Last weekend I went to a morning retreat on St. John of the Cross. There is much I am still digesting and as part of the process I felt compelled to reflect on the following quote:
“To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in nothing”
I think the reason why this line intrigued me is that my version of this quote would be something to the effect of: “To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in healthy pleasure”
In other words, I would view reaching satisfaction as a purification process that turns me away from junk feelings towards healthy feelings.
But nothing altogether?
Perhaps this is taking the view of love as a skill, not a reward to a whole another level…
I’m a bit torn, for on one side I can see how what I might rationalize to be a healthy pleasure, might not be so healthy after all.
Yet on the other side, I believe that doing truly good things … should truly feel good … and those feelings should be leveraged to do even more good in the future.
How do I reconcile the two?
I think the answer lies in yet another seemingly cryptic quote by St John:
“And when you come to the possession of the all, You must possess it without wanting anything”
Leveraging motivating feelings, when possible, for an extra boost or two is definitely a plus. Yet, true mastery comes from making choices independent of our desires.
So what does this mean practically?
It’s definitely not easy. I’m a visual person, so I am gonna go with an image. Next time I ask myself if something gives me a healthy satisfaction, I’ll do my best to replace it with the following question: how would hands and feet of Jesus act?
What gives you satisfaction? What would desiring satisfaction in nothing mean to you?
Searching for something better? Don’t know what you want? What’s missing?
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