You can judge me all you want, but I want to read this book. I know I should study, work out, run errands, talk to people, but right now I solely want to read this book.
I love making plans and doing things calmly, predictably, in a set manner. But sometimes desires kick in and knock me off my feet. Right now it’s the utmost desire to keep reading this one book. At other times it’s been to eat some delicious food or to have sex or to watch some superb film. Regardless of what the actual object of the desire is, the feeling is always the same: it’s a yearning deep in my chest and my gut that pulls at me and drags my mind away from anything that is not the object of the desire.
The feeling is kind of wonderful and kind of destructive. The excitement it brings cannot be matched by anything else. It makes me very energetic and passionate, so I feel I could lift up a mountain if I had to. But this feeling also destroys my ability to focus on anything else. I have to follow my desire, or else I will do whatever I am doing with only half of me. And, even if I do do what my yearning tells me to, I will be exhausted and spent after a while. Some years ago, I spent long, long hours watching amazing films. It was all I had wanted to do, so I indulged. After a few hours, I wasn’t feeling joyful but listless. I didn’t have any energy to do anything else, but I still couldn’t get my mind off of the characters in the film and the unanswered questions. It was impossible to do anything else, but it was also unfulfilling to follow my desire.
This is a horrible vicious circle to be caught in. I found that the best thing to do then was to get out, take a walk, breathe fresh air, and look around. So what was I to do with my yearning?
I think I’ve found a clue. Since last night I had wanted to read the book I am obsessed with now. I told myself no: there are other things I need to do, and besides the book is probably not that good anyway. I’ll wait until tomorrow, and by then I will have forgotten about it. Well, not exactly, today still every second thought I had was about that book. So I indulged in it. I read for about half an hour. Oh, how good it felt! Then I sat down and worked again. I was happy and also concentrated. Because I had read a little bit, I had acted upon my desire and had received the enjoyment. I hadn’t indulged into it for so long that I would lose touch with this world and find it impossible to come back (this is not necessarily a bad idea sometimes, but on many occasions it’s suboptimal).
I had enjoyed my favorite activity for a little bit, so it energized me and brought me joy. Then I felt ready to return to my world again and act in it. In a few hours, I will go back and read some more. Perhaps in this way I can follow my desire, that powerful, impulsive drive, and also fulfill other parts of my life that are more constant, monotonous, and calming. It’s like trying to make fire and water live together. I wonder if it’s possible.
2 thoughts on “When desire takes over”
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Another way to think about the dynamics you were describing that I use:
With those sort of desire systems that have you totally tangled up, you begin to notice after a while that they actually are making you *less* happy rather than more. You want whatever the thing is so badly that it actually detracts from your everyday existence and makes you reject it. Further, even when your engaging in the activity you’re worried about it ending and having to go back to the everyday stuff you’re subconsciously rejecting.
Essentially, if you relate to an activity as something you *have to have* in order to be happy, then you’ve defined moments where you decide you’re not happy, as well as creating a sense of foreboding about those moments even when you’re engaging in the desired activity.
This creates a general cloud of dissatisfaction that sits with you all the time, until you change how you relate to those activities. Learning to enjoy doing them without thinking they’re something that you *have to have* in order to be happy. Being able to engage in them and enjoy them, but not grasping at them with a subconscious desperation.