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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stirring Up Desires

Human thoughts tend to be manipulations of memories associated with either anxieties or desires.  We either want things or want to avoid things.  

When we start running into trouble is when our desires are not met by what is healthy (i.e. what we really want) but by what is unhealthy.  If we continue to treat healthy desires with unhealthy replacements, we can develop a taste for what is unhealthy.  Our minds will soon tell us that we want the unhealthy thing.

To want or to desire is not unnatural, and so overcoming our nature is really a futile task.  No matter how hard you try, you will always want something, because we are meant to absorb and emit the things we receive.  What I mean is that you will always desire water because your body is always losing water.  You will always want to love someone because you will always want to be loved.  Human beings have bad gaskets: we leak.

I saw this story in the news and thought I would share it because it talks about how stirring up desires through the media (as an example) can lead to acting out:

If we 'absorb' things by taking them into us and contemplating them, eventually they will come out.  By taking in this imagery and stirring up the natural desire for sex, even when it is not appropriate, eventually the activity will come out.

This is why addicts do much better avoiding places and imagery of abuse.  An alcoholic who hangs out in bars and watches people 'have a good time' can eventually stir up that craving for fun that he had when he drank (at least for a time), which will eventually lead to a relapse.  In AA groups, alcoholics talk about those experiences, but also in light of the later suffering.  Successfully sober people don't dwell just on the fun parts of drinking.

Sobriety means not feeding healthy desires for love and security with the craving for escape into abuse.  It also means we should watch what we put into ourselves, so as not to unnecessarily stir the pot of desires.  Daily life is hard enough.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, didn't even realize I had a desire. I knew I had a will, but a desire seems to be different, at least the way I am used to thinking. I view the will as the driving force behind actions/attitude. But the desire seems to be what it is that you actually want, or why you will something. Seems more hidden, more in the subconscious, but it shouldn't be. And it seems that the evil one mostly tries to bind us to a desire, either running away from something (fears) or towards something (unnatural desires); both exaggerations, things that we don't need at all -- desire is built into our being, but if left as it is, it does not run either from, nor towards something, just waits for God to move it. I think it is good to ask ourselves what our desires are; we might find that we didn't even know we had desires, that we were just sort of moving along, but even desire for God can be a bad desire if it manifests itself out of fear or obsessive need for something (such as fundamentalist religion). Since our struggle is first with thoughts, I think we could say that we get thoughts because of uncured desires. The whole thing is to abandon ourselves to God, but selfish desires are in the way.