Monday, February 11, 2013


An intense conversation with someone tonight
 (on the phone, no less, which is harder than face-to-face for me, because it's like being partially blind- you can't touch the other person, or read their facial expressions/body language, etc).
Actually, it wasn't just intense. It was
But here's the interesting thing: 
After over an hour and a half's-worth of emotional talk, during which we
went in circles
couldn't agree
couldn't see the other person's point of view
felt that we were looking for different things and we should give up...

He said what he had said many times before:
you are unhappy because you want. 
Stop wanting so much. 
You are killing yourself. 

And for the first time, I listened. 

I realized that there could be a kind of want, a hunger, that is simply... self-destructive. 
That you can desire and have ambition and the will to achieve and be happy, and that is good and can drive you forward, but
There is also a hunger that can destroy you from the inside out.
It can have razor teeth that gnaw on you and it can be a creature so ravenous that it is never satisfied. 
Nothing you do- and nothing anyone else does- will ever be enough and at the end of the day you will always be miserable.

I sat with that, in silence. I knew the truth of it.
Then I said how do you stop? Wanting?
and he said

You just stop. Meditate on it. 
The mind is a powerful thing. 

And I just sat there, listening, and strangely, I felt peace growing inside me because this was so much bigger than the two of us; it was... not the answer, but a start, and maybe the unravelling of some thorny issues that have been plaguing me for a long time. 

How do you differentiate between good desires, and the ones that are self-destructive? 
How do you train your mind to stop the nasty, rat-like gnawing? 
How do you stop wanting?

And damn it if I didn't walk away from one of the most difficult conversations ever feeling...
enlightened. Literally lighter, as if a weight had been lifted from my spirit. 

It's not the Answer- not by a long shot- but it's the right Question. 
And that's a step in the right direction. 

1 comment:

redcedar said...

We are taught in this society to want ferociously and it takes a lot of training to turn down the wanting. Whenever I feel the gnawing want (for things, to be thinner, for status, for more of god knows what I do not know myself)start to tension up my back I ground myself in my breath. That is, I take a deep breath into my core and release the want, realize what I have, feel my body connected to the ground or my chair or whatever I am touching and realize that everything I need is in that body and breath. I'm not much of a meditator, but I do believe that meditative breath and moments should be built into our lives all the time - and the more I take those moments/breaths - the less I am stuck in my head.

Perhaps that will help. It is a *practice* which means it takes time to become integrated in the self. But I've found it really helps me step back. Step back.