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Dustin LindenSmith

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tenzin gyatso

more on wanting vs. questing (also in the context of awareness)

The quote I was discussing here was from Geneen Roth's Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating, and it goes like this:
A quest, it seems to me, stems from an intuitive belief that the key to our wholeness lies in the expression of what we've glimpsed in ourselves but not yet touched. A quest is connected to the you that reaches beyond itself to the thread that connects one human being to another. Questing is an expression of courage and vulnerability; wanting is an act of isolation and fear.
baal_kriah also commented on my last post with the following insight from the Thelemic tradition (wikipedia | Google), which is, as I understand it, a form of mysticism developed by Aleister Crowley.
There's a phrase from the Thelemic tradition that illuminates for me the difference between "questing" and "wanting". It's "lust of result". When we get caught up in what our actions are supposed to accomplish instead of just acting from our natural and intuitive being then we are in a place of wanting instead of questing.
These definitions resonate strongly with me, particularly in the context of judgment vs. awareness, a topic being covered in the current chapter of Roth's book. Anyone with eating problems should be able to identify with the following excerpt (the boldface highlights are my own):
Judgments do not lead to change.

Change happens the way a plant grows: slowly, without force, and with the essential nutrients of love and patience and a willingness to remain constant through periods of stasis.

If change is what you want, you need to learn a gentler way of dealing with yourself and others.

Awareness, in contrast to judgment, is the quality of attention that is spacious and light. Awareness is attention that observes what you are doing without pushing you in a particular direction.

Awareness is a voice that notices. Just notices. When you walk into the house and are not hungry and head for the refrigerator, awareness is the voice that says, "My heart is racing, my hand is in the refrigerator. The food is coming up to my mouth. Now chewing, now swallowing, bringing the food up to my mouth again. Stomach knots. Cold food. Can't taste it. More food. Still can't taste it...what's going on?"

The judging voice says, "I can't believe you're doing this again! What's the matter with you? You will never learn, will you? Here you go, shoving food into your mouth, look at you, you're disgusting. You said you were going to watch what you ate, and now you are doing this. You're just going to keep getting fatter and fatter; soon you're be wearing nothing but muu-muus."
I suspect that this applies equally to other areas in life than food, if you're someone who has problems in other areas. What struck me most about this was that the former voice, the awareness voice, can't help but lead you to positive behavioural changes because it's not negative and not judgmental and it's just making you more aware of what you're doing. As soon as real awareness is there, the perceived need to do what you're doing (be in bingeing, drinking, doing drugs, whatever) disappears. As soon as you become aware of what you're filling your face with during a binge, it ceases to be a binge anymore and you stop eating. You can't help but stop!

Once the judgment voice kicks in, it automatically causes you to rebel against it. Nobody wants to be judged, least of all by yourself. We're all our own harshest judges already with the regular things we do in life. If we judge ourselves even more harshly on things we're having trouble with, on things that are out of sync or out of balance in our lives, then our behaviours will only worsen as we continue to fight against the judgment. The moment you stop fighting, the healing begins.

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baal_kriah July 11th, 2006
The Roth book sounds quite good. I especially resonate with the wisdom expressed in "Change happens the way a plant grows: slowly, without force, and with the essential nutrients of love and patience and a willingness to remain constant through periods of stasis." Trying to force change is always a recipe for disaster. The current misadventure in Iraq is a horrifying example of this truth, for those who can observe it rather than judge it.

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