If you’re like most people you will be frustrated, possibly angry and resentful. Which only makes you crave the thing more and thus increase your agitation.
Cravings are like the treadmill that gerbils run on and goes round and round, to which there is no end. If you “fail,” you will crave all the more. And if you do succeed in achieving your goal, it is in the very nature of a craving that you will either want to do it again or up the ante for something greater.
There is no rest when you are caught in cravings. The same is true for anger and other negative emotions which while not desires are emotions that you are strongly attached to and so have the same negative impact as craving..
The only way to end this mental perpetual motion machine is to gain control over your mind, your ego, by saying, “no.” To acknowledge it, have compassion for it for you know where it comes from, but gently and firmly say that you aren’t going to go where it leads and instead will go deep within yourself and seek guidance from your heart, your true self.
The Buddha said that if a mental state causes you suffering, it is not you, it is not yours, it is not yourself because yourself would not cause you suffering.
To be aware of the truth that our mind is the source of all our suffering, not the world around us or the things that we have experienced, that it is how we react to these things rather than the things themselves that cause our suffering, is to experience true freedom. Joseph Goldstein put it beautifully in a dharma talk:
“What we do, how we act, the way we speak, has an effect, not only on other people, but on our own minds. So we are creating, moment to moment, our own inner mental environment, this is the environment we inhabit in our lives. When we understand this, we begin to take more responsibility for our actions, for our speech, for our thoughts, what we choose to give energy to, what we choose to let go of, because we realize that our own happiness depends on this awareness.”
This is turning your will and your life over to your true Buddha nature, put into action.