Craving


Centre_of_wheel_of_lifeI’ve been back home from my trip for six days now, and it was hard at first to get settled back into my life here. I don’t live in the worst place in the world (far from it actually) but I do wish that this place was more cosmopolitan, and “worldly”. There’s nothing wrong with Americans (well, nothing much wrong, heh) but it gets tiresome when you hardly ever meet anybody else from a foreign country. I also miss having decent conversations with people about real, meaningful things. I have found that Americans (well, at least the ones here in this state) prefer to keep things on a nice and civil superficial level all the time. Perhaps the fault is mine (am I just too intense?) but why do people never talk about their thoughts and feelings? Why is it so hard to get to know an American? Sometimes I wonder if there is even anything to get to know. I am aware, by the way, that this is a huge generalization, so there’s no need to berate me in the comments section. Yes, I know there are cool Americans out there! But I do think that my general impression is correct.

But, whatever, I digress. The main point I wanted to make in this post is that my trip out of town led to one of my all-too-familiar bouts of feeling dissatisfied with my life and myself. Ever since I arrived in this city in 2004, I’ve been plotting my escape. I’ve always wanted to move to New York City, but, well, for various reasons (some grounded in reality, some fear-based), I never did. But instead of throwing myself heart-and-soul into life in this city, I’ve sort of stayed on the sidelines, thinking to myself “This place is not for me”. You know what? I’m right, it’s not. I will never feel at home here; I can spend nine days in NYC and feel more connected and at home there than I ever have to this place in the nine years I’ve spent here. I should leave this city, no doubt about it. But, nonetheless, I could have definitely enjoyed my time here more than I did. It has always felt like a limbo, somewhere I just happened to be until something better came along.

I feel that this could be a metaphor for my life. I have an complete inability to live in the moment. Even when I’m doing something enjoyable (like this – blogging), I’m worrying about what I need to get done afterwards. Happiness is, for me, something that will only happen in the future when circumstances have aligned so that everything in my life is perfect: perfect creativity; perfect spirituality; perfect relationship; perfect body; perfect house; perfect city…and on..and on. This craving for perfection is ruining my life.

I haven’t meditated since before going on my trip, but I plan to meditate for thirty minutes right after this blog post. I’m kinda hoping that meditation/buddhism will help me learn how to enjoy the moment. But  having this thought just leads to a whole different kind of worry. You’re not supposed to get into meditation/Buddhism with the idea that you’ll get something out of it, are you?! (Lazy Buddhist, thoughts?) Isn’t this just a form of Spiritual Materialism?! According to the Wikipedia entry on Spiritual Materialism, it is:

Spiritual materialism is the belief that a certain temporary state of mind is a refuge from suffering. An example would be using meditation practices to create a peaceful state of mind, or using drugs or alcohol to remain in a numbed out or a blissful state. According to Trungpa, these states are temporary and merely heighten the suffering when they cease. So attempting to maintain a particular emotional state of mind as a refuge from suffering, or constantly pursuing particular emotional states of mind like being in love, will actually lead to more long term suffering.

Now, as a Sex and Love Addict, I totally agree that craving the high of being in love just leads to more suffering, but is it really so bad for me to come to meditation/Buddhism with the  desire that I will eventually manage to calm down my crazy thoughts? True, this desire is egotistical in that I want to make my life better, but I would also like to be a better person so that everybody around me benefits, too. I fail to see how anybody could end up following a Buddhist path without having had some desire to change themselves for the better. Maybe I’m wrong-headed but why would I plonk myself down on my arse for thirty-minutes to an hour each day for no fucking reason? Hell yeah I want to get something out of it!

Sheesh. Apparently I have a craving to stop the craving. :-/

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9 thoughts on “Craving

  1. singram1028 May 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm Reply

    Wow! Great post! So much of it really resonated with me. And while I am an American Ifeel as you do about most of my fellow countrymen / women.

    I think the thing with desire for a ceasing of craving is “healthy” craving! It’s true that eventually ALL craving must be given up if one is to achieve “englightenment” (but what is enlightenment anyway?). So I think to get started it’s cool! Until I reach a much more advanced stage (I’m suffering a lot today!) I look at the reason to meditate is not so much “get something out of it” but rather leave something through it! I meditate to reduce! A reduction in over-identifying with my thoughts (thinking they’re somehow “mine” or (even worse) thinking they’re somehow “true!”).I’m struggling in a much smaller city than where I lived in Texas. When I was in Plano I was a member of a solid SLAA group and belonged to two and sometimes three sanghas! Now I’m in the midst of the Bible belt! I’m withering here! I’ve found no SLAA groups (and unfortunatelyI have relapsed, hard!) and so far I’ve also found no Buddhists or meditation centers of any sort! I can’t stay here much longer! I’m new to the world of blogging and I’d hate to violate “blogger etiquette” by posting a link here to a post I wrote about “why I meditate” – is there some unspoken “blogger-protocol” or etiquette?

    I look forward to reading your other posts and future posts.

    Namaste,

    • petrichoric May 4, 2013 at 8:55 am Reply

      Hello, singram1028! Thanks for stopping by, and welcome! I’m glad that you’ve taken up blogging. It’s been one of the most helpful things for me over the years. It lets me get out my feelings and frustrations, and I love connecting with people online. You don’t get that from just writing in a paper journal. 🙂

      No, it would not at all be a breach of blogger “etiquette” to post a link to the post you mentioned. In fact, blogging is all about sharing writing, and making connections, I think. So, feel free to post your link! I look forward to reading what you have written.

      I’m sorry that you haven’t found any SLAA meetings in your area. Have you thought about attending one of the phone meetings? I know it’s not the same thing as going to a meeting in the flesh, but it’s better than nothing.

      I like what you said about meditating to “reduce”. That definitely makes sense. If I only only shut off some of the thoughts in my head for a split second, that would be an achievement!

      • singram1028 May 4, 2013 at 11:08 am Reply

        Here’s the post I did entitled “Questions from a Beginning Meditator” – would love any and all feedback.

        http://wp.me/pCHKi-U

        Thanks so much for the warm and generous welcome. I really have started to let it “all hang out” with my blog posts but I’ve not advertised it at all. I’m kind of scared to at present!

        I’ve yet to try a “phone meeting.” Can you recommend one? (We can arrange a private mailing if that’s not something you care to post…) I have joined two different Yahoo mailing groups but there are so many emails that I quickly gave up on reading all of them. I need to accept what is or busy myself creating a meeting place of my own in this little town; I believe it’s large enough to support such a thing.

        Yes to reducing! I think I may start a little ritual – which is probably something I should do more often anyway for hygienic reason if nothing else – of taking my zabuton (the one bottom is the zabuton right? I frequentlyconfuse zafu / zabuton) outside once a week or so and shake off the dust and all the negative stuff I’ve “left” on my cushion during the previous week’s sessions. It’s a ritual to be sure but one I think I could get behind. So when I sit, I sit with the idea of “leaving stuff on the cushion” rather than “taking anything away from the sit.” This reminds me of a verse from the Tao Te Ching (which I think I included in the post I referenced above.)

        Peace,

        • petrichoric May 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm Reply

          Hello again! Sorry for taking so long to respond to this comment. Sometimes it takes me forever to get around to doing things. Thank you also for the link to your blog post for beginner meditators. Ironically, I had read that post before you even gave me the link; I found it the day I wrote my own post about being a beginning meditator, and I found it really helpful, as it answered a lot of the questions I had. 🙂

          As regards advertising your blog, well, you don’t really need to do that if you don’t want to. If people like what you’ve written when they check out your blog, they’ll usually add your blog to their blog roll, which is exactly what I did. So, that way you get some advertising without having to do much!

          You asked about phone meetings. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever attended a phone meeting. I think I did attend an online meeting once many years ago. So far, the only meeting I go to is a women’s only face-to-face meeting here in town. But that’s only once per week. I probably should think about doing an online/phone meeting. This link will take you to a list of the times for online/phone meetings:

          http://www.slaafws.org/meetings

          How did the meditating outside go? I haven’t meditated a single day this week. It’s so hard for me to get into a routine. 😦

      • singram1028 May 4, 2013 at 11:33 am Reply

        BTW, I loved your description on “spiritual materialism” it concisely and more elegantly stated what I was trying to say in my response to the question about “the meditatvie state.”

        • petrichoric May 11, 2013 at 9:01 pm Reply

          Actually I think the description of Spiritual Materialism you’re referring to is the Wikipedia entry on that topic. 🙂 I wish I was that eloquent! 🙂

  2. williamx May 4, 2013 at 12:58 am Reply

    I was just talking about how upset it makes me that ‘America’ and ‘Americans’ have such a low interest and are so uninteresting, so . . comical. I am a patriot, oddly enough, and a combat veteran. I love this country. Yet it embarrasses me so . . . we’re fat and stupid and provincial. Damn . . .

    • petrichoric May 4, 2013 at 9:03 am Reply

      Yeah, there is so much about America that *could* be great. It’s amazing to me how so many different types of people from all over the world ended up here. I love the fact that there are so many different races, cultures, religions and languages. There are not all that many countries like that. America could be, should be, the most tolerant and open-minded country in the world, and yet in so many ways I find Americans to be extremely intolerant and closed-off to difference. Again, this is a huge generalization, but I think there’s a lot of truth to it. It blows my mind that some of my wealthier clients will ask me if my neigbourhood is “safe”. They don’t tell me why they’re asking but I know it’s because my part of town has (gasp!) black and Hispanic people. How can you grow up in the US, and live in this city, and yet not be comfortable with different parts of town, or people who look different from you, or who are a different social class?!

      But, well, maybe this is just human nature. We probably all prefer to stick with our own kind since that makes us feel more comfortable.

      • singram1028 May 4, 2013 at 11:17 am Reply

        The “ideals” behind America were (are!) great. Our realization of these ideals has deviated signifcantly wide of the mark the founding fathers had intended. When I read about them I am filled with hope and optimism. When I think of how we’ve started torturing people (some of whom might very well be innocent – a point that many seem to want to be willfully ignorant of) or detaining people indefinitely or occupying a city like Boston over two freaking kids running around, I’m saddened by just how just how far from their vision we’ve managed to come because of “fear.” To sacrifice some “civil liberties” (how slippery you imagine that slope might be?) for a “little more security” is to be left with neither – I can’t remember who said that first but I think it might be true. I’m saddened by those who’s only response seems to be “America love it or leave it!” What foolishness! Or those that would outlaw the burning of the Amerian flag! The best reason to NOT burn the flag is because we can! To legistate such forms of “protest” reflects a deep and abiding confusion of symbol and reality – IMO.

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