Whilst eating juicy apples in the wonderful surroundings of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve struck on the idea that the world was not perfect. Their problem was that they discovered desire, and wanted things to be other than they manifestly were. The recognition of a world that appears to fall short of an ideal has bothered humanity ever since, and required various enlightened beings to advise us to keep it simple. The solution according to the Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and many more, is to let go of the conceit that we can and should change reality.

This is not to say that we must disengage from everyday life to experience peace of mind, but that this state is dependent on an attitude that accepts things just as they are. It arises when we take pleasure in the achievements that have brought us to this moment in time, so we may enjoy exactly what we are in all its fullness. Because contentment is a feeling, we can choose to experience it by being sincerely grateful for our condition right here and now, and dismissing other thoughts.

The opposite effect is created when we feel dissatisfied and restless, causing us to take up a course of action that distracts us from the present. Whilst this busy-ness gives us a sense of self-importance, it also reinforces the idea that ‘something is wrong.’ We can only return to the Garden of Eden when we choose to remember that we’re already there.

© orlando kimber, all rights reserved

Image: The Temptation and Fall of Eve (Illustration to Milton’s “Paradise Lost”) by William Blake.