No wanting or not wanting

A friend of mine was protesting against the Buddhist concept of letting go of desire.  He is an American, born and raised in New York, so his defiance may not be too surprising; but his arguments were thoughtful and passionate.  Essentially, he felt it was his desires that propelled his spirit and fueled his life (he’s a writer, by the way); so how could he reject them, and why would he want to?

I couldn’t disagree with him entirely, but reiterated the opposing truth – that desire is often at the heart of unhappiness, and can hide us from ourselves and dim our light.  I tried to argue the middle path, which can seem impossible to our dualistic, rational minds:  to desire and not desire, simultaneously.  To care and not to care.  I sometimes think that striving toward this irrational, contradictory yet (I believe) achievable state is the entire goal of human existence, if there is any.  (That, and love.)

“The Way is not difficult; only there must be no wanting or not wanting.”  ~Chao-chou

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