there is an “unbridgeable gap” between desire and satisfaction, a gap that is responsible for both our civilization and our discontent

Image result for platter of dry chilliesOne of my favorite stories comes from the Sufi tradition of mystical Islam. It is a tale that tells us exactly what we will have to face if we endeavor to walk the path of desire. A man sits in the center of a Middle Eastern marketplace crying his eyes out, a platter of peppers spilled out on the ground before him. Steadily and methodically, he reaches for pepper after pepper, popping them into his mouth and chewing deliberately, at the same time wailing uncontrollably. “What’s wrong, Nasruddin?” his friends wonder, gathering around the extraordinary sight. “What’s the matter with you?” Tears stream down Nasruddin’s face as he sputters an answer. “I’m looking for a sweet one,” he gasps. Continue reading