Craving and Thirst

So, as I mentioned in some other posts, I have been thinking a bit about grasping and craving. On more than one instance I have heard that the word used in the scriptures could be described as "thirst." When I was in New Mexico, a couple of people I was having a chat with were talking about the need to stay hydrated in the high elevation and Summer heat. One person said something about how you should never be thirsty. Once you become thirsty, you're already dehydrated. When I first heard the idea that craving could be decribed as thirst, I couldn't really see it as a bad thing. However, when I heard somebody express the idea that thirst is already too late in terms of hydrating, I started to think about it in a different way. I came to realize that it's not necessarily the object of craving that is the problem. It is the craving itself that is the problem (or the symptom of another problem). I had to think about what that might look like. I had always tried to use the metaphor of holding a stick in one's hand when trying to describe craving as grasping. If you hold on to something without being mindful about it, you will be grasping it. Have you ever had that experience of feeling like you are still carrying something heavy after you have put it down? Maybe you had been carrying it for a while and then just sort of continued flexing those muscles after putting down the heavy load. Occasionally, I would still feel the grip of a hammer after work as though I were still holding onto the handle. I could never really make this metaphor work because it fails to describe what is wrong with grasping. However, this new metaphor of thirst works really well for me. In the same way that thirst is evidence that you may have forgotten to hydrate properly, grasping could be said to be a sympton of heedlessness in one's life.

love always,

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