Everybody should have an obsession. Actually, everybody does have an obsession, only it’s usually a negative obsession. Since these obsessions are so powerful, wouldn’t it be good to access the power of that obsession, and use it for other means than self destruction.
Some people are obsessed with sleep, some people are obsessed with food. Some people are obsessed with their image, some people are obsessed with being invisible. Some are genitally obsessed, some are intellectually obsessed — others are obsessed with with their own emotionality. Some are obsessed with sex, other are obsessed with being holy, some with relationships, others with being independent. Some are obsessed by the injustices of the world, others are obsessed with amassing wealth. Some are obsessed with order and ration, others are obsessed with chaos and romanticism, the list goes on and on…
If you made a list of human obsessions you might conclude that what defines human beings are their obsessions. Actually, what keeps us from accessing our true humanity is our obsessions, and by the same token our obsessions are what make available the power to break out of ignorance, aggression, and ignorance.
Before we become highly judgmental of our obsessions — which just creates another self critical obsession — we need to feel the energy of that obsession in its primordial form. It is a hot obsession, is it a cool obsession — what is the flavor and taste of that obsession?
Getting at the root of the obsession takes a certain amount of attention, and therein lies the possible transformation. Giving our obsession attention might help dissolve its destructive contours and make visible its wisdom qualities. There might be a wisdom quality, to being a very sleepy person, for instance. Or for being hypervigilant. Or being aggressive. Or being a sensualist, or whatever.
Usually our negative obsessions destroy us, and yet consider for the moment of the power of that destructive force: if it can undo us so completely, surely it would be capable of the opposite — surely our obsessions could lead to extraordinary alchemical transformation.
If we are so obsessed with our imprisoned state of mind, couldn’t we turn that obsession towards an obsession with with freedom? And if we are obsessed with the misery of the world, couldn’t we turn that into an obsession for human kindness? If we are obsessed with food, perhaps we could develop an obsession for feeding people. And if we are obsessed with sleep, perhaps we can bring back some poetry from those dream states.
The trouble with a society where too much is managed and controlled, we have too little tolerance for eccentricity, for being strange, for taking things to extremes. And yet anyone who had done something great has taken his obsession to an extreme — has been totally unmeasured and unreasonable.
Beauty is only accessible to those who are obsessive.