desire

Knowing vs feeling (impermanence, attachments, desire)

For a long time I thought it was enough to know about something spiritual, but it wasn’t necessary to feel it. For instance, I’ve known about impermanence on an intellectual level, but to experience it in your bones, that’s the difference between a finger pointing at the Moon and the Moon itself. Robin Williams spoke eloquently about this difference on the park bench in Good Will Hunting.

Another topic is desire. There’s a Buddhist monk vow that says, “Desires are endless, I vow to conquer them all.” I’m not a Buddhist monk — I dropped out of monk school because of things like cookies, margaritas, sex, and love (not to mention pain) — but recently I had the very direct feeling of desire, and it finally occurred to me that if I don’t get past it, it will still be affecting my life in 2020, 2024, and if you believe in multiple lifetimes, I’ll still be dealing with it then.

It blew me away that this feeling is thousands of miles beyond simply knowing that I have that desire. For me it’s like the distance between (a) knowing that there are glaciers in Alaska vs (b) being right there and seeing and hearing the calving.

Editor’s note: “Desire” can be cookies, margaritas, etc. — anything where there is “want” with attachment.

Use what you got alvin August 27, 2019 - 11:06am

Thought of the last day or two: "Don't let what you don't have keep you from using what you do have." (Lou Holtz) Or in my case, "Don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do."

Which reminds me of the song, Use What I Got, by Jason Aldean.

“Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing”

“Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing.”

I keep running into various versions of this quote (from sources like the Tao, Ram Dass, and Zen books), so I thought I’d share it here. All sayings like this mean that if you become like a clear mirror and view the world exactly as it is — not how your desires (and fears) want it to be — you’ll see the truth.

I am a prisoner of a thousand unsatisfied desires

“When I observe myself, I am really forced to admit that every day I am a prisoner of a thousand unsatisfied desires, or desires whose satisfaction brings me no permanent bliss.”

“So it seems that instead of endless running from one desire to another, it would be better to stop and examine the true nature of desire. If this investigation is successful, you will penetrate the nature of the true aim of all desire. What any desire really aims at is a state of non-desire.”

~ Jean Klein

The key to self-sufficiency

“I believe the key to self-sufficiency is breaking free of the mindset that someone, somewhere, owes you something and will come to your rescue.”

“Self-sufficiency,” wrote Epicurus, “is the greatest of all wealth.” Epictetus added that “wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

~ two quotes from this Farnam Street blog post

The reward in the struggle to find purpose

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” ~ Buddha

Growing up, I used to envy those people who seemed to be shot out of the womb with a purpose, like they always knew what they wanted to do. But these days I think there’s a great reward in the struggle to find that purpose.

(I seriously doubt that the Buddha actually said that, but hey, it sounds impressive, whoever said it.)

In deep zazen our true desires are revealed

“During Zazen the ego-subject can look at the ego-object, and vice-versa. We can realize that we are not so wonderful, sometimes we’re even worse than other people, because in deep zazen our true desires are revealed and we can see them fully.”

~ Taisen Deshimaru, in the book, Questions to a Zen Master

What disturbs the mind? Wanting.

“What disturbs the mind? Wanting, wanting, wanting everything.”

~ Swami Satchidananda