Good day, team,
The other day I walked into my walk-in closet (which I had to have built because
my other closet was way too small) and looked at all the clothes hanging there.
I saw the bright pink sweater I’ve never worn and remembered the craving I
experienced when I bought it. I just had to have it! I looked down at the bright
gold stiletto sandals on the floor and reflected on how I’ve worn them only
once, at my friend’s wedding reception, and nearly damaged my ankles permanently
by dancing in them. And really, how many pairs of black pants or blue jeans can
one woman wear? I thought about all the craving and aversion that closet
represents and how much space it takes up in my life.
This time of year, the world seems like one big advertisement, creating lots of
craving for holiday gifts. But what happens once we satisfy that craving? We
then react with a predictable aversion to having so much stuff! After all the
gifts have been opened, we’re left with a mess of trash that we have to recycle.
Sometimes I feel as though craving and aversion act on me like waves on the
seashore. When I want something, the desire builds in me like a wave as it comes
crashing toward the beach, the water rushing up into the dry sand. And then in
the next moment, my aversion is the receding wave, pulling me away from the
shoreline, so to speak, taking all the shells and pebbles—the trinkets and
baubles of my desires—with it as it pulls back into the wider sea.
This repetitive cycle makes me yearn for simplicity. (Am I craving yet again?) I
envy the Dalai Lama. His entire wardrobe consists of two robes, one pair of
shoes and one pair of sandals. He’s not plagued by the question “Should I wear
the gold stilettos or the purple flats?” I would imagine that he is troubled by
other things, but he probably doesn’t lose his inner peace over what shoes to wear.
This week, try seeing what happens when you crave something and when you
experience aversion. Maybe you have a lot of trouble with one particular
colleague. Or perhaps you’re craving a new job or a promotion or just sweet
things to eat. Lately I’ve been craving homemade chocolate chip cookies, but I’m
afraid to make them, knowing I’ll eat too many and then have the predictable
aversion to the few pounds I might gain. Perhaps you just have to have a new
car, or an expensive watch, or a better house, etc. See what happens when your
craving starts to take over and verges on becoming an obsession.
Pay particular attention to these states as they rise up and fall away. Does it
make you feel better to satisfy your craving? Or do you find that once you’ve
satisfied one craving, another quickly rises up. What happens when you feel the
opposite, for example, when you receive the credit card bill that reflects the
results of satisfying your craving?
If you find, as I have, that craving and aversion make you feel like you’re
being pushed and pulled by outside forces, try letting these states pass before
you act on them. Allowing a craving to pass before I give in to it also saves me
from having to feel any aversion afterward.
As Bishop Thomas Wilson said, “The fewer desires, the more peace.”
Have a good week!
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