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Craving April 13, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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Since I returned from the retreat I have been slowly but steadily working with a lot of things in  my practice. There are quite a few things that were causing suffering for me before the retreat, but I didn’t have the confidence to transform them or work with them. Now I feel like I have a lot more strength and determination to face my suffering and transform it.

One thing that I have been noticing for the past while has been a lot of craving arising and creating a lot of difficulties. First off, I will say that overall, I am pretty health-conscious and have a healthy diet. Nevertheless, I have a…bit?…of a sweet tooth, and can fall into some pretty bad habits of eating sweets. So these past few weeks I have been eating sweets (candies, chocolate bars, cookies, desserts, etc.) at least once a day. It’s not making me terribly unhealthy, but I notice the effect it has on my consciousness. I feel like I am not being kind or gentle to my body or treating it well. I also find a lot of fear and guilt in my mind, not to mention the craving itself, that plants some negative seeds in me.

I remember quite a while ago coming across an article or book excerpt online by Thay that discussed craving specifically. I am so happy I came across this and that my spiritual tradition has teachings like this that are so direct and applicable to my daily life. Thay discussed how craving is not happiness, even though it wants you to believe it will provide satisfaction. When applied to food, this means that the craving is trying to tell me that eating the candy will provide me with satisfaction, when in reality it won’t. I won’t be truly satisfied, but instead it will only feed the craving further, and the craving will come back later. So by giving into the craving, I am only continuing an endless process.

Over the past few days, I have been feeling more and more exasperated with trying to deal with this, and finally have built up the courage to tackle it head-on. I really do see craving as quite a negative mental formation, and not something that I would like to have any more. I have been trying to look deeply into it and see that the craving is made of fear. I am afraid a state of being tempted to have something to satisfy my sweet tooth but not being able to get that satisfaction.

I know how to use my mindfulness techniques to transform craving into more positive states: transform fear into equanimity when I see that these feelings arise, are present briefly, and eventually pass away. All I have to do is tackle the craving head on, face my fears, and fully experience the craving in the moment. I feel like I can do this with the confidence and faith I’ve gained from the retreat.

I know how to do it, the question is can I put these skills and tools to practice in the moment when craving arises?

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