We Cannot Choose the Form of the Miracle

The ego thinks it knows what’s best in every situation. It will urge us toward all kinds of actions that offer the promise of security and happiness. And yet, when we achieve an ego-driven goal, when we run ego’s race and cross its finish line, we find no prize awaiting us. Instead, we feel a gnawing sense of emptiness, an uneasy hunger for something more. Like a mirage of water in the desert, when we finally reach our destination, we find there’s nothing there. Our striving did not slake our thirst.

If we think we know what we want, if we imagine that we know just the thing to make us happy, we’re almost sure to be wrong. Our search for the perfect mate, the perfect job, the perfect vacation spot, the perfect outfit, the best doctor, the sharpest attorney, the ideal investment strategy, or even for that one perfect Faustian moment that makes it all worthwhile . . . these will never bring lasting contentment. Should we happen to achieve such goals, we’re thrilled, of course. Fist pumps and high fives! But once the initial thrill passes (and it will), we’re no longer satisfied. And if happiness does not last, if it evaporates to leave us chasing one goal after another, then it never truly was ours in the first place.

The ego-mind is incapable of abiding happiness. Spirit alone knows the path there, and it will gladly lead us forward—through miracles. But it cannot do so if we get in the way by demanding that its miracles conform to our own expectations of what we want. The moment we latch onto a particular picture of how things should be, we’ve blocked the miracle. Or more likely, it comes and we miss it, because we were so focused on our preconceived notion of what we wanted.