Often to our surprise we get things that we want but then a moment after we want a new thing or a better version of it. What is going on there? What is this evil trick we play with ourselves? Reaching the goals either big or small seems ineffective as we keep on wanting the same thing over and over. Sounds familiar? Welcome to my world. Recently I found an explanation that could be a reason for such a frustrating quality of mind.
When we get what we crave, be it an object or any other immaterial goal, there is a brief moment when we experience the absence of desire. This brief moment is a very important one as we are free of desire, we just got what we wanted, right? But once we have the target in the pocket, we start craving again leaving us unsatisfied. But what we actually crave is not the object itself but the feeling when we don't want anything.
The problem is that we are not able to catch this feeling and keep on focusing on the object itself. We confuse the object with the experience of not wanting that comes with it. It helped me a lot to understand this process and realisation that came with it: I chase an impossible mirage, wasting energies on frustrations and consuming while feeling hungry. My school teacher would say something like: “let it in one ear and let it out through another”. She was referring to the fact that information she was conveying doesn’t land properly. Now if I think about fulfilling desires that don’t bring anything else than new desires, her words came to mind. The thing is that she wasn’t completely right. Once sound enters it carries something along with it besides information. It wears off our ear drums, disturbs attention, lands in the unconscious and eventually causes troubles with the teacher. Same happens with desires - next to the final goal it brings other effects with it. They can be negative but not necessarily. What I propose is that we look at desire not in terms of final destination but as a process. The goal is only a bait to lock us into an experience that leads to satisfaction. We know now that we are after that brief moment of relief, feeling of the absence of lack, and not the object, so that’s where the process comes in handy.
We are wired to desire. It is inseparable driver of our existence. There are definitely various techniques to suppress, substitute, minimise, control or ignore the urges but I personally am not interested in radical approaches as I enjoy my desires and going after them. They have a strong motivational function and following them brings a lot along the way. It is the tunnel vision, when I can’t see anything besides the goal, is the thing I wouldn’t mind losing. Such simple action as shifting the focus can bring continuous fulfilment rather than nervous pursuit of nothing but acceleration of desire itself.