Devices and desires

We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. (The Book of Common Prayer (1928)) 

Over a period of years, I have established routines and regimes intended to keep me mindful of the cycles and patterns of my quotidian existence. There are aspects of my life over which I would lose control if I allowed my appetites free reign.

I have trained myself to eat slowly and mindfully, chewing thoroughly and enjoying each mouthful. I have found that, unbridled, the appetite gulps and guzzles, eating and drinking more than the body requires, without giving the senses opportunity to fully experience and enjoy the very pleasures the appetite craves.

There are certain foods I’m sensitive to – foods my system reacts to if I eat them – and yet I sometimes find myself craving those foods, presumably because I want that reaction. Whenever I yield to those desires, I invariably feel quite unwell – and usually need to undertake a mini-detox.

Christian teachers say we will be punished for our sins; Buddhists often say we will be punished by our sins.

Colourful and appealing as they are to authors and blogsters, the phrase, “devices and desires” is less crucial than the two words preceding it: too much. There is, in this phrase, a sense of having crossed a line. As Tilopa said, “The problem is not enjoyment; the problem is attachment.”

The quotation comes from A General Confession found in the Order for Daily Morning Prayer, as set out in
The Book of Common Prayer (1928) 


One thought on “Devices and desires

  1. Pingback: Ignacio’s Devices & Desires « cross-ties

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