healthy and unhealthy Desire

Pixabay: pinterastudio

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The Buddha made a useful distinction between two kinds of desire.

First, there is healthy desire, such as trying to be more patient and loving.

Second, there is an unhealthy desire–the craving mentioned in chapter 2–that causes so much suffering.

For example, this kind of desire is active when we run away from or fight with what is painful, get driven about or addicted to what is pleasurable, or keep trying to impress other people.

So the issue is not desire per se but rather:

.Can we desire what is beneficial for ourselves and others?

.Can we pursue it with skillful means? For example, there might be a positive aim, such as helping a child read, but if a parent goes about it yelling, that’s not skillful.

.Can we be at peace with what happens? Different parts of the brain handle liking—-enjoying or preferring something—-and wanting, in the sense of craving.

This means it is possible to aim high and be ambitious without being consumed by pressure and drivenness.

Sure, there could be disappointment about not achieving a goal, but there can also be acceptance— and enthusiasm for the next opportunity.

from “Neurodharma” Rick Hanson

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