Monday, July 18, 2016

Subtle forces

When we are fasting, I can take careful account of my actual hunger.
What I call the sensation of hunger only comes in interrupting
flashes, warnings or requests much like a pain that also warns or
calls for attention or rest. So, when I am fasting, I get such flashes
but I know they are quite temporary and can be ignored. I am sure
that if it were the 8th or 10th day of a fast, they would be more
severe and less kindly and short. After all, when you are dealing with
food intake, you are working with one of the very basics of life,
along with air and water.

What I find is that there is another force or two that drives this
animal to keep the calories coming. It seems to be a combination of
habit and routine, maybe a bit of some deeper part of the brain or
body that rebels against skipping meals. I can check for actual
hunger and I don't have any, no sensation or ache for food at all.
But, but, how about a glass of milk anyway? How about a piece of

Similarly, I often find when I wake up that my natural tendency seems
to be to develop a grumpy mood. Without conscious guidance and
examination, I can ask something along the line of "What has life done
for me lately?" I seem to have a part of me that aims for moodiness,
mild negativity or surliness. Just as I can let myself drift toward
the crackers or nuts, I can let myself drift toward a downcast mood.
Just as I can test out my hunger, I can weigh my mood. I can sense
the tendency and ask myself why I am heading in that direction. Do I
want to take a stance of ingratitude and resentment? Maybe. Maybe my
life deserves a grade of D or F. Maybe I am truly the recipient if
not the victim of bad luck, bad breaks, poor health, etc.

I can get all philosophical, inquisitive and rational about the
justification for any feelings but I do wonder where or why the
initial impetus is the way it is. I have gone over the logic of the
appeal of negative headlines several times and I think I understand
that reports of beauty and calm don't have the draw that calamities
and outrages do. But inside me? Is there some reason to be pulled
toward sneering at life? Each day is a new one so why should there be
what feels like an inborn tendency to label today as just a dull
repeat of previous days? Why a tendency to be down on a day that
hasn't even had a chance yet to show what it is made of.

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