08/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Can't Buy Me Love

Have you ever really wanted something in your life? Something you put all your heart into achieving? What happened when you finally achieved it? Was there a rush of adrenaline? A feeling of triumph? Ok. Then what happened? Chances are, you started working towards a new goal. Maybe something more challenging.

It seems that no matter what we achieve, it is never enough. There is always something more. Got the car of your dreams? Now you need two. Why are we always waiting for something more?

Most of us spend our entire lives waiting. It has become such a habit, that even when the things we are waiting for (the promotion, the marriage, the children) finally arrive, we are incapable of enjoying them in their entirety - we are too busy waiting for something else (retirement, the vacation, the divorce.) this is because we don't really know what we want. We think we want things, but in reality, we want to feel satisfied. We think we want something that is coming in the future, but in reality, we simply do not want to confront our reality and embrace the present moment. This moment, right now, is the only thing we ever have. The rest is speculation and illusion, but it is here in the present where life is actually lived. If we are incapable of embracing the perfection of this moment, we are incapable of enjoying life. In reality, it does not matter how much we achieve materially; if we are rich but unable to be present, we will simply have achieved a more expensive form of misery.

On my journey as a spiritual teacher, I have taught billionaires, actresses, businessmen and jet setters. Of course they have material freedom, but not fulfillment. We only have to look at our celebrities to see that material wealth does not bring happiness - the countless cases of celebrity depression, substance abuse and broken relationships are well known to us all.

Material wealth is overrated. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it; it's just never enough. We live our lives as if we are in a race, chasing the proverbial carrot into infinity. We are always trying to get somewhere; if not a physical place, then at least an emotional or mental one; beneath it all is the desire to be anywhere but here.

What is so bad about what we have already? When we are truly present, we realize that the answer is... nothing. We realize that in reality, we are not running towards happiness; we are running away from ourselves. For this is the crux of the matter. That which we cannot bear to face in this moment is our own dissatisfaction. It is the hole within ourselves, the feeling of incompletion, that we are avoiding so persistently. But the trouble is, it doesn't matter where you go, there you will be. You will always be with yourself. You can amass achievements, by all means, but until you go inwards and begin to address the separation you feel within yourself, your hunger will never be satiated.

You can create what you want in your life. And then, when you have what you thought you wanted, you can again create whatever you feel is still missing. You can go on doing this forever, until finally you find that it will never be enough. That is when the real adventure begins; the joy of discovering your true self. Loving yourself is ultimately the only solution to discontent, and that comes from expanding internal love-consciousness; an innocence, peace and joy that we had when we were children. To start embracing ourselves exactly as we are, letting go of the things that we don't like, and polishing the aspects that we admire and enjoy, until we feel such an intrinsic joy that bubbles up from within, for no apparent reason. This joy, this love, will be mirrored externally, and it will reflect in all our relationships. We will start perceiving magic and beauty in the present moment, instead of discontent, yearning and eternal searching.

When you love yourself unconditionally, your attachment to money and the material changes completely. Ironically, when that happens, you attract everything in absolute abundance. Yet your focus is no longer on that; your focus is on the love. Maybe you'll find you won't want as much as you thought you wanted. Maybe you'll want things to be a lot more simple.

Like Siddhartha, whose privileged life in the palace was not enough, there is a yearning that cannot be satisfied by the material. What was Siddhartha looking for? Truth. Love. To understand. To experience union. Ultimately, we will all want for the same.