An excerpt from Stephen Levine’s A Gradual Awakening. This Chapter is called The Wanting Mind.
…seeing the scope of my wantings showed me how deeply and subtly dissatisfaction created my personal world, and that seeing freed me from much grasping, from thinking that all my wants had to be satisfied, that i had to compulsively respond to everything that arose in my mind. I saw that things can be a certain way without needing to be acted on or judged or even pushed aside. They can simply be observed.
Gradually, seeing the unsatisfactory nature of much of the content of mind was opening a path of freedom. When we see that what we’re grasping is on fire, we stop reaching for it. Slowly, the mind is reconditioned to see what it is doing.
And as we discover there are many ways that desires cause dissatisfaction. There are for instance, things we only get once in a while, or which don’t stay for long. There are also things we get and after we get them we don’t want -which is really disconcerting.
…nothing can be permanently satisfy us because not only does the thing we want change, but our wants change too. Everything is changing all of the time. Can we thing of any pain in our life that was not caused by change? But when we deeply experience this flux we don’t recoil in fear of what might be coming but rather begin to open to how things are. We don’t get lost in fatalistic imaginings or ‘nothing matters’ nihilism, but instead recognize that everything matters equally.
…And we watch without judging ourselves for wanting. We don’t impatiently want to be rid of wanting. We simply observe it. Each moment of non-wanting is a moment of freedom. Mindfulness allows that non-wanting. Mindfulness allows addictive thinking and behaviors to change.
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