Showing posts with label Desire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Desire. Show all posts

June 22, 2019

Four Types of Desire

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Want What I Want."

There are four types of greed/jealousy:
  • I want what I’m missing
  • I want what I had
  • I want what you have
  • I want you to not have what you have

We can be slaves to our egos, emotions, and desires, or we can seek to control them and be better than mere animals. We have a soul, a conscience, and the Torah, so the choice should be clear even if not always easy.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 22, 2019

You Ended Up In Hell City

So a friend told me something funny.

It was about being given what appears to be a wonderful opportunity, but in reality it's not all roses. 

In short, it went something like this:
There was an exciting competition and a prize at the end. 
Everyone prepared and worked hard to win it. 
But when the competition was over, what was the prize?
The 2nd place was two weeks in Philadelphia. 
The 1st place was one week in Philadelphia. 

I had to think about that for a second, but that is really pretty funny and true. 

No not about Philadelphia, but about life--that what we often mistakenly want so badly and strive for with all our energies, and then only to find out that it really wasn't as good or amazing for us and our families as we imagined. 

Yes, very often you set your sights on certain goals to win the competition, but then you find out that the BIG prize ("first place") is really not something to get excited about, because it's in Philadelphia!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 9, 2019

Choosing Good Over Vice

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Choosing Good Over Vice."
But yet, if everyone would just act out on each other based on their unbridled wants and desires, oy vey what a truly terrible world that would be...From uncontrolled desires for food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, honor, money, power, sex, and more–it seems like everyone has their little secret fetish. Whether it's coming from their head, their heart, or down below...the key questions is how much can they control themselves.

However, inside us, our soul, like the Ten Commandments in the Holy Ark, guide us so that we aren't just animals chasing game or tail, but are human beings trying to become angels.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 5, 2017

Thou Shalt Not

Interesting speech by the Rabbi today in synagogue. 

What stood out to me was when he talked about the Ten Commandments, particularly the 2nd set of five. 

And how some people hear what they want to hear. 

All of the 2nd five start with "Thou shalt not,"  but there are those people that only hear the part that comes after those words. 

So for example: Thou shalt not kill...steal...commit adultery...lie...desire.

But not everyone listens to the "Thou shalt not" and instead they just hear--selectively:

- Kill
- Steal
- Commit adultery
- Lie
- Desire

If you take out the "Thou shalt nots," you are left with a list of terrible and evil deeds.

How convenient for those who are looking for the upper hand and pleasures in life--get rich quick, get and maintain power, take whatever and whomever you want and when you want it--no matter who it belongs to or how they feel.

Like the good angel and bad angel sitting over our shoulders and one says don't do the bad thing and the other encourages us to do!

Who you going to listen to? 

Not everyone seems to care--they live for today and forget about tomorrow. 

Yet every misdeed leaves a tarnish on our soul, while every good deed adds a merit. 

And if there is no justice in the end then who the hell wants to be in such a world anyway. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 3, 2017

Satisfied and Bless G-d

I loved Chabad Rabbi Schneur Kaplan's speech today in synagogue.

It was about how we can learn to be happy with what we have in life.

The biggest marketing gimmick is to say to the guy, "Look at what your neighbor has next door!"

Jealousy, desire, greed, having more and better than the next guy/girl...

That's what many people live for and how they think.

Some can have as much as the founders of Apple, Google, and Facebook combined and still it's not enough.

If just one person has something more...it can drive that person crazy.

Like Haman on Purim, who had wealth, power, large family and everyone bowed down to him...

Except one person named Mordecai who wouldn't bow.

And despite having everything, but missing that one thing drove Haman so crazy--it was his downfall!

When we eat, we can be satisfied with one slice of pizza and say grace or we can have four slices and still not be satisfied.

How do we look at things?

We can be grateful for whatever we have and say that G-d gave us just what we needed at this time and place.

Or we can look at what we don't have, and forever be bitter and unsatisfied.

What joy we can experience in life when we realize the graciousness for what G-d has bestowed on us and we are thankful for what we have. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 19, 2016

Globs of Fat

So I went to get my flu shot today in the office. 

Yes, it's that time of year to start getting ready for Winter and all the germs that come with it. 

Anyway, while I was at the health center, they had this model of what body fat looks like. 

It was sort of just laying right on the table in the waiting room--yeah a big ick! 

It said:
"Globs of FatThis glob represents the look and feel of 5 pounds of body fat."

And this thing was enormous, bigger than someones hand, maybe even two hands. 

There was some text about another 1 pound piece of body fat, but I didn't see that lying around anywhere (and frankly the 5 pound glob was enough to get the point without comparison). 

This fat demonstration would make practically anyone want to chuck the carbohydrates and forever.

Pizza, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, crackers, cookies, cakes--be gone!

Having recently done this myself, I can really appreciate how important this is and also how hard it can be. 

The food industry has us addicted to this crap and really it should be illegal. 

The high carb diet in America is truly of epidemic proportions and is potentially catastrophic to our health and longevity.

The only thing that glob of fat is good for is tossing it out the window and into the garbage dump. 

A high carb diet that makes people fat is death and we want to live! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 1, 2015

Can You Have Too Much Money?

I took this photo inside a 16 Handles that sells frozen yogurt and toppings. 

The cashier had put out this cup for tips.

On the cup is a sign that says:

"Money is the root of all evil.  Cleanse yourself here.  Thanks."

Sort of a smart way to get people to give. 

Afterwards, I was mulling over whether it's true--is money "the bad guy" in life or what makes us do bad things?

Sure, people want money--and they usually like lots of it--they want to live "the good life" --with big houses, fancy cars, nice clothes, good food, exotic vacations, and financial security--how sweet it is!

And so often when people can't get it legitimately, they will resort to lying, cheating, and stealing to get it.

But fortune is just a facet of something larger that gnaws at people souls --and that is greed. 

People don't just want money, they are also greedy for power, fame, brains, brawn, sexual satisfaction, and a long (or immortal) life to enjoy it all. 

So probably greed is the real root of all evil and money is just one of the larger branches.

Perhaps that is why religion and piety is often associated with asceticism--avoiding indulgence--and instead devoting oneself more to spiritual pursuits in life and to servitude of G-d. 

Also of course, devotion to family, friends, and community--doing good deeds--giving and not taking--are held in high esteem for people looking for something more meaningful and devout in life.

Also, having recently seem some people with "too much of a good thing"--I realized that when people actually get all the material things they want and in such complete abundance--they can literally drown themselves in it.  

It's sickening after a while--literally--the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and the things that are so coveted just become overwhelming and poisonous to the person. 

I saw this in a movie once too where the person who stole from the king is punished by having swathes and swathes of molten gold poured down the person's throat--"You want it that bad, well here it is!"

There comes a point, a maturity, a depth, a realization, when a person just wishes for enough in life, for the people they love, and for happiness with them--they find genuine contentment--and that is something worth being greedy for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2014

Fruit Juice Want Some

I took this photo in the supermarket.

It is of these Good 2 Grow juice bottles for kids with cartoon sip tops. 

Everyone from Ninja Turtles to Scooby Doo is here on the shelf.

And peeping out in the middle from the back is none other than SpongeBob SquarePants. 

I guess if I were still a kid holding hands with my mom coming down the aisle, I would stop right here and start yelling and jumping up and down for these.

Juice Smuice...I just like these fun, happy cartoon characters. ;-)
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January 3, 2014

The Happiness Meter

Ever realize that no matter how hard you strive for happiness, it almost always seems just as elusive. 

There are many explanations for this:

Of course, it could also be that just because you think something will make you happy, doesn't mean it will. Often, the fantasy does not live up to the reality, and so rather than achieve happiness, we end up disappointed. 

Another explanation, from economics, is the law of diminishing marginal utility that tells us that more of a good thing, does not make us incrementally happier, rather the benefit and satisfaction that we receive from each additional unit of consumption is lower.  Let's face it, the 5th mouthful of chocolate cream pie is not as satisfying at the first, second, or third. And at a certain point, you actually will want to puke! 

The Wall Street Journal had a brilliant piece on this that explained this from an evolutionary perspective--fitter organisms are more likely to survive and reproduce, so every time we make a positive decision in our life, rather than find happiness, our "happiness meter" resets to zero, forcing us to make the next positive move in our life to make us better, if not necessarily happier. In other words, keeping us unhappy, forces us into perpetual striving. 

So while happiness has been correlated with our genetic makeup, life events, and values (New York Times) or even exercise, altruism, and supportive relationships (CNN), real happiness comes from living a life of meaning, where we find satisfaction in the journey itself, and not rely only on the destination. 

For example, Buddhists understand that life is suffering and that we need to escape the hamster wheel of jealousy, aimless external desire, and quenchless ambition and instead seek to do good and find inner contentment. 

One colleague (ex-army) of mine used to say, "everyday that I am not in Iraq and Afghanistan is a good day" and perhaps we need to think in those terms too, as we all know things can always be worse, so we would do well to find happiness not just in what we have or achieve, but in thanksgiving for what we are spared as well.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2013

Divine Light and The Soul Of Man

I took this picture today in the nursing home. 

It hangs over the memorial of names for people that have passed. 

The saying as translated here from Proverbs is: "The Divine light illuminates the soul of man."

But the meaning of the hebrew words themselves are more like: The light of G-d is the soul of man.

What is a person's soul?

- Their consciousness.

- The knowledge of right and wrong.

- The part of us that yearns to learn, grow, and be better. 

- The part of a human being which is eternal 

- The part of a person that can be reunited with loved ones in the afterlife. 

- The part of a person that can be resurrected (to try again).

- The spiritual, inner, real you!

G-d breathed into man life. 

The physical body is the shell, the exoskeleton, and the vehicle that houses our soul. 

The soul is the part of us that drives the vehicle, that makes decisions--good or bad, that navigates the world, and that expresses emotion from the depths of our inner being. 

Our soul loves, cares for, empathizes and has mercy on others or it can be angry, jealous, hateful, and cruel--these are expressed through our bodily actions. 

G-d's light is powerful indeed--and inside each and every one of us--it powers us to do good or bad, depending on how we take care of the gift. 

Do we let ourselves run rampart driven by carnal wants and desires or do we elevate these impulses and use these to serve our master through good deeds and selflessness? 

The divine light illuminates who we are and can be.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 6, 2013

Getting To Know You

This was a funny picture that my wife took today.

It is a guy sitting in the restaurant surrounded by women.

He is eating and reading.

The book is "What Do Women Want?"

What--like most men don't have a clue how women think!

Anyway, sort of an interesting way to take a break from the workday.

Pondering the ultimate mystery men seem to want to know. 

Anyway, I know what my women wants and that's for me to take out the garbage. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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June 14, 2012

Accomplishing What?

What do you want to accomplish before you die?

Four university students in Canada developed a list of 100 things a few years ago and as of the publishing of their book on this called The Buried Life, they had accomplished 53 of them--including playing basketball with President Obama at the White House!

Also on their list was to "get in a fight"--and so a couple of them beat the h*ll out of each other. Uh, now you can cross that one off your list.

Number 100 on their list is "go to space"--now are they really going to make it there?  Maybe one call to CEO Elon Musk and they'll get on the next flight of the new SpaceX Dragon capsule. 

MTV made this into a reality TV show in 2010 and aired it for two seasons, and it was nominated for a number of awards.

The book came out in March 2012 and it hit #1 on the New York Times best seller list the very first week!

The premise of the book is pretty cool--they collected ten of thousands of entries on what people wanted to do before they died, chose the ones they thought best, and had an artist creatively portray these.

Some of the items in the book are things you'd expect from people in terms of becoming rich, powerful, famous, and so on.  Others are more intimate and from the heart like reconciling with estranged family members, forgiving those that have hurt them, understanding why bad things happened to them, and even finding true love.

What I find interesting is not so much even what people want to do with their lives, but how everyone is in a way (or actually many ways) imperfect and they seek to fill the voids in their hearts, souls, and lives.

Does creating a list of 100 things and checking off the list really mean anything or is it just a gimmick to get on TV, write a book, and earn some cash?

I think to me it's not how many things we accomplish, but what we are really trying to achieve--is it bragging rights and fulfillment of our mortal desires, or is it to get a deeper understanding of ourselves, improve who we are, and give back to others.

I don't have a list of a 100 things or even 10 things...I just want to live my life where I can look myself in the mirror in the morning for who I am as a husband, father, son, as a professional, and as a Jew.

I am not sure it is the big splashy things like the authors put down, including getting into the Guinness World Records that is all it's cracked up to be--but all the power to them.

My parents used to have a little sign hanging over the kitchen that said "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice"---yes, a little corny and cliche, but the point is well taken about setting priorities for ourselves that we can truly be proud of--and those things don't necessarily make a list, a record, or get you an ovation.

Today, I read in the news about how Lance Armstrong, champion cyclist, may end up losing all 7 of his Tour de France titles for doping--just another example of what people are willing to do or give up of themselves to get what they want in life.

I say dream big, try your hardest, but don't get lost in lists of accomplishments and stardom--stay true to who you really are and want to be.

And like the picture shows, it's good not to take yourself too seriously.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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