Desires come in all shapes and forms. Big, small, expensive, outrageous, subtle, unconscious…”I want chocolate!!”; “I want to become the next CEO”; “I want to become enlightened”; They intrinsically are part of our lives, weather we like it or not. The sneak under the table unexpectedly and show up without notice. Have we ever stopped and think what do they mean?
I believe desire is an unfulfilled need, a deep unconscious need that we might not even be aware of. When that deeply seated need comes to the surface of our being, it is transformed in desires. I can think of a few needs that we, as human beings, I believe we crave, no matter what: being loved and accepted for who we are, being listened to and understood, being our true selves in all aspects of our lives. I am sure there are many others, depending of our history, but these are some of mine that I believe are quiet universal.
When a desire appears out of the blue, we react very quickly to fulfill it. “I am going to watch a movie”. “I am going shopping”. There is a deep suffering that goes on unconsciously, and we ask ourselves. How can I fill the void inside me? How can I suffer less? How can I avoid the pain? For instance, I feel lonely. There is the void, the painful spot deep inside. I can choose to go shopping hoping that that deep seated pain will go away. Or I can choose to sit with the sensation and meditate; trying to understand what is painful to me, what reminds me of, what is going on inside me, what do I really need. Not easy and not pain free. It might take a long time. Again, no right or wrong, just different approaches to the same problem.
We can choose to take the path of apparently least resistance (like we all do) and go shopping. The desire may subside for a while, but at a price. It might come back full force next time. Or we can choose a path that nourishes our soul. A path of self acceptance and compassion towards ourselves. There is no need to run away from what we deeply feel, because it is who we are. Eventually we recognize that the desire is just a mask of the deeply rooted raw need that we feel and we learn to accept and address that. Only then we feel more at peace. Only looking within will give us the answer.
Buddha taught us that desire is one of the two main causes of suffering and to get rid of suffering we need to get rid of desires. But how can we get rid of desires without the desire to do that? Mmmm, good question.
Also, I believe desire is at the core of transformation, transcendence and spiritual growth. If I did not have that desire, then no work will be done. The important thing here, I believe, is not to become attached to the outcome. If we are not attached, is there a desire then? Mmmm, good question.
“There are two tragedies in life. One is to loose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.” George Bernard Shaw