A student recently asked me if desire was bad.
Let me be clear — it is not.
Desire is a feeling and nothing more. It is your brain’s way of telling you that you are missing something in life. Contrary to what some people think, desire can actually be quite a good and necessary part of being human. The desire for knowledge, the desire to help others, the desire for a better life, the desire to become enlightened are all very powerful drivers to becoming the person you were meant to be; what I call becoming a divine human.
Desire is not the enemy to a happy and balanced life. It is not a roadblock to experiencing a higher self. In fact, desire can often be the driver for all that greater awareness and consciousness we so often seek.
It is not desire that is bad, it is the lack of checks and balances that can turn a healthy emotion into a self-destructive one. When desire is driven by the ego, that is when we start to undermine our happiness and our well-being.
The desire to win at any cost, the desire for better products regardless of who is harmed in their manufacture, the desire for sexual fulfillment when it is predatory or pursued for self without regard to others — these are examples of when desire is allowed to override logic or love or respect. This is also when desire can lead you into dark territory. It is at this moment that desire becomes harmful to others and to yourself.
Living a balanced and happy life does not mean squashing desire all together. It means quite the opposite. It means embracing your desires, recognizing them, understanding them, so that you can choose which to follow and how far to go. It means focusing your desires in positive and productive ways. It means being aware of your desires so that you can channel that energy into the right direction. Only then can you become the person you were meant to be. Only then can you raise your consciousness to an enlightened state.
If you want to start, start by being aware of that point when your ego is driving your desires. Your ego is limitless and acts only with its own needs in mind. When your ego drives your actions it does so without attention to the costs involved to yourself or to others. It does not care who might be harmed in the process. It only seeks fulfillment, that is all.
The next time you are struck with the inkling of desire for something, ask yourself where it is coming from. Ask yourself who will be harmed, and who will be helped when your desire is fulfilled? If you are the only one who will be helped, then it is probably wise to check your ego before it starts driving your desire. Ask yourself, is this really what you want? Will you be happy knowing what others sacrificed for your benefit, or can you rethink your actions so that your desires are more balanced, more loving, and more compassionate? Can you keep your desires in check? Or can you guide them in a way in which more people than just you win?
While you’re at it, ask yourself where the limits of your desires lay. If there are no limits to your desires, that is a sure sign it is your ego again and that it’s time to rethink where you are headed. You ego is ever ending in its drive, and it will drive you to misery in order to be satisfied. Just remember the last time you pursued a desire down the wrong road. Remember what you lost, your self-esteem? Your self-respect? Your self?
Keep yourself in check and in balance by asking yourself where the limits to your desires lay. It is okay to want more. It is wonderful to want to be more. Just make sure the “more” that you want is in line with the person YOU truly want to become. Only then can you truly find happiness and enlightenment.
Remember, happiness does not come from having everything. It comes from having the things that support your own Simple Truth.
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