Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying, planning and dreaming – so much time spent in”tanha,” our unquenchable desire for more. More what? Money, attention, sex, food, alcohol, nicotine, travel, friends, freedom from, ability to. Makes my head spin just thinking about all the time I have used up waiting and wanting, and hardly ever landing, even for a split second, in the abundant now where all my needs and wants are effortlessly met. We really need very little, but our identification with the “false self,” the social and mental construct we have created to please others, to get us started on our life journey, can be a stifling box of shoulds and should-nots, a laundry list of what we must get and acoomplish in order to be desirable, in order to impress others.
“Jesus would call your “false self” your “wineskin,” which he points out is only helpful insofar as it can contain some good and new wine. He says that “old wineskins” cannot hold any new wine; in fact, “they burst and both the skins and the wine are lost” (Luke 5:37-38). “The old wine is good enough” (Luke 5:39), says the man or woman set in their ways.” (Richard Rohr) The “false self” is not good or bad, but it is, in the words of Richard Rohr, “bogus” because it pretends to be more than it is. In order to keep up the facade, the false self must constantly be acquiring, procuring, and protecting which leaves little or no time for growth and expansion. The “false self” is afraid of the unknown, of limitless possibility and would much rather stay entrenched in its egoic operating system.
The “true self” which is now and forever connected to the Whole has no need to prop itself up or separate itself from others. True freedom and liberation belong to the realm of the “true self,” who “lives forever and is truly free in this world.” The “true self” recognizes that “regardless of what we thirst after—junk food, healthful food, sex—the thirst, the tanha, fosters an illusion of enduring gratification. When I see anything tasty, I imagine how good it will taste, not how that satisfaction will inevitably fade, leading to the desire for more.” (Robin Wright). The “true self,” through contemplation, knows that gratification is fleeting and the freedom to choose how and when we satisfy our cravings is more than making a wise decision, it is claiming our ability to discern and in so doing claiming we claim out connection to that which is inexhaustible, the field of infinite possibility.