Monday, January 15, 2007

Covetousness - Craving

I was reflecting on covetousness, and the whole area of craving this morning. I was in particular wondering why my mind tends to focus in a particular way in relation to this. In a sense, it has a choice. It can either focus on what it has already got, or on what it is lacking or wants. Why is it that my mind so often gravitates towards what it feels it lacks?

This has been called the 'poverty mentality'. This is the sense that somehow, whatever we have in life, somehow we are lacking, or bereft. Whatever we've got, we seem to want more. However we are, we feel that something needs filling inside.

I noticed in my meditation this morning that thoughts about what I would do later that day, after meditation had close, were flitting up into consciousness. Why did I need to have 'goodies' lined up ahead of me. Why couldn't I let all of that just take care of itself, and reside where I was, content and at peace with how things are?

It was interesting reflecting on this later, as it struck me that this need to plan, to have stuff to do, to fill up my time, was symptomatic of this type of 'poverty mentality', where part of me focuses on what I feel I lack. It doesn't seem at all related to what I actually have, as I engage in this type of planning thoughts to fill my day irrespective of how well things are going, or what I've got. My craving in that sense seems to just be generic, to be a general pattern, regardless of my overall state of mind, or the state of my life.

Other times, I seems to reside in contentment, and this sort of neurotic craving is much abated. At those times, I seem filled with gratitude, and a sense of wonder at what is, and a true sense of appreciation. Yet even in the bliss of meditation, if I look deeply, there's still a small voice which yearns for more, which wants things to continue, or change, or somehow be arranged to a certain order.

So my mind can go either way, into contentment (relatively speaking), or this poverty mentality.

What else could be my general attitude with respect to covetousness?

One thing could be an appreciation of my Buddha Nature, of what my birthright is, as it were, and therefore a desire to generate positive mental states, and benefit for all beings. Rather than focus on what I am missing, or even what I have, I could focus on expanding my ability to walk the path, and transform myself and the world in the process.

In a way, that focus on the spiritual job at hand gets me out of either feeling I lack, or reviewing what I have got, and takes me into the realm of the lack of true existence of all appearances and phenomena. When I have this sense, that appearances are empty, them my craving and covetousness seems to totally drop away. So much so, that it seems impossible to imagine how such as covetousness could ever arise again. Of course it does arise again, as emptiness is only an experience for me, not a realisation. Yet for that time, I taste the world free of desire, and how blessed is that?

One of the interesting things for me at the moment with meditation, is remembering the perspective that invariably arises in the course of my meditation - that of how things are - bringing that into mind, in however residual a form, in the earlier parts of my meditation. It's always there, it's always timeless and part of what I am, yet often it seems lost to awareness, only to be discovered later in the meditation, as if newly discovered. Yet I can, if I incline, find the trace of that recognition, and bring that to the start of my meditation, so that meditation is more based on that recognition, a deepening of that recognition, rather than a path newly trod as it were.

Some ramblings and reflections on Covetousness .....