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Thread: Wanting without wanting

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Wanting without wanting

    The idea of acceptance without acceptance is pretty well accepted around here, but I think I have something of similar structure but different substance. It is finals time here at the university, so I am spending a great deal of time grading papers and tests. This is a difficult process because they have not done well, at least not as well as I would want, and so I (and certainly to some extent them) have suffered from it. You see, I want them to do well, but when that becomes a craving desire I suffer from it, so I have been trying to want them to do well without craving it, thus wanting without wanting. But this is really troublesome for a variety of reasons.

    Tanha is craving desire, the kind that we traditionally see as causing suffering. Chandha is the desire to do good, the kind of desire the Buddha had and that we aspire to. Wanting without wanting seems mixed between the two. I want to do good for them and by them (chandha) so that they are then able to do well on tests and papers. When they don't do well, I have to question how well I did for them and by them, so to some extent (because I recognize that I cannot correct inherent lack of intelligence or poor prior training) I don't meet my own expectations or my expectations of them (tanha). Thus a double whammy of suffering from expectations (tanha), all from what feels like a desire to do good (chandha).

    The result, as I said above, is I am trying to develop this wanting without wanting mindset. This mindset seems a little (or maybe a lot) like roshin, parental mind, where I want to do well for "my kids" but at the same time I have to detach myself from their results a bit. The problem is balancing that detachment. I certainly don't want to be completely detached, yet attachment is what causes the suffering in the first place.

    Your thoughts?
    Maybe similar examples?

  2. #2

    Re: Wanting without wanting

    Wanting without wanting....

    From my perspective when working on a project (at work), or when learning the guitar which I've recently picked up, I guess I just pour myself into the process of it. I don't worry about the end result of being a badass guitar player or having a successful project. At each step, each time I practice I just try to do the best I can. I constantly adjust, adding more error handling in my code as necessary, or making it more efficient. That's all I can do at any time; as long as I apply to what I'm doing the best that I know at any time, then despite the result I know that I did do my best at the time.

    (Edit: and to do one's best, to do an activity to the fullest mean losing one's self in it? Is this the coding doing the coding? At least that seems to be my experience.. Finding the zone when I code.. I am not there any more separate from the code; creation just occurs spontaneously. I don't know how to explain it)

    I don't know if that makes sense, but if I don't meet an end result of success, it means my best wasn't good enough (or there were limitations that were outside of my control, family emergencies, vendor software bugs, a completely new piece of functionality not available until a future version), and that I have to learn more and apply new skills.

    With teaching I'm sure the complexities are tenfold; however, there are some similarities. Like you can only do your best to engage and teach your students. But there are a million uncontrollable things that you have to deal with since these are humans (and if in college omg teenagers. lol).

    Does that make sense?

    What do you teach by the way?

    Gassho,

    Cyril

  3. #3
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting without wanting

    I teach rehabilitation counseling, how to work with people with disabilities. I appreciate the reply, but I'm not sure the coding analogy works. But maybe it does. Do you root for your code the way I root for my students? Is code a separate entity the way students are? Though, I guess code can take on a life of its own (?), it's not the same as a separate student in the sense of being able to interact with it, right? Do you feel bad for your code when it doesn't work out the way you planned?

    I understand what you're saying about wanting it to work but not wanting it so much that you suffer when it doesn't, so maybe I'm just complicating this because I'm applying it to people. But then again, I can't quite make chandha (doing for others) fit with inanimate objects.

  4. #4
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting without wanting

    Thanks for the views, and I apologize if I shot down Cyril's reply. I was honestly trying to explore this concept of wanting for others without wanting for myself and used it to differentiate my experience from his. Maybe it looks worse than intended when I wrote it. I hope I didn't shut down comments, because I sure expected more response, that is I wanted (without wanting) more response :wink:

    Let me try again. Does it all boil down to letting go? Is it sort of like the parent letting go of the child? Is wanting without wanting just a corollary of acceptance without acceptance?

    I finished all my grading today and I find myself feeling I did the best I could; I was as fair as I could be, and now I just have to let the semester go. As Cyril said, you throw yourself into it and then it's done. I let it go, but I must admit to being a little sad on how it turned out in some ways for some students. What's wrong with that form of suffering?

  5. #5

    Re: Wanting without wanting

    Al,

    No apology necessary. I apologize for not responding; I read your reply and I understood your point. Surprisingly there are similarities between computer programming and counseling (at least from my limited knowledge based on your post). I do care about my code, and I hope it does well.

    However (and this is big), you are in the "shit" (pardon my speech), and you are dealing with human beings in difficult times. That must be hard.

    In any case, I think it's like getting rid of desire. If you aim to get rid of desire, then you become a robot. I don't know what it is to do what you do, but I think rooting for your patients is a healthy reaction. I think it shows that you care about what you do. Of course, it can be taken to extremes where if patients fail, you blame yourself and become depressed, etc. But I really think the way you describe your caring is probably an essential ingredient for being good at what you do.

    Gassho,

    Cyril

  6. #6

    Re: Wanting without wanting

    A local chief of police was found drunk and crying in someone's driveway. He couldn't find his way home.

    Putting down the story for a moment is the way home.

    Just thinking.

  7. #7
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting without wanting

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    A local chief of police was found drunk and crying in someone's driveway. He couldn't find his way home.

    Putting down the story for a moment is the way home.

    Just thinking.
    This just about brought me to tears, Rich. Thanks.
    Thank you also, Cyril, for your encouraging words. It's more students than patients these days, tho sometimes that line gets a bit blurry.

  8. #8

    Re: Wanting without wanting

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    The idea of acceptance without acceptance is pretty well accepted around here, but I think I have something of similar structure but different substance. It is finals time here at the university, so I am spending a great deal of time grading papers and tests. This is a difficult process because they have not done well, at least not as well as I would want, and so I (and certainly to some extent them) have suffered from it. You see, I want them to do well, but when that becomes a craving desire I suffer from it, so I have been trying to want them to do well without craving it, thus wanting without wanting. But this is really troublesome for a variety of reasons.

    Tanha is craving desire, the kind that we traditionally see as causing suffering. Chandha is the desire to do good, the kind of desire the Buddha had and that we aspire to. Wanting without wanting seems mixed between the two. I want to do good for them and by them (chandha) so that they are then able to do well on tests and papers. When they don't do well, I have to question how well I did for them and by them, so to some extent (because I recognize that I cannot correct inherent lack of intelligence or poor prior training) I don't meet my own expectations or my expectations of them (tanha). Thus a double whammy of suffering from expectations (tanha), all from what feels like a desire to do good (chandha).

    The result, as I said above, is I am trying to develop this wanting without wanting mindset. This mindset seems a little (or maybe a lot) like roshin, parental mind, where I want to do well for "my kids" but at the same time I have to detach myself from their results a bit. The problem is balancing that detachment. I certainly don't want to be completely detached, yet attachment is what causes the suffering in the first place.

    Your thoughts?
    Maybe similar examples?
    " Wanting without wanting" not just a question also an answer. PLEASE READ THE ABOVE. gassho zak

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