Spiritual teachers and texts often stress the value of decreasing desires. But one thing to know is that this actually means intensifying the one most important desire.
All desires are longing for God in disguise. We try to fulfill desires, mistakenly thinking that they will give us lasting peace. Those desires always disappoint in due time. We go on in this way until our desires turn towards knowing God.
Why do ordinary desires ultimately disappoint?
Ordinary desires are finite. The joy you get from fulfilling these desires is also finite. How can the infinite be found in the finite? All finite things must have an end.
What do you mean by “increasing” desire?
If you want a mansion, increasing desire is not to say that you should desire an even bigger mansion! Instead, you must recognize the superiority of spirit over matter. Let your desires be more and more spiritual, and less and less material.
Spiritual desires are indeed greater than material desires. You can measure the size of a palace, but who can measure the Soul? Those who are among the greediest men on earth are truly less ambitious than the spiritual seeker.
I feel bad that I have so many material desires.
There is no need of that. No one is inferior to anyone. Everyone has to pass through all phases of spiritual growth at some time or the other. If God did not will human beings to have seeming frailties, then no human would have them. It is He who allows everything in this multitude of Universes to exist. Just keep on making effort at progress.
On the contrary side, if you find that you do not have any motivation to fulfill any desires, then perhaps you are in trouble.
Why would I be in trouble?
Desire is a power that can be redirected and focused towards the realization of God. If you do not have any desire to do anything, then there are two possibilities: The first is that you are a perfected soul, and are free of material attachment. The second possibility is that you are dull, slothful, lazy, physically ill, mentally ill, or have some other obstacle that is making you so. If this is the case, then you must work diligently to overcome such an obstacle.
The person who- in the beginning- does not have enough energy to desire sex (should such a situation arise) would certainly not have the energy to learn to contemplate God. What task could be more difficult and require more energy than thinking about That which is beyond thought?
In what sense is “increasing” desire the same as “decreasing” desire?
When a person channels all of his or her energy in the direction of knowing the Divine Reality, this one desire becomes intensified. At this time there is less space for any other desire to surface in the mind. So in that sense the number of desires has decreased. It is only that the intensity of the one most important desire has increased. At that moment of meditation, when all thought tends to flow in a unified direction, the only prominent desire is to know God.
Those that directly practice “desirelessness” describe the same thing in the opposite way. Such people- one by one- dissolve desires from their mind until none are left. But even this necessitates the existence of the one desire of knowing the Truth. The fact that such people willfully engage in this type of spiritual discipline is proof that this desire exists. Otherwise, they would not do it. What ordinary person is able to act without desire?
Who has taught such principles in the past?
Countless people have. Above all, the supremacy of spiritual desires was perhaps best summed up by Jesus when he approved of the response to his question:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind. And, love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
What could require more intense desire?
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This entry was posted on Saturday, June 5th, 2010 at 10:25 pm.