The Rabbit Hole of Desire
I want. I woke up this morning with a feeling of wanting. Desiring. It's overwhelming and I want to make the feeling (as delicious as it is) stop. I think that what I want is the thing that will make the feeling stop, the object of my desire, but I wonder if I could just make the wanting stop, without the object of my desire, would I be satisfied?
I found through Brain Pickings (a favourite of mine) this wonderful collection of posters by Erin Hanson. The one that made me laugh out loud this morning says, "It's hard to do the right thing when there is syrup involved." The posters are sweet, humorous, poignant. Some of them make me laugh. Some of them make me uncomfortable because they hit the nail a little too squarely on the head.
My mother says that children, "want to want." I would take my kids out shopping when they were little and they would be constantly asking for things, anything that caught their eye. Sometimes they would scream for it, this ridiculous little thing that they'd never heard of before they'd seen it a moment before, and the wanting of this thing would evaporate as soon as something else caught their eye. It was as though there was a wanting that needed to be answered, and anything would do.
This feeling I understand comes from needing. There are things that we need: Maslow categorized them well for us. When we are hungry, and we want to eat, it's because we need food to survive. But when this familiar feeling spills over to things that are unnecessary, it takes discernment and discipline to control it.
I've been going through the Yamas and Niyamas with my kids. We've been doing it slowly, trying to integrate these ideas into life. The next one on the list is Bramacharya. In a monastic setting, this refers to taking oaths of celibacy; in a marriage it would refer to fidelity. But it has further implications. It's about living simply with what you need, about self-control and being satisfied with what you have. I know that this is the next Yama, and I've been unconsciously avoiding it because I don't want to admit that I struggle with this.
Writing this this morning has lessened my wanting. And that's good. But it's still there, under the surface, a small ache. I know I haven't nailed it yet, but I'm working on it. Who knows, I may just give in and buy those shoes. At least if I do, I'll have a better understanding about who I am when I do it.
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