Anatomy of a Craving *

What appears as craving (or addiction) seems to be just a sensation + a thought.

If I believe the thoughts about the sensation, then the experience of a craving appears. And it seems very real, very solid, very substantial, very powerful, something it will take a lot to resist, something to struggle with, something that can defeat me, something I can or cannot defeat.

When I see that there is just a simple sensation and then simple thoughts about this sensation, it all is revealed as innocent and harmless. There is no reality to it, there is nothing there that can be powerful, there is nothing to resist, nothing to struggle with, nothing to defeat or be defeated by.

Ice cream

For instance, I have an experience of ice cream craving and immediately, all sorts of stories happen.

I cannot resist it. I have to go to the store. When can I find time to get to the store? How much time will it take? Should I walk or take the bike? How much will it cost? Do I have enough cash right now? Will it clog up my arteries? I don’t exercise enough. I should exercise more. I don’t have enough willpower to resist ice cream. I am not disciplined enough to exercise as much as I should. I will get heart problems. Maybe there are nasty things in the ice cream, such as bovine growth hormone, which will give me cancer. I am a failure.

A drama is created. A whole other world is brought into existence.

Unraveling of a craving

When I go back a few steps and look at what is really happening, I see that there is just a sensation and a thought about this sensation.

The sensation in itself is unknown, it is a mystery, I don’t know and cannot know what it is or means. It is just itself, living its own life, independent of any stories about it.

And the thought is “craving!”, and spawns innumerable other thoughts – all of which seem substantial and important.


Seeing through this, allowing sensations and thoughts to life their own independent lives, the craving now looks quite different.

It seems that it didn’t exist in the first place. It was just an appearance of a craving which happened through an unexamined connection between a sensation and a thought.

It was all completely innocent.

It only seemed so real, so substantial, so powerful, because the connection was unexamined.

There was only the pretending of it being a craving and so powerful which allowed it its appearance in the first place.

Gateless gate

Even a craving is a gateless gate.

The gate seems very real before I go through it. The craving seems very real and powerful.

Yet, when I pass through the gate and turn around to look at it, it is not there. It is revealed to have never been there.

And I can still eat ice cream, or not.

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