I observed something about how desires worked yesterday that was new to me. Desires aren't always discrete pieces of mind forces that are neatly compartmentalised by their object. For instance, I used to perceive that my craving for food is merely about hunger and food, but my observation yesterday informed me otherwise.
First, a skinny on what went down.
This reflection began in the morning, when I regained sufficient mindfulness to recollect how I had pursued my desires last evening. Now before I paint myself as a paragon of heedlessness, I must say I used to go by entire weeks in that state of stupor. Now, by societal measures of craziness, it wasn't anything much. I snacked a little too much in the office, hunkered down dinner a little too fast, spent a little too much time browsing videos and social media and ended up sleeping a little too late. But since I have seen reality more clearly than most others, and dedicated myself to the practice, last night was a regression.
I recalled at one point while I was heaping up on dinner, I wondered where this desire for food came from. I must be hungry. Now on reflection, that wasn't the origin of the desire.
What had kickstarted this whole chain of covetous actions was my tech sharing talk. Though it wasn't a high-stakes talk, I had pinned high expectations on it to express my intellectual curiosity, and had kicked it back a few weeks just to accomodate the difficulty of that expression. Turns out, urgencies of the day took over and I ended up really preparing the slides on the day of the talk. Anticipation had built, and when it ended, quickly let out. Subconsciously, I was relieved but also looking for dopamine hits to correspondingly reward myself.
So thus, I first scrounged for snacks in the office, and then binged on podcasts, so on and so forth. Everything I did was to alleviate that itch without scratching it directly. I guess that's one way to look at ignorance. I didn't even see that my methods of coping were missing the mark, for I was sucked into the immediacy of the cravings.
As we crept into the midnight territory, another craving converged, which was the guilt of how I'd squandered the night, and how I desperately wanted to get rid of that feeling. So on and on the merry-go-round went.
Now I look back and see these varied manifestations of cravings have the same source. Moving forward, I know now to go straight for the heart of the hydra instead.