“If we have fear, we can’t be completely happy. If we’re still running after the object of our desire, then we still have fear. Fear goes together with craving. We want to be safe and happy, so we begin to crave a particular person or object or idea (such as wealth or fame) that we think will guarantee our well-being. We can never fully satisfy our craving, so we keep running and we stay scared. If you stop running after the object of your craving—whether it’s a person, a thing, or an idea—your fear will dissipate. Having no fear, you can be peaceful. With peace in your body and mind, you aren’t beset by worries, and in fact you have fewer accidents. … Fear spoils our lives and makes us miserable. We cling to objects and people, like a drowning person clings to any object that floats by. By practicing nonattachment and sharing this wisdom with others, we give the gift of nonfear. Everything is impermanent. This moment passes. The object of our craving walks away, but we can know happiness is always possible.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
We generally don’t relate cravings to fear, with a few exception. A craving for peace relates to a fear of war. Craving health relates to a fear of illness and death. But we don’t think of most cravings as being about fear.
But any craving can be connected to a fear, either directly or indirectly. A craving for chocolate may have developed out of a craving for food which comes from a fear of starvation. A craving for expensive clothing may come from a fear of poverty. A constant desire for entertainments like concerts and movies may be hiding a fear of facing reality.
There are cravings that are good. When your body craves water, for example. Or when you realize that materialism is empty and start to crave something more. Craving something your body actually needs isn’t wrong. Craving those things we don’t need, and which often harm us, is wrong. We all have cravings though.
There are ways to get control of cravings. Experts say, for example, that if you have a craving for chocolate cake, just having one small bite of chocolate cake will satisfy the craving. The same with many other food cravings. Just eating a small amount might satisfy the carving, while avoiding the thing entirely often increases the craving for it.
The best way to control cravings for material things is to learn and understand that the realm of matter is one of illusion. What you think is there really isn’t. If you are craving chocolate, you are simply craving a certain frequency of energy. This is what Hanh means by practicing non-attachment. You can lose your attachments to things when you understand that they are not what they seem to be.
Attachment is Fear
Even if we say we don’t crave a thing, yet we have an attachment to it, we are living in fear. Most of us don’t have cravings for our home or car, but yet we have strong attachments to them. We see this most often in a natural disaster when people are told to evacuate an area, and they refuse. While they may give other reasons, the real primary reason is that they fear losing their house and the things in it. That is attachment at it’s worse. And it is this type of fear that most often limits our spiritual growth.