Desire vs Craving

gratification (or not)

gratification (or not) (Photo credit: romana klee)

Post 83

Gil Fronsdal, a Buddhist teacher explains that the Buddha never said desire causes suffering.  Buddha said craving causes suffering.  I’ll  put it this way:  Craving is desire on steroids.  Fronsdal tells us to investigate the difference between the two.  So I will.

Craving is chocolate covered  toffee–in any form, ice cream cookies, Heath Bars, etc..   Just thinking about it makes me salivate.  It’s a sensual pleasure with the promise of instant gratification.  Sex is sensual but cannot promise gratification and isn’t very gratifying when it is  instant  any way… Craving  money, power, control and fame is common, but takes a lot of effort as well.  but chocolate covered toffee is just waiting for us at the local store, doesn’t cost much,and  takes only a few seconds to go from wrapper to mouth.  This physicality similar to sex, of course, and in our culture what is of the body counts the most, is pursued the most.

Craving bypasses contemplation with the speed of a just shot bullet.  It starts with barely a thought, and  immediately transforms it into  a picture of an object:  the bottle of whiskey, the cake, the needle in the arm.  For some, a person becomes the  object, a thing to be consumed.

Craving burns red in the belly.

It’s a fire.

Craving demands obedience.

It’s a dictator

Craving swallows us whole and mindless.

We move like zombies in its thrall.

Craving is cavernous.

We get lost in its chambers, where it echos:  more more more.

Nothing is allowed to get in its way.  Craving won’t even let you breathe; it prefers your breath be kept knotted tightly in your throat. And there will be No Waiting.   If you wait to satisfy it, if you attempt to turn from it, it only burns hotter, shouts orders louder, promises more and more outrageous lies of final satisfaction.  It  masquerades  as  the means to peace, joy, love and even your god.  Craving is like a child having a  tantrum, screaming to be dealt even after the cause of the pain can no longer be remembered.  Craving calmed with compassion becomes a hope, a wish, a desire.

We don’t refer to the wish for love, peace and joy as a craving, but as a desire.

Like a wish,  this type of desire can be carried lightly, like a feather on a breeze. This form of desire is like the graceful  grape vines growing on my balcony, reaching toward the metal trellis imperceptibly with a gentle, natural yearning.

Craving explodes.

Desire grows, or it can stay still.

It calls, but does not demand.

It  will let you breathe.

It is not like fire, but like water that flows within its banks

This desire circles the planet, pulling us like the moon pulls the tides over and over; there is no demand it be quenched, no demand, but a wish.   This light bright desire, so full of hope,  brings tears to my eyes.

May you be happy.  A desire that eases my mind.

May you be loved.  A desire that fills my heart.

May we crave nothing and desire only the peace born of moderation, the energy of mindfulness, the fulfillment of true compassionate fellowship.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: What You Crave | Tara Woodruff ~ My Challenge
  2. Trackback: Craving Something New? | New Heaven on Earth!
  3. John
    May 11, 2012 @ 02:43:45



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 250 other followers

%d bloggers like this: