Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Wanting II

The fact that I claim I don’t know what I want seems farcical to many people who know me. After all, I am ambitious and have the work ethic of a puritan Ox (I way want an image of that). The question that I can see in their eyes when the ask: What am I afraid of wanting? What am I unwilling or unable to admit that I want?

When it comes down to it, I want for those I care about—I want that they feel safe and cared for; I want that they feel good about who they are and what they are doing; I want that they see how strong and capable I know they are. I want many of the same things for myself.

But the question that always seems so untenable is what do I want from them. What do I want from my relationships with them? And thus I falter. I want to be a good man; I want to be a good brother; I want to be a good friend; I want to be a good parent. I want to be what they need. I want to show them they are already enough. I want to be a mirror that reflects all the things I admire about them. I want to love them in ways they can’t love themselves. I want to show them how much they have to teach me. What does any of that mean?

I know Buddhism is attractive to me because it tells me I am virtuous because I don’t want. I know that is ego. I know wanting things makes me feel vulnerable. I know that is ego too. I know that all the things I know only get me farther from what I want. So where the hell does that lead me?

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