so much easier to tell you how happy I am when I don’t have to work any more. But sometimes it is the job, not the working. I never felt that way when I was working as a campground host. In fact now that the doctor has made it official I can no longer do it because of my arm, I am actually kind of sad. I don’t think there was a single day I woke up and hated going to work.

      But I know sometimes you just have no choice. I worked for decades at a job and 100% of the time I woke up and wished I wasn’t going to work. But I did it and now I have a little pension that makes my life so much better. Hang in there, you aren’t alone. If there is anything I can do to make it easier, I will try!
      Bob

  12. rick says:

    Not the worst I’ve read but not my cup of tea.
    It seems the point could be made quicker. Like 5 sentences

    • Bob Bob says:

      Rick, I can certainly understand that, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Topics like that will never be the main thing, but they will always be part of the blog because it’s a huge part of who I am.

      It was much longer than I wanted. I shoot for 1200 words or less and it was 2100. Actually, the last 4 sentences were the whole thing! Sometimes I get wordy!
      Bob

    • fratermus says:

      There are ideas which are best approached obliquely rather than directly. Circling, observing, reflecting, paying attention to one’s own reaction.

      I am reminded of the fox being tamed in The Little Prince:

      “You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me–like that–in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . .”

  13. Rick says:

    I was never into church but I enjoy sermons! maybe it was the way they turned religion into history or the other way around, but anyhoo. C’est la Vie. I am truly like many others that come under the shoulda’s woulda’s and coulda’s in life. But like Patrick wrote “You can not enjoy what you have if you want to more” and at this point in my life I am quite content. I am loved and love and my dog is safe and loved as well, what more can one ask for?

  14. Gary Stern says:

    This is a complex topic that you have somewhat oversimplified. What you described is known a “pursuit”. Your mind reaches out for the acquisition of some goal, be it getting a raise, buying a boat, getting married etc. and you think if “I only get there, have that, experience that – I will be happy”. Well, people in “pursuit” simply create a new goal, focus, or daydream when they achieve the one in mind. Pursuit can also be steeped in the “negative more”. This is when the mind tells you there must be something you forgot, there must be some other disease I have, I could have done better… Thus no matter what the result; no matter how good it may be there is always a reason to be unhappy with what you have.
    The essence of pursuit is that you are never experiencing the “now”. You are always somewhere else, out there, where things will be better or perhaps where you will finally find what’s really wrong with you. You miss the glory of what’s around you. You lose the ability to experience the simple joys of being alive.

    Why do we do this to ourselves? There is always some template of thinking that was foist upon us at a time when we were without the realization of what was happening and when we were without the power to stop it. The template was burned into our subconscious and until it is discovered and recognized for what it is, there is no escape. Usually these templates come from early childhood and the miscreants are our parents.

    I learned the above at great personal cost and expense. The solution is not so easy as reading one of Bob’s posts, no matter how pity or brilliant it may be. But, help is out there.

    • Gary Stern says:

      pithy

      • Gary Stern says:

        This is a complex topic that you have somewhat oversimplified. What you described is known a “pursuit”. Your mind reaches out for the acquisition of some goal, be it getting a raise, buying a boat, getting married etc. and you think if “I only get there, have that, experience that – I will be happy”. Well, people in “pursuit” simply create a new goal, focus, or daydream when they achieve the one in mind. Pursuit can also be steeped in the “negative more”. This is when the mind tells you there must be something you forgot, there must be some other disease I have, I could have done better… Thus no matter what the result; no matter how good it may be there is always a reason to be unhappy with what you have.

        The essence of pursuit is that you are never experiencing the “now”. You are always somewhere else, out there, where things will be better or perhaps where you will finally find what’s really wrong with you. You miss the glory of what’s around you. You lose the ability to experience the simple joys of being alive.

        Why do we do this to ourselves? There is always some template of thinking that was foist upon us at a time when we were without the realization of what was happening and when we were without the power to stop it. The template was burned into our subconscious and until it is discovered and recognized for what it is, there is no escape. Usually these templates come from early childhood and the miscreants are our parents.

        I learned the above at great personal cost and expense. The solution is not so easy as reading one of Bob’s posts, no matter how pithy or brilliant it may be. But, help is out there.

      • Bob Bob says:

        Thanks Gary!
        Bob

    • Al Christensen says:

      In “Galapagos,” Kurt Vonnegut proposed (only partly tongue-in-cheek) that the human ability to imagine things that don’t exist is a curse. So no matter how good things are, we can imagine something better. That leaves us chronically dissatisfied.

      • Bob Bob says:

        Al, yes our compulsive over-thinking is the cause of nearly all our problems. I often wonder if it isn’t more of a curse than a blessing. One of the reasons I love dogs is because they always live in the moment and never overthink things. Sometimes i wish I could trade places with him.
        Bob

    • Bob Bob says:

      Gary, there are no easy solutions, and I do not intend to say that there are. Long before I could even begin to learn about Now and Gratitude, I had to learn about faith. And I described that journey as: “a long, extremely difficult and unpleasant journey to a faith that works.”

      However, along the way I did discover that miracles are real and not just kiddies stories. I know from multiple direct experiences that one moment I can be one person, and the next moment I can be a very different person. I know for a fact that in the blink of an eye a deep, consuming hatred for another human being can be removed and be replaced with
      compassion and caring that has lasted a lifetime. I can tell you many stories of many miracles. I can tell you that I have sat and watched those miracles occur in other people. If that were not true, there is no chance I would be alive today.

      That garden only grows from gallons and gallons of tears.

      Every good thing in me came as a gift, I am not responsible for any of it. I cried the tears, I put one foot in front of another, I sat down, shut-up, and did as I was told with my whole heart. But every change was a gift. That fucking god shit really worked for me!
      Bob

  15. Karen says:

    Wanting more stuff has never been a problem for me but I have always had a problem with living in the present. This was more a problem when we were stationary and I was working at uninteresting jobs. I was always planning for the future and not fully enjoying what was happening in the present, even when I wasn’t working.

    Traveling has changed that – whatever is happening a the moment is the most important thing. Life moves at a slower pace and there is no reason to rush onto something else. Even though we do travel more than a lot of other fulltimers ,we travel slowly, stop for anything interesting and stay for hours. Just like Kim states in her post above – traveling makes us appreciate the here and now.

    Bob – thanks for finding a way to install the search plug in!!
    Karen recently posted…Santa Fe Historical ChurchesMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Karen, you are welcome for the search plug-in. Thank you for giving me a little push to get it. The blog really did need it!

      I have also found that traveling slows me down and helps me to appreciate the moment. Life is so much better that way!
      Bob

  16. Bodhi says:

    Thanks Bob.

    Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever pray is , ‘Thank you.’ it is enough.”

    Bodhi

  17. Billiam says:

    This struck a resounding chord in me. This was about me a couple years ago trying to figure out why nothing I achieved or did brought me happiness. Life was all about me and my wants, my possessions, getting more and more, and still there was no lasting happiness. It’s different now. I’m still searching for understanding, acceptance of who I am, and why living in the day is so necessary. Someone told me that to live with one foot in the past and the other in the future means that all I can do is pee on the day I have. This article helps me in wonderful ways to learn how to be happy in that day. Gratitude, who would have thought.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Billiam, your story is very similar to mine. In fact I think elements of it are nearly universal. I agree by being surprised at such a simple solution, seems kind of ovious. But it really has worked for me. Whenever a craving pops up I just remind myself that everything is great right now and I am so grateful to be so happy. Just the little switch in my thinking makes a huge difference.
      Bob

  18. Psp says:

    Gratitude is such a powerful attitude to grow toward. “In all things give thanks”. Like anyone, I sometimes get down/scared/blue. When I notice this, if I can say thanks for something – even the simple ability to take another breath, I can recover. To go further, it’s not necessary to ‘feel’ the gratitude, just say it and the feeling will follow.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Psp, since my mid-life crisis at 40 I’ve tried to practice gratitude. But this less was a fundamantal change for me. It moved the objects of my gratitude from all the things around me I should be grateful for, to the very essence of the moment. Not grateful for …..(fill in the blank). But instead simply grateful. It’s a subtle difference but has been important to me. Maybe it moved the longest distance in the universe, from my head to my heart.
      Bob

  19. m.a. says:

    Boy! good thing that monk wasn’t holding out for a raspberry!

  20. max says:

    thank you very much….
    more sermonts pleeeeaaasse…….

    take care.

  21. CAE says:

    How came it’s always a monk? Never a nun?

  22. Thank you Bob
    Well said. I understand. I want for nothing. I am so happy with my day. I believe everything happens for a reason.
    I thank God everyday for all my blessings.
    I love Mother Earth. I smell the roses, look at the sky, see the clouds and feel so grateful for all that I have. I am blessed and happy within my soul.
    God Bless you Bob. Keep the writings coming. You are a great writer and have a loving soul…. Sharon from Florida

  23. Al Christensen says:

    It’s funny that with this discussion of living in the moment there’s a glitch somewhere that’s dating some of the posts several hours in the future. I’m writing this at 11:56PM EDT on May 13 but some of the posts are already dated for May 14.

  24. marshall says:

    I studied many paths, but found them all lacking. Being a nuts and bolts type of personality I found my path in the metaphysical way. It was here that I learned that life is religion and how you live it is your spirituality. We are all “clay” expressed spiritually.

  25. rastaman says:

    Your post was great Bob and I immediately copied and sent sections to those close to me. However as I pondered it I came across a problem for me. If one is satisfied and content with their situation accepting it as ‘enough’. Isnt it the dissatisfaction with where we are or our situation that leads us to make a change. I am not talking about stuff, I am referring mainly to our situations ie; work & life style. This is a problem for me in that, should I be happy in the now or let the urge for “more happiness” lead me in another direction.

    • Bob Bob says:

      rastaman, what an outstanding question, thank you so much for asking it! It will almost certainly become next Sundays post. Here it is in as few words as I can:

      There is a place beyond linear reasoning and thought. It a place of simply “knowing”. Not thinking, not weighing the pros and cons. It is a place of intuitive, silent awareness But it is a an extremely quiet place!! The rushing and roaring of our constant thoughts completely drown it out. In the East they believe the way to find that quiet place so you can hear it is through meditation. I see that and agree, but I CAN”T meditate. However, I have found that I can come to that quiet place through surrender, humility, through compassion and now I find through grattitude (which is probably the cobmination of all the others). For me it is BLISSFUL ACCEPTANCE. When it is time to act, I simply know. Until the KNOWING comes, I live humbly and gratefully in the place of NOT KNOWING and without acting.

      I know that is vague and doesn’t really help you. It is also not the way I live all the time, not even most of the time. But it is a part of my life and I work hard to direct my life by it. Check out the current quote on the sidebar.
      Bob

  26. CAE says:

    I went for a 5 hour hike in the hills with my dog yesterday. It was beautiful! I saw maybe 3 other people the whole time. I though to myself while on the trail,”If I could do this on a regular basis, I would have it made.” And you know what? I do go on this walk a couple of times a month. So I guess I got it made.

  27. Fred says:

    Hi Bob,

    Awhile back in January I wrote an answer to your commentary under “Vandwelling Philosophy”. I reproduce it here because I think it applies equally well, if not more so. I feel we are definitely on the right track though with being content and appreciating what we have, not what we should or might have. When I look back at all the things I used to have and what I have now, it’s amazing how long I deluded myself into believing what was I thought was important and really wasn’t.

    Here for your perusal is one of the few poems I actually have on a plaque. That is how much I believe it and it was long before I lived in an RV. As you stated as well, I believe it says that happiness is from within, and only there, and not the mere casting off of your possessions.

    “Happiness is the greatest paradox in nature. It can grow in any soil and live in any conditions. It defies environment. It comes from within; it is the revelation of the depths of the inner life as light and heat proclaim the sun from which they radiate. Happiness consists not of having, but of being; not possessing, but of enjoying. A martyr at the stake may have a happiness that a king might envy. Man is the creator o his own happiness; it is the aroma of a life lived in harmony with high ideals. For what a man has, he may be dependent on others, what he is, rests with him alone. Happiness is the souls joy in the possession of the intangible. It is the warm glow of a heart at peace with itself.” William George Jordan

  28. Thanks Bob for this beautiful contemplative post. I almost cried after I re-read that Buddhist story as it holds a spiritual significance for me too. How long have you been practicing/learning about Zen Buddhism? It’s an ongoing path ,and it’s interesting how many of us RV community writers are interested in Eastern religion.
    greenminimalism recently posted…Minimalism: How to Live out of a SuitcaseMy Profile

  29. The best book i’ve ever read about living in the moment is “Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. It truly is an amazing story based on a true story about a young gymnast attending Cal Berkeley in the ’60’s. Dan is writing about himself and the experiences he had with a man he calls Socrates. Great post Bob. Way Of The Peaceful Warrior fits your thinking.
    Martin Hamilton recently posted…Tips To Burn Calories By WalkingMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Martin, I’ve read that book and also found it valuable. The thing that stands out to me the most is a section where he imagines (actually lives through) his death in the woods. In about a paragraph or two he describes how his body decomposes and returns to the earth and goes through an endless cycle life, death and rebirth. It grabbed me like few things ever have and has stuck with me through the years. Great book.
      Bob

  30. m.a. says:

    Bob – I know I made kind of a joking comment, as I tend to do…but I wanted to say, as many others have, that this is a really good post. I think you’ve learned much from your years on the road. We’re all learning along with you. Thanks.

    • Bob Bob says:

      m.a. I trust your heart and I know you were kidding and weren’t trying to be mean! You are too good a person for that. We are all on a journey to learn as much as we can while we are here.
      Bob

  31. Rolf Fritschi says:

    I DON’T NEED WHAT I DON’T HAVE.

    That is what I live by and it served me well.

  32. Gennifer says:

    I started a gratitude group on Facebook last year after realizing what an effect it had on my happiness. In the group we share things we’re grateful for each day, no matter how simple they might be. Some people post several times a week, and some simply enjoy reading others posts. Everyone is welcome to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/themonthofgratitude2012/
    Gennifer recently posted…Malibu – More Than Just BarbiesMy Profile

  33. Al Christensen says:

    I ran across this today as I was reading “Blue Highways.” A Hopi college student said:

    “The Hopi believes mankind has evolved through four worlds: the first a shadowy realm of contentment; the second a place so comfortable the people forgot where they had come from and began worshipping material goods. The third world was a pleasant land too, but the people, bewildered by their past and fearful for their future, thought only of their own earthly plans. At last, the Spider Grandmother, who oversees the emergences, told them: ‘You have forgotten what you should have remembered, and now you have to leave this place. Things will be harder.’ In the fourth and present world, life is difficult for mankind, and he struggles to remember his source because materialism and selfishness block a greater vision. The newly born infant comes into the fourth world with the door of his mind open (evident in the cranial soft spot), but as he ages, the door closes and he must work at remaining receptive to the great forces. A human being’s grandest task is to keep from breaking with things outside himself.”

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very good Al!! Native American wisdom is my single greatest guiding light spiritually so I really appreciate that!
      Bob

  34. Kate says:

    Thank you for your site and especially this post. Sometimes one needs to be reminded that “happiness only exists NOW.”

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