August 13, 2019

Confusion about desire.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.


Recently, I read the Bhagavad Gita and Dhammapada. While I thought that the teachings were wonderful, there was one particular thing I could not quite understand. Both the books exhort us to “free ourselves from desire” and taught that “desire is the root cause of all suffering”.
(I guess this is not the same concept as that of “effortless effort” that the Tao Teh Ching teaches). A blanket statement that “desire is not good” seemed strange. For example, one of my role models is Roger Federer. I marvel at his desire to keep improving and come back slam after slam and emerge victorious. I`ve always thought that desire is a very positive emotion and the first step to any achievement. I guess that I’ve misinterpreted or misunderstood this teaching of Buddha/Gita. I would be really thankful if you could clarify my doubt. It would be a big step forward in my spiritual path.


I would clarify the teaching on desire by saying it is the binding effect of desire that we must free ourselves from, not desire per se. If we are identified with the outcome of the desire, we are in the grip of our ego or conditioned self. This is a state of ignorance of our true self. In this state, our value and sense of well-being is going to be determined by external forces and that leads to suffering.

Through meditation we develop a clear and strong sense of our real essence or Self. When we   desire or act from that basis we maintain Self-awareness and so remain free and unattached to the outcome of our desire or action. In this way we are free from the binding influence of desire. This is what Krishna told Arjuna to do when he said: “yogastha kurukarmani” –established in Being perform action.

Desire in itself, when it is not distorted by patterns of ignorance, is a force of growth and evolution. Whether it becomes a source of bondage or liberation for us depends upon our relationship to it: what level of self-knowledge we have.



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