There is a reason why Buddhism and so many other spiritual teachings ask us to eliminate all desire. The experience of wanting can only exist when we feel that we are separate from that which we want; this belief in our separation is considered to be the source of all our pain. And so it is thought that if we conquer these sensations, when we no longer want food, we will no longer experience the pangs of hunger. Yet is not the wish to uplift our spiritual natures also a desire in itself? Why did we choose to embody in this dense three dimensional reality where every sensory experience leads us toward desire, if there is no purpose in this feeling? Why are we given the gift of desire, if we are not asked to want for a reason, and in the discovery of this reason find the answer to our pain?
It is true that the culture of wanting, that which exists in the unconscious masses who spend their days engaged in meaningless work only to fill their empty hearts with things, as well as the more recent spiritual subculture which focuses entirely upon material manifestation – both these leave us with the idea that having something to hold is the solution, ending our separation from that which we desire.
Yet this is to suggest that we exist as a species with no higher intent than to experience a full belly, a pretty dress, or a new car. Even the idea of charitable service, that when our own bellies are full our greatest act maybe to give food to others, while being an impulse of Grace, still limits us as being defined by hunger and the act of putting an end to it once and for all.
What if instead the hunger itself was an illusion? What if we could not desire anything because we already have everything we need? What if the sensation of wanting was a spell cast upon us like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, magic whose only power lies in the fact that we believe in it at all? What if instead of our lives being a game of hide and seek they are instead a piece of theater, and the only awakening we need is to see that the great Oz is is a simple man behind a curtain and our way home to Kansas has been waiting for us all along?
If this is true, and the mechanics of our lives, all of us little hamsters running upon invisible wheels, all of this is a game played in the kindergarten of life in order to allow us to rise up into a state of trust which enables inner peace, then when we place our focus upon the elimination of desire, we have missed the point. Meditation for example, may remove the frantic questing of unconsciousness, but do we really want to meditate away all desire for intimacy, creativity, artistry, passion, and the wild experiences of taste, sensation, and the infinite longings of the human heart?
Similarly, when we spend our days chasing the fulfillment of desire, we also turn away from the truth that may set us free. If we think that having the thing we want is the only answer, then we are faced with a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand things in our lives in order to satiate this hunger, And so here we find the mistaken pursuit of a present material world.
But if our wanting, our longing is always purely illusion, and if we are simply blind to the fact that everything we ask for is already present within the sphere of our being, then our hunger, our wishing, our craving and our longing – these are the greatest teachers of our lives and rather than eliminating them or chasing them, we must rather seek to know them deeply, both in their origins and their natures, for as they become clear to us, only then are we ready to recognize them as the mirages that they are, and by walking into them boldly with true spiritual courage, watch them dissolve before our very eyes as we arrive in a place where nothing is missing, we are no longer separate or alone, and pain itself is set free from the patterns of attachment that have kept us in suffering, lifetime after lifetime, living in blindness until we see.
And how exactly does this concept express in our daily lives, how do we engage in this practice of awakening to the theater of our world? We begin by coming to know the illusion of our pain by entering it, facing it like the angry bear at our door, ending the running, ending the chasing, simply standing in the sensation as an observer without judgment or fear. As the truth of our personal illusions is observed in this way, when we catch ourselves being blinded by a fear-based desire, in this act alone we alleviate our pain, for consciousness is everything, and once made conscious this piece can never return to illusion ever again.
So perhaps the most important question is not how to get rid of your wanting, or even how to hold what you want in your hands, but why is it that you think you want it in the first place, and what would happen in your heart and your mind if you realized that it was there all along? What if we didn’t have to go anywhere to find it because it was never lost? What if by standing still and observing we found everything in an act of trust, and by so doing empowered the Self truly, cutting all cords to attachment by realizing there is no separation and therefore nothing to hold onto. If we are indeed One, there is no division, no possibility of being apart from what we love.
Try this: the next time you experience desire and wish to move toward it, first take the time to be absolutely still and drop down into any fear that suggests you cannot find or achieve what you desire. Come to know that fear as deeply as possible and recognize that as fear it is always illusion, because the truth of all existence is Love. From that state of love, now ask to witness your wish, ask to be shown where it lies waiting for you, and from the same place of stillness, invite it to come to you. This is the act of receiving, the vibration of a divine feminine, the true meaning of the word trust, and the portal through which we access our own personal power. We are not strong because we can do battle, we are powerful beyond measure because we know how to surrender without defeat.
If you think you have lost something, the truth is it has not gone away, you simply have closed your eyes to the sight of it for now. All vision returns with trust, all satiation arrives with willingness. All true service must stem from fulfillment of the God/goddess Self, never from denial. In human form, we must recognize that we want and therefore we are. We ask and therefore we exist. We trust and therefore we are safe and whole. This is liberation. This is freedom through desire.
much love, Adi