We say we want to progress, spiritually, intellectually, physically, socially. We want to move forward to a better future, we want the Truth to be revealed, we want Life to open up her Eternal Source of miracles and bathe us in Abundance.
How badly do we want it? How intense is our thirst?
In the book Essential Sufism, edited by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, a story is told about a man who came to know true thirst.
A man wished to see the Prophet in a dream, but he could never achieve this vision, no matter how hard he tried. He asked a saint for advice. The saint said, “My son, on Friday evening you must eat a lot of salted fish, then perform your prayer and go to bed without drinking any water. Then you will see.”
The man followed this advice. He spent the whole night dreaming that he was drinking from streams, fountains, and springs. When morning came, he ran crying to the saint. “O Master, I did not see the Prophet. I was so thirsty that all I dreamed about was drinking from fountains and springs. I am still on fire with thirst.” The saint told him, “So, eating salted fish gave you such a thirst that you dreamed all night long of nothing but water. Now you must feel such a thirst for God’s Prophet, and you will then behold his blessed beauty!” — Sheikh Muzaffer
We whine and we wish and we hold out some hope. But how badly do we thirst for the things we say are our heart’s dearest desire? Do we long for them so intensely that our dreams are filled with nothing but their fulfillment? Do we feel the deep pit of longing within our very bones, the emptiness pulling like a black hole at the world to extract and draw to us that which we feel we cannot live without?
Seems like a good way to weed out the petty wants from the true goals of our lives; a desire is either worth cultivating an intense thirst for so that it consumes our entire lives, or it should be left by the side of the road while we move on.