Longing for change

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Allyson2213's picture
Last seen: 2 years 4 weeks ago
OLGA member
Joined: 12/01/2010 - 6:06pm
Longing for change

I'll tell you a story. There was once a man who wanted to become the finest swordsman in Japan, so he went to seek out a hermit who was reputed to be the best teacher, although it was said that he lived in a remote place and rarely took on students. After a long search, the seeker found the hermit deep in the mountains and asked how long it would take him to become a great sword master.

The hermit looked him up and down and said, "Maybe five years." The seeker thought this sounded like a long time, so he asked, "How long would it take if I tried really hard?" The hermit stroked his beard and thought about it. After a while he said, "Maybe ten years."

Desiring to change is okay, but longing for change actually hinders our growth. An important aspect of developing acceptance is learning to avoid craving. Craving is when we long for something, and unfortunately craving can make us very unhappy. One common form of craving is to crave experiencing something different from our current experience. This longing actually creates an unhealthy form of dissatisfaction with what we're currently experiencing since the flip-side of craving is aversion. Craving and aversion are polar twins. When we crave to be experiencing something different then we reject our current experience.

Mindfulness involves an attitude of acceptance, which is the opposite of either pushing an experience away or longing for an experience. With mindfulness we're prepared to take on board how we actually are. This doesn't mean that we want to stay the way we are at the moment. On the contrary we almost certainly will wish to move on from there, but the first step in moving on is to recognize fully where we are, and to accept it.

It's possible to want change without that desire involving craving, because not all desires involve craving. ... It's only when our desires lead to us rejecting our experience or longing after other experiences that we create difficulties for ourselves.


"Take what you need and leave the rest." I got nothing but moments to live.

Patria's picture
Last seen: 1 year 14 hours ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/02/2011 - 1:55am
This reminds me of a Zen

This reminds me of a Zen story I heard about a businessman who went to a yogi and asked him to give him wisdom. The yogi brought out two teacups and a large pot of tea. The yogi asked the man to pour the tea, but not to stop pouring. The man kept pouring the tea, which ran over the cup and onto the table, then onto the floor.

The businessman was frustrated. "How does this help me become enlightened?" the yogi responded, "You can't become enlightened when the cup is full. Empty the cup."

Or something like that. I always thought acquiring new knowledge would help me most of all. I always thought my thinking was deficient because I didn't have the right knowledge. What this story told me was to empty my mind, not acquire new knowledge.

Tommi's picture
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
OLG-Anon memberOLGA member
Joined: 09/13/2012 - 7:39am
I have taken Mindfulness

I have taken Mindfulness training. While I agree with not longing for change at a later phase of recovery, I think the the first part - quitting - requires sustained effort. See my blog about self-discipline.

Olga/non member since Dec. 2008 Check out my latest video on Gaming Addiction and public awareness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-6JZLnQ29o

Kate1song's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 10/15/2010 - 10:19am
My understanding of

My understanding of mindfulness means that whatever task one is in.. that is where the mind should be. It's an exercise of focus.. awareness..

So if one is working, they are doing that with all their heart. if they are in class, they are paying attention to the teacher.

If one is anxious, one is aware of one's emotion. This way one can act, rather than react. There are many helpful mindness techniques that help one in this process.

I personally think that applying mindfulness tools to recovery is fantastic action toward dealing with withdrawls.

Last seen: 5 years 2 weeks ago
OLGA member
Joined: 12/11/2011 - 5:41pm
The story of the master and

The story of the master and the swordsman reminds me of Dan's analogy of the saw - it's a matter of finding the appropriate amount of effort. Too much, and we grind the blade; too little, and we make no progress. Having the all or nothing habits of my past, a very important aspect of my recovery has been seeking, with sustained effort, :) balance.

Pat's story of the teacup is the common theme of most spiritual traditions - it is in losing ourselves that we find ourselves. Focusing on the needs of others, on all that is good and right with the world we're part of, acknowledging the space between the event and my response and choosing honesty, openness and willingness again and again and again - with practice carry me out of the pain of all consuming self.

Acceptance. When I am disturbed, it is because a person, place, thing, or situation is unacceptable to me. I find no serenity until I accept my life as being exactly the way it is meant to be. Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.  Acknowledge the problem, but live the solution!

Log in or register to post comments