One by one, dump your desires. Yes, all of them. Start small—say, with a desire for potato chips—and then move up from there, even as far as sugar and sex and possessions. After a couple of successful relinquishments, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to let go of these mind-made confinements. And even, strange to say, a bit thrilling. Because ultimately you arrive at your heart’s desire, the one that necessitated the sweeping away of all the others.
This is a hard sell in a culture where the answer to every problem is more. But consider: Our basic biological needs are few, modest and easily met. If we have more than we need, we have too much. Craving sensory stimulation, we chase more and better experiences—more of what we don’t need. Craving is slaving. Every form of wanting, every anticipation, alienates us from the beauty and power of the inexhaustible now. Jesus to the cultivated rich kid: “Sell everything, give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven.” Which is nowhere other than now.
When a man loses his fear of pain, he stops craving pleasure. Freedom from one is freedom from the other. Pain and pleasure are back to front, front to back. One is both.
We’ve weighed anchor on the inner journey when we start to shed our dependencies. Pinned as we are between fear and craving, there’s no shortage. The last of these vampiric entities to be pared away are the ones masquerading as virtues. Loyalty, for example.