The things we crave
Yesterday I put a Buddhist quote in my entry that referenced the five negative cravings we mistake for power. I don’t want these things but it got me thinking about what we do want as we find ourselves in a severely constricted world. I saw a picture of a dirt road running through a beautiful wood and thought, I want to be there.
It was a momentary thing but the image sticks with me. It’s not that easy for me to get to the country right now and today there is a driving cold rain and blasts of wind outside. An inhospitable April showers day. Which is a good day for writing, working, and putting a loaf of sourdough into a hot oven first thing in the morning. Crave worthy.
My work dried up for the first month and then started flowing in again. I feel fortunate to have it, as much to occupy me as to pay bills, which are pretty minimal. We have been eating very well as both L and I are experienced cooks and good at making serious meals out of whatever we have on hand. So, no food cravings.
The first craving I’m hearing from friends, mostly solo people, is intimacy, just being able to get close to others without fear. It is a strange world without this essential need. It is related to sex but not defined by it. There is intimacy in being in a bustling public place with others, whether it’s a bar or a concert or just a cafe with a cappuccino, surrounded by people working and talking. I’m definitely missing those things.
I don’t miss going into an office. My relationship with the workplace has never been one of comfort. I see too much waste in these places when people are not being used to their potential because of rules and concepts that are almost feudal. I have spent at least half my working life working independent of these places and do not see one in my future.
There are two places I go that I do crave, though they are not always easy. The first is my meditation practice, sitting on a cushion or a bench and watching the flow of thoughts while returning to the breath when they wander too far. This is not easy but something comes of it.
The second place is here, in the mindset that I’m in when I write, regardless of what I’m writing. It has been a lifesaver these past weeks to immerse myself in paid work, writing these little snapshots, or wrestling with a novel that feels good one day and sometimes not. It’s a place I go to comfortably now- writing has never felt difficult to me, though as I get older I understand how little I know about what makes it work.
The thoughts of the Buddha’s cravings, wealth, fame, sex, fancy food, and lots of sleep, elude me, though the sleep part sounds great and I do occasionally like fancy food! I think it is the reasons why we desire these things that get people in trouble.
I probably can’t get to that road through a wood today but it is on my bucket list. I’ll settle for a walk over to the Zen Center garden and a cool sit amongst the Japanese maples and gravel paths. The road in the woods is there, in any case.