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On Craving and Desire

May 01, 2009 - 8 comments

I'm going to sidebar today to speak about craving (but don't worry, it's very relevant to the story).

We speak of craving alot in recovery. But I don't think many people understand the concepts behind craving deeply enough to contend with the power of its force.

Craving is, by definition, the act of feeling an active desire for an object or goal that one feels the need to have in order to fulfill a need or to achieve satisfaction (happiness).

So we are in essence, speaking about desire.

Human beings have desires all the time. We actually are a conglomeration of needs and desires. We spend our days in attempts to fulfill these desires.

There are two types of desires. Short term, easily obtained desires that give immediate gratification and long term, difficult to obtain desires.

The problem is when focus shifts too far towards the long term desires, the short term desires will often begin to lose the power to give temporary satiation and satisfaction.

Long term desires are distant future goals. Our thinking becomes shifted and seated entirely in the future.

The result of this? People begin to look for even quicker ways to fulfil immediate desire.

But in the end, it still fails. Because the FOCUS is still on the long term larger desires that remain unfulfilled.

They lose the ability to achieve short term desire fulfillment and remain in a state that is unhappy and unsatisfied.

The irony here is even should a person fulfill his or her long term desires and goals, they still remain, in the long run unfulfilled.

Because you need that short term desire fulfillment. It's essential to a person's survival.

But you've already unwittingly trained yourself out of the habit of recognizing and achieving short term desires. Ironically, you've also trained yourself out of the habit of recognizing the fulfillment of long term desires.

Which leaves a person pretty screwed. ;-)

This was one of the simplest yet hardest lessons I myself had to learn.

The first step of this is to shift your thinking from the future to the present. Stop dwelling on the past. You have to learn to live in the present at first.
Open your eyes and mind to the world around you. If you spend time just observing the world around you, you will find that you can begin to have appreciation for little things of seemingly no consequence that APPEAR to have no relation to your everyday life.

But they do. Everything is interconnected. By existing just in the present, just in the now, you can begin to reconnect with the world in a way you never have before. You will belong in a way you have never felt before. This brings a fulfillment of desire that is unmatched by any drug, car ownership, job... anything mere possession or task. It is subtle and hard to recognize at first, because you are unused to it. But the more you come to awareness of it, the greater the sense of fulfillment you will get from it.

Everything is interconnected, and you are a part of it.

There's an old quote from a book that I took to heart. A human is commiserating with his wolf companion about all his hopes and desires that have fallen in failure and remained unfulfilled.

The wolf doesn't understand the problem. He says;

"Why can't you just be happy with what you have? The sun is warm on your skin, this grass is comfortable to sleep on. Our bellies are full on our recent kill. What more could there be to life than that?"

His companion complains; "I don't think you can understand this. Being a human being is very complicated."

The wolf replies; "Be a Wolf. It's much easier."

So try living in the present for a time. Learn the simple pleasure of the world you are a part of. Shut down your train of thought.

Be a Wolf.

It's much easier than being a human.

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306867 tn?1299249709
by allaboutmary, May 01, 2009
Really enjoying these.  Please keep em coming.
Now I'm off to be a wolf (well maybe a dog, wolves sound scary)lol

306867 tn?1299249709
by allaboutmary, May 06, 2009
I think your due to make another journal entry. lol

306867 tn?1299249709
by allaboutmary, May 06, 2009
No pressure.

885702 tn?1240942263
by BaronMunchausen, May 06, 2009
Heh heh... Aiiieee!!! Too much pressure. Must not...argh...can't fight the desire... MUST EAT BRAINS!!!

:-)  Okay, nag me already. I've got one in the making but i got sidetracked with the bloody laundry and cleaning today. My wife would kil me if she heard this but she's TERRIBLE at housework. We're talking six months of catch up here!!! :-)

460185 tn?1326077772
by lonewolf07, May 06, 2009
It sounds like a cat chasing his tail.  He wants to catch it but when he does, he bites it and hurts himself.

YES - definitely everything is connected.  That's been a Native believe ever since we came into being.

You think it's easy being a wolf?  Try it sometime  lol  Chasing our prey around the ghetto and when we finally catch our prey - he gets arrested and the wolf either goes hungry or is arrested too as an accomplice to the crime.  Nobody ever grooms our hair either like they do with poodles.  This is wolf discrimination  lol

452063 tn?1324074916
by corey411, May 06, 2009
Great post. Also sums up Buddhist beliefs as well as most Eastern religions. Ever read "Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle? Best book I ever read. As addicts we all seem to have a strong need to escape the now (present moment). I think that it's one of our major downfalls.  God bless, Corey

452063 tn?1324074916
by corey411, May 06, 2009
I have a cat and his tail story:o}.
A young kitten was franticly chasing his tail when an old mellow cat, lying in the sun ,asked him what he was attempting to gain by this. The young kitten replied, "I am chasing my tail because I have been told that this is where true happiness exists and all I have to do is catch it to be happy".
The wise old cat agreed that  true happiness does reside in your tail. He told the young kitten of the many years he had spent running in circles to catch his tail so he could be happy.
"What happened?" the young kitten asked.
I grew tired, weary and so unhappy after chasing my tail every day year after year that I gave up. I thought that I would have to live with being unhappy for the rest of my life and never find the happiness in my tail. Funny thing is that as soon as I stopped chasing it, (happiness) It has just followed me around wherever I go.

885702 tn?1240942263
by BaronMunchausen, May 08, 2009
Heh heh... wolfs have rights too! And the Wolf philosophy of not catching your prey is "You can't win 'em all."

I never did read that book, but I've read a number of eastern religion books that have been an influence on me. ironically, the book that was the greatest influence on me (middle eastern style) was
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". by Pirsig.
He presents his "Metaphysics of Quality" in it which is a fascinating philosophy. I largely agree with the thesis he presented on what "Quality" is.

That's a good story, corey. I like the imagery and can relate to it.

It reminds me of the classic;

A young bull and an old bull are standing on a grassy knoll looking down at a herd of cows. The young bull says;

"Hey pop, lets run down  there and screw one of those cows!"

The Older, wiser bull says;

"No son. Let's WALK down there and screw all of them." :-)

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