“THE Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.”
There was an eighty-year-old Harvard study that wanted to find out what makes people happy. The result was it was close relationships more than fame, family, power that made people happy. Close relationships.
Furthermore, they found out that close relationships led to better mental health and slower physical decline. More than anything, it was close relationships that determined the quality of life. More than genes, more than wealth, more than the trappings of the world. Let that sink in for a moment. Let us pause and look at our surroundings and ask ourselves, do these things really make me happy? Clothes? The television? The car? The house? If you wish you can open your gate and go farther. The bank account? My career? Am I truly happy with all these? The irony of it all is that the more we want something, the more we want it even more. And it shall never bring us satisfaction. We become possessed with our possessions. And like happiness, it is fleeting and temporary. If all these things will guarantee happiness why are there so many rich people who are miserable? Clearly, the answer is not in the wants and needs because they may bring temporary happiness but not joy. And it is joy that we must aspire for.
In Buddhism, there is a principle called detachment. It happens when a person overcomes his or her attachment to the things of this world thereby attaining a higher perspective of life. The person becomes essentially free because he does not want nor need anything. Not wealth, not approval, not security. By having or wanting and even needing nothing, he or she is free.
So lovely to think about and yet the reality is entirely different. We are all attached to something. And it is not only things that we find ourselves chained to. We are also prisoners of our own doubts, fears, past and future, anger, bitterness, arrogance, and weaknesses. We have addictions of all kinds. We are imprisoned in more ways than one.
But then, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Let us not mince words. Nor overthink. The Lord is our shepherd. He protects us, He shields us, He defends us. And because of that “I shall not want” of anything. The keyword there is “nothing.” I will want nothing. Wow.
And that transformation is not material or physical. Not wanting is unnatural if you are normal. Not wanting anything is normal if you are unnatural. If you are beyond our own nature. The transformation is spiritual.
Think about this awesome thing. When you do not want anything, you are free. And your Shepherd can give that.