Where does true satisfaction lie if it’s not found in our cravings?
My favorite dessert is a brownie. Now insert your favorite dessert, food, alcohol or shopping spree that seems to at first bring you happiness and satisfaction. Have you experienced difficulty or that dis-ease and you needed another bite or another drink? Shortly thereafter, one bite or one piece of cake does not fill you up or it becomes boring and your mind craves something else, or for it to be different? Better yet, the credit card arrives and we feel the excruciating pain of digging ourselves out of a proverbial hole. You can find a new relationship, new car, or state to move to, but happiness still evades us or seems to slip through our fingers. Sometimes getting all of these things can be a problem because you realize, there is a lack of satisfaction.
What if we have one more bite of that cake? Will we feel better?
All of the wisdom traditions speak of attachment. Buddha identified craving and attachment as causes of unhappiness, also known as “suffering” or dukkah. That all too familiar feeling of wanting things to be different than what it is. We begin to eat, drink, or shop more as if taking one more bite or drink will numb out that discomfort that lies within, or take away a painful experience. At the end of the day, there we are standing in front of our own mirror and looking at all parts of ourselves with a bloated stomach, extra weight, or broken-heartedness from eating the wrong damn thing. What next? How do we find our mental composure or equanimity?
If you have already guessed it, the true work can only happen inside when you stop looking outside. Instead of pointing the finger outside and making the excuse as to why you drank yourself silly or ate the tray of brownies, bring the finger back to you and begin again with an awake and open heart. It is always our own stuff.
What creates this feeling of unhappiness and unsatisfactoriness?
Unhappiness comes from non-fulfillment of desires. In the “Course in Miracles,” the absence of love is fear. Love is our natural state so we hide behind cravings to not work on our inner selves.
How do we cope and begin to recognize our cravings? How do we learn that thing outside of us is not going to fix the unsatisfaction that can creep up in different stages of our lives?
We begin to look at our cravings. Maybe it is the brownie, or glass (or two) of wine, cheesecake, or shopping spree. We begin to relate to our lives in the rawest sense. Craving quick sugars or substituting your vice, it may seem like a good solution to reach for that thing but we can only experience these things if we are in a stable state. There is no judgment as we begin to bring ourselves back to our own personal path. Take a breath, it is none of our business why someone is the way they are, and seeking a solution outside yourself will not fill your own cup of happiness.
Can I have one more bite?
Stress and desire can overtake our lives when we are not aware of our unique patterns or samsara. When we truly look at all parts of our life, then food and habits do not become our anger or comfort. We can begin to celebrate life for what it is. It should not replace other emotions apart from what we are “eating.” Unless we work out our other issues, these patterns will continue.
Sit in the discomfort and know you will be ok. You are not your desires, you are your deep peace.
"The only thing that is certain is uncertainty," is what my teacher told me.
Like a hot coal in your hands, you can drop it and take a breath. It IS ok to sit in discomfort and not reach for that thing, person, or anything outside of yourself to feel better.
You can rest in the pause and begin to make decisions using your intellect and with conscious awareness. Recognizing you are whole and complete can be a life practice and it is ok.
We show up each and every time for that moment, meeting it fresh. We have to start using our intellect and truly get into our bodies to live a more present and awake life. It is our life’s work/dharma to see experiences as just that, life experiences. Learning to judge ourselves and others as just is. No judgment.
My advice to you, before taking another bite of the dessert, drink, next job, or relationship, take the pause, make conscious choices. As you begin to develop a better relationship with yourself and clarity happens, one day as you look at it and truly see it for what it is, just sugar, the craving becomes less and it will not impact you as much. One brownie may be ok, but that decision will be made from a place of clarity and peace. If you regret it or not, you can revisit the decision with clarity and be strong. Whatever you say or think, is a direct reflection of your inner being. What someone else says is a reflection of the other self.
Desires and sensations can be experienced on the yoga mat or on the cushion. We practice sitting in sensations and we see them arise and pass. Curious? See our schedule for guided meditations and yoga classes.
During the course of our lives, we look for ways to get out of discomfort instead of directly sitting in it. We spend most of our lives finding ways to hide out, avoid, or circumvent our deepest emotions, fear, or shame. When young we had to develop coping mechanisms when things didn't feel good around us. Perhaps this was in our environment; maybe a parent was absent or did not support us or something simply happened, a loss, breakup that created a feeling that was hard to be with. We develop many different ways of coping.
What are your cravings? Can you identify the ways you escape or hide out? What are some goals you can create for yourself to develop a better relationship with them? Please feel free to comment or message me with your story.
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