Saintly Thoughts

Despising the Animal

Oh how I despise being an animal and subject to animal needs!  Do not misunderstand, I enjoy the pleasures of the vine, the table, and the boudoir as much as the next (perhaps more).  I do not wish to be pure spirit or mind—mostly.  But I wish to have absolute control not only over the exercise of these faculties but over the very arising of the desire that urges me to action!  I wish that I could willfully go days upon end, avoiding all urge for food and drink until, faced with an exquisite meal and a costly wine, I were able to sit down to a perfectly moderate sampling of what was set before me, knowing I would neither stuff my stomach to excess nor drink to the point of certain future pain.  I could enjoy the most exquisite of drugs and potions, knowing just how much my body could take without over-burdening it, or I could abstain from all such pleasures without want.  I would never feel the urge for sex when inconvenient (which is essentially to never feel the urge at all).  To never feel the want or the need of anything (or at least to never feel such desires immoderately)...yes, to want such things one may just as well not be alive, but is not the goal of living to overcome those aspects of living that we find superfluous and harmful?  The lawyer seeks to make laws just, the doctor to make the sick well, the upholsterer to make the sofa comfortable, and this poor mystical poet to make the indiscriminately sensible sensitive only when allowable by will and custom.  Can one harden oneself and still be humble?  Or will such asceticism make one cracked and cold and terrible?  How to discover how one may live this life well!  It seems so impossible!  Where lies the golden mean?  Where lies the way between pride and avarice?  I sense in this quandary a truth hidden by an all too obvious lie.