by Michael Maciel
We can only want what we value. Take away the value, and you take away the desire. If you want something that you think is valueless, or worse yet, harmful, then there is a component of value in it that you are unaware of. Your job is to find out what it is.
Training your heart involves studying your desires. If you want something that’s not good for you, then somewhere in your mental circuitry you have made a false connection. You have associated two ideas that are incompatible. The act of smoking, for example, can be wrongly associated with feeling important—someone who should be taken seriously. The desire to feel important, as though your life matters, is real. It’s the association of that desire with the act of smoking that’s not. That association was engineered by those who sell cigarettes. Once you realize that the association is unreal, you can then set about addressing the actual desire—the need to have your life matter. That can lead to all kinds of exciting possibilities. But if you substitute those possibilities with the act of smoking, you effectively keep them from materializing. Then your life potential runs the risk of going up in smoke.
The worst thing you can do to your heart is to deny that your desires are legitimate. This is absolutely forbidden. When the mind and the will gang up on the heart like this, all kinds of health problems can arise. Rather than condemn your desires, investigate the associations that underlie them. It’s a wiring problem, not a moral one.
— from World Priest, available soon from Amazon