Author Topic: Desire vs. Clinging  (Read 2699 times)

BeHereNow

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Desire vs. Clinging
« on: September 23, 2016, 02:49:48 PM »
I've been reading Phillip Moffitt's Dancing with Life and he makes a wonderful distinction between desire and clinging.  He says that while people often think the Buddha advocated for having no desires, oftentimes it is not the desire itself that is a problem but the clinging to our desires.

I find this fascinating as I'm often plagued by a deep craving to be "of service".  I find a big dilemma here because while being of service is a wholesome desire, my clinging to it brings to me much suffering as I think of ways that my life needs to be different than it already is so that I can be more helpful to others, and this pulls me away from the present moment.

I am curious about how others have let go of the clinging around wholesome desires like being helpful or even liberation.  It is quite a paradox, wanting to improve spiritually but being ok with things just as they are right now...
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2016, 06:40:21 PM »
I think acceptance plays a big part. Rather than making spiritual growth or being a better person some future target, you can accept yourself as being perfect enough right now. There's nowhere to get to, and seeing that is liberating enough.



Nicky

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 05:13:46 AM »
I find this fascinating as I'm often plagued by a deep craving to be "of service".  I find a big dilemma here because while being of service is a wholesome desire, my clinging to it brings to me much suffering....

There is actually no 'dilemma' or 'paradox' because Buddhism explains two kinds of desire: (i) unwholesome desire ('tanha'); & (ii) right aspiration ('samma sankappa').

The 2nd noble truth explains unwholesome desire ('tanha') is to be abandoned & the 4th noble truth explains right aspiration ('samma sankappa') is to be cultivated.

Buddhism also explains the conditioned world is 'unsatisfactory' (i.e., 'imperfect'; 'unreliable'). To reflect on this fact is one way to let go of the clinging around wholesome desires, such as when trying to be helpful, since some of our best efforts may inevitably be met by external obstacles.

With metta  :)

rogp99

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 08:05:04 AM »
I think acceptance plays a big part. Rather than making spiritual growth or being a better person some future target, you can accept yourself as being perfect enough right now. There's nowhere to get to, and seeing that is liberating enough.
Then someone gets stuck in the present :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 08:08:19 AM by rogp99 »

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2016, 10:25:13 AM »
Which wouldn't be a bad thing

rogp99

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2016, 04:59:18 PM »
Which wouldn't be a bad thing
Getting stuck in the present is not the (Middle) Way.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 05:02:33 PM by rogp99 »

Middleway

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2016, 06:09:42 PM »
Which wouldn't be a bad thing
Getting stuck in the present is not the (Middle) Way.

Present is right in the middle of past and future. This is where you want to be all the time. Isn't it?
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

rogp99

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2016, 06:39:44 PM »
Which wouldn't be a bad thing
Getting stuck in the present is not the (Middle) Way.

Present is right in the middle of past and future. This is where you want to be all the time. Isn't it?
There is a big difference between living in the present and getting stuck in the present.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 06:41:33 PM by rogp99 »

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2016, 06:46:24 PM »
Only of you viewed it as being stuck, which I doubt anyone who's managed to be present would.

Laurent

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2016, 11:34:07 PM »
The fact is that we are in the present anyway. It is always a good thing to notice it.
For later realisations, i don't know.

stillpointdancer

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2016, 10:40:48 AM »
I'm a bit confused here, trying to follow the thread. There is only the present moment, which is continual change. What is there to get stuck in? Do you mean an unwillingness to review the past or to plan for the future?
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

rogp99

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2016, 11:14:58 AM »
I'm a bit confused here, trying to follow the thread. There is only the present moment, which is continual change. What is there to get stuck in? Do you mean an unwillingness to review the past or to plan for the future?
Yes, I do.

Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2016, 11:34:54 AM »
I'm a bit confused here, trying to follow the thread. There is only the present moment, which is continual change. What is there to get stuck in? Do you mean an unwillingness to review the past or to plan for the future?

I am unwilling the past to review me.
Looking back and learning from experience is important part of practice. But with a calm and equanimus mind. Not a mind filled with negativity, judgemental.

As for as the future goes, yes I am unwilling to plan for it as it never works that way.

SamarthGodara

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2016, 04:50:23 PM »
Hello,
I am a psychologist, in cases like yours, i advice people to find other ways to be "in service". Dont let this feeling go, you can start with very simple things by giving small children art lessons. All you have to do it give kids paper and crayons for an hour. And this will be your service to the world. You can even try other simpler things, for example me, i be "in service" to people by sharing my knowledge of meditation and psychology to other people.
Moderator note: Don't post links to external websites which serve self-promotion.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2016, 05:37:29 PM »
I feel unless you're formally trained, certified and employed as a psychologist it's probably better you don't market yourself as one.

Middleway

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2016, 07:05:54 PM »
Hello,
I am a psychologist,

Hello psychologist, please to meet you. I am ignorant.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Thomas D

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2016, 07:27:13 AM »
I'm suspecting there's only a paradox on paper, one quality in conflict with the other it seems. But in real life you might realise at some point that you're trying too hard to change, i.e. clinging to your desire for improvement. So you start to ease off your desire for change. As the clinging loses its power, it stops distorting your perception of who you are. You start seeing how your past has shaped you and you begin to see yourself in the present moment with all your flaws and strengths. From a more realistic perception, improvement is natural.

You could also say that it was this strong desire for improvement that drove you to realise that you are clinging too hard. Maybe this is the paradox.

Also remember that in real life vs paper, there are degrees of qualities, not just on/off. Some clinging might be good for some time, obsessive clinging can cause much mental havoc and confusion.

BeHereNow

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2016, 05:41:37 PM »
you might realise at some point that you're trying too hard to change, i.e. clinging to your desire for improvement.

I think this is what I have been realizing... and I like Dharma Tui's call for greater acceptance.  Sure it's wholesome to want to make a meaningful contribution, but any ideas I have about what that might look like fall flat when I compare it to genuine attention and presence.

I will be easing up on my desire for improvement, and focusing on coming back to the present moment.  If there are desires, I will hold them lightly as I don't really know what will become of them.  Turn them into intentions, perhaps, like an intention to be of service, which can exist here and now without some future plan needed.

It is strange to live this way, but so very freeing... I no longer need to measure up to some ideal I have of what my life should look like.
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 03:16:00 AM »
Being more present can give you a greater reverence for life and improve your level of positive interaction with it. You sow the seeds for your own improvement right now.

Matthew

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Re: Desire vs. Clinging
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2016, 02:43:39 PM »
Hi there SamarthGodara,

Welcome to the forums. I hope you will find here whatever you need to help your practice grow. This garden for mediators has been cultivated since 2007 by a small staff and a community with big hearts and open minds.

We have few rules of etiquette regarding participation on the forums - normally people work out for themselves what is or is not acceptable. Most people don't seem to bother reading the rules before they agree to them anyway ...

The reason I'm prompted to write this message to you is in relation to you naming yourself as a psychologist on your profile (and in posts). You can see from the feedback from community members that this gains no respect but actually opposite:

Hello,
I am a psychologist, in cases like yours, .....

I feel unless you're formally trained, certified and employed as a psychologist it's probably better you don't market yourself as one.

Hello,
I am a psychologist,

Hello psychologist, please to meet you. I am ignorant.

As we are not in a position to verify your qualifications - and, in all honesty, would not give a monkeys bollocks as to the truth or value of them in any case - I would propose you delete this from your profile.

As a psychologist you will be aware that by mentioning this in your profile you are trying either consciously or subconsciously to gain from others here some leverage, traction, respect, or quality you probably feel, internally, that you lack - for whatever reason, by making yourself "a psychologist".

The reality in this forum is that there is a quite closely knit community of very different people, and you will gain and lose respect only by the cumulative words, thoughts and actions you present/manifest over time.

With the greatest respect and kindest wishes,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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