I’ve been challenging myself, that is, saying ‘no’ to different things I want — to see how that feels. The obvious thing I noticed was that giving in to the desire, or saying ‘yes’ to it happened only once, but when I said ‘no’ I did so repeatedly — the desire kept returning. Watching that insistence was interesting, it was like an urge nudging me. It often arose in the form of an imagined feeling and image; how I would feel and even look enjoying what I wanted. This was a definite pulling apart from where I was just prior to the arising of this desired or imagined pleasure. Because just prior to the desire I remember just moving with whatever presented itself; sometimes I was watching TV, another time I was reading. Both times I was engaged with that activity without much distraction.
Saying ‘no’ to the desire as it arose in my imagination actually produced a tinge of anxiety, because I realized I would remain separate from what I imagined, there would be no satisfaction, but on the other hand, this inquiry was also interesting, and I wanted to see where it led. So it would seem another desire took the place of the original one. I thought this was curious too; observing how I was being led from one subtle desire to another. I thought of what Michael quoted from Kafka was probably true, ‘the self takes us over’.