The Anatomy of Desire

Following last weeks reflections on Simply Patience someone sent the following comment/question. Under freedom, you write this marks the ‘end of desire’. How does the soul or our inner being expand if there is no desire or a desire for expansion?

It’s a great question and an invitation to explore the whole area of desire, what desire is and why we are so easily ruled by our desires.

Almost all spiritual paths (not just Daoism and Buddhism) describe desire as the trapdoor to the cravings and dependencies that keep the soul, the self, in bondage and enslaved to the object of desire. It is in this slavery, they say, that true freedom is lost. And if one is not inwardly free, spiritually free, then it is impossible to be happy which, in spiritual terms, means peaceful and contended. For most people this is challenging territory in which to find clarity not least because our global culture runs on and is dependent on ‘desire’. It is desire that drives the consumer to consume, it is desire that keeps the producers producing and therefore, according to almost every economists, politicians and business persons perception, it is desire that keeps the world going round. 

It is the desire to achieve that gets the athlete up early in the morning, slogging miles a day to become fit enough to ‘win’. It seems to be desire that gets us through our education. It is desire that drives us towards career success, or business success, or any success, as we embody the modern mantra ‘you have to want it badly enough’ 


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