Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I don't think I've ever seen it so clear: watching fear turn into compulsion. An hour of doubt and uncertainty -- and then an apparent subsidence -- and suddenly, like an algae bloom, compulsive desire is simply everywhere in my mind, reaching into every perception. Little eddies of it spin on the surface of every passing thought. Everything is tinged, darkened, blurred.

Half the power, at least, of this compulsion, comes from its ability to convince me that by caving into it I can get rid of it. Which is surely, demonstrably, a lie. But such a plausible one. But if I turn to look right at it -- it cringes; it doesn't like to be looked at, it's always pointing, and urging "Over there! Over there! Look at the object of desire, not at the desire itself! The desire isn't real, the object is."

No. You're lying, Mr Compulsion. The object isn't real at all. It's a figment of my imagination, a fantasy spun out of the memory of a fantasy. You, Mr Compulsion, are real, if we're going to talk real. If we're going to talk here and now. I feel you in my skin and I taste you on my tongue. This is suffering. You want the textbook example? This is it. Right here.

No wonder the prospect of getting rid of you is so appealing. So clever of you to turn that to your advantage. And it has just enough of truth to keep its power. Giving in does end the apparent suffering. For a little bit. But it sets the conditions for more suffering to come. It's like whiskey curing a hangover. Sure, it works, all right. For now. But tomorrow it'll be worse. And next year it's the DT's.

I can see it as suffering, now. Intermittently. Even in the moments of supposed enjoyment, I can feel it rasping, sometimes.

Not enough, yet, to deter me every time. But sometimes. And i don't know what else would ever deter me. Resolution and determination crumble at its first onset. They're no good. Awareness is my only reliable ally. Awareness, and habit: what the Tibetans call, so oddly, "merit."

Sugar in the gourd, boys, honey in the horn;
Balance to your partners, honey in the horn.

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