Virtually everyone defines their identity-or constructs their belief of who they are-through their specific combination of desires and suffering. Or, desires obtained (apparent subjective success at the sacrifice of something else), desires unobtained (suffering), and desires still left as questions (to be obtained or not). And... most of the desires, and the suffering, are themselves by-products of others, established by society and the rules of each sect of society.
Buddha says this is how one should be - no desire, because all desires are futile. They are about the future; life is in the present. All desires distract you from the present, all desires distract you from life, all desires are destructive of life, all desires are postponements of life. Life is now and the desire takes you away, farther and farther away from now. And when we see that our life is misery we go on throwing the responsibility on others, and nobody is responsible except us.
Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God in the name of Christ, for such things as are agreeable to his will. It is an offering of our desires. Desires are the soul and life of prayer; words are but the body; now as the body without the soul is dead, so are prayers unless they are animated with our desires.
If you have desires, try to look - are those desires the cause of your misery? Nobody wants misery, but nobody is willing to drop the desires - and they are together, they cannot be separated. This is one of the greatest insights that has come from all the enlightened people in the world - that desire is the root of all misery, and desirelessness is the cause of all that is beautiful and blissful.
The body is there because the mind seeks desires through the body; desires cannot be fulfilled without the body. You can be completely fulfilled without the body, but desires cannot be fulfilled without the body. Desire needs the body; the body is the vehicle of desire. That's why possession happens. You have heard, you must have heard, many stories about a ghost possessing somebody else. Why is a ghost so interested in possessing somebody else? It is because of desires. Desires cannot be fulfilled without a body, so he enters somebody's body to fulfill his desires.
Our modern Western culture only recognises the first of these, freedom of desires. It then worships such a freedom by enshrining it at the forefront of national constituitions and bills of human rights. One can say that the underlying creed of most Western democracies is to protect their people's freedom to realise their desires, as far as this is possible. It is remarkable that in such countries people do not feel very free. The second kind of freedom, freedom from desires, is celebrated only in some religious communities. It celebrates contentment, peace that is free from desires.
Why do you dream? - because there are so many desires unfulfilled, and to live with unfulfilled desires is painful. In dream you try to fulfill them; in dream you create a false feeling of fulfillment. Hence your dreams show much about you: what your desires are, what you want to become. But if you want to become anything in life, you are asleep.
There are urges and urges; you are exploding with urges, desires. You don't have one desire, you have many desires. Not only that you have many desires, you have contradictory desires. If one is fulfilled, the other, which is its contradiction, remains unfulfilled and you are in misery. If the other is fulfilled, then something else remains unfulfilled.
If I want to free myself from endless cycles of struggling with temptation, I need to keep rediscovering that the pain of the struggle is greater than the pain of the desire. If I develop the habit of restraining myself, I'll enjoy the relief of feeling the desires pass, and I'll remember that desires are not the problem. Feeling pushed around by them is. I'll continue to have desires, of course, because I'm alive, but they'll be more modest in their demands.
When we love God in sincerity and with consistency, He gives us the desires of our heart. And as we love Him how we should be loving Him, our desires are somehow supernaturally conformed to be His desires for us! So, love God, with all that you are in all truth and devotion, and He will reward you according to His will. This is not something that we are capable of by ourselves, but God is faithful to give His chosen ones victory!
We all have to lead our own life, and we only have the one life, and the only people who can live life not according to their own desires are those who have no desires-which is the majority, actually. People can say what they like, they can speak of abnegation, sacrifice, generosity, acceptance, and resignation, but it's all false. The norm is for people to think that they desire whatever comes to them, whatever they achieve along the way or whatever is given to them-they have no preconceived desires.
We all have to lead our own life, and we only have the one life, and the only people who can live life not according to their own desires are those who have no desires--which is the majority, actually. People can say what they like, they can speak of abnegation, sacrifice, generosity, acceptance, and resignation, but it's all false. The norm is for people to think that they desire whatever comes to them, whatever they achieve along the way or whatever is given to them--they have no preconceived desires.
Christianity set itself the goal of fulfilling man's unattainable desires, but for that very reason ignored his attainable desires. By promising man eternal life, it deprived him of temporal life, by teaching him to trust in God's help it took away his trust in his own powers; by giving him faith in a better life in heaven, it destroyed his faith in a better life on earth and his striving to attain such a life. Christianity gave man what his imagination desires, but for that very reason failed to give him what he really and truly desires.
How do you listen? Do you listen with your projections, through your projection, through your ambitions, desires, fears, anxieties, through hearing only what you want to hear, only what will be satisfactory, what will gratify, what will give comfort, what will for the moment alleviate your suffering? If you listen through the screen of your desires, then you obviously listen to your own voice; you are listening to your own desires. And is there any other form of listening? Is it not important to find out how to listen not only to what is being said but to everything - to the noise in the streets, to the chatter of birds, to the noise of the tramcar, to the restless sea, to the voice of your husband, to your wife, to your friends, to the cry of a baby? Listening has importance only when on is not projecting one's own desires through which one listens. Can one put aside all these screens through which we listen, and really listen?
That is Buddha's meaning of nirvana: to be free from life and death, to be free from desire. The moment you are free from all desires... remember, I repeat, ALL desires. The so-called religious, spiritual desires are included in it, nothing is excluded. All desires have to be dropped because every desire brings frustration, misery, boredom. If you succeed it brings boredom; if you fail it brings despair. If you are after money there are only two possibilities: either you will fail or you will succeed. If you succeed you will be bored with money.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2 1517
Sometimes the word 'Desire' may leave you in a tizzy. Many of us are banking on this word to drive our life forward. These 'Desires' may be the single factor that guide and enrich your life. But, there's a trap. Surgeon Atul Gawande puts it like this in his book 'Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, 'When we have only our desires to guide us, and they are fleeting, capricious, and insatiable, they provide, ultimately, only torment.' So beware of 'Desires'. You need to redefine it in a way that makes your life to be endurable.
Buddha says: Life should be simple, not complex. Life should be based on needs, not on desires. Needs are perfectly okay: you need food, you need clothes, you need a shelter, you need love, you need relationship. Perfectly good, nothing wrong in it. Needs can be fulfilled; desires are basically unfulfillable. Desires create complexity. They create complexity because they can never be fulfilled. You go on and on working hard for them, and they remain unfulfilled, and you remain empty.
My desires seem especially to be after weanedness from the world, perfect deadness to it, and that I may be crucified to all its allurements. My soul desires to feel itself more of a pilgrim and a stranger here below, that nothing may divert me from pressing through the lonely desert, till I arrive at my Father's house.
When you cut human beings down to size, we're really quite simple creatures; food, shelter, warmth, light, heat and you build it up from there really until you finally go Gucci shoes or whatever it is or whatever your consumer desires are. All those desires are ultimately, they're about gratification.
In the West, there's a myth that freedom means free expression-that to follow all desires wherever they take one is true freedom. In fact, as one serves the mind, one sees that following desires, attractions, and repulsions is not at all freedom, but is a kind of bondage. A mind filled with desires and grasping inevitably entails great suffering. Freedom is not to be gained through the ability to perform certain external actions. True freedom is an inward state of being. Once it is attained, no situation in the world can bind one or limit one's freedom.
If the goal is to realize the Supreme Being, you should become egoless. That requires self-effort. The sadhak should work hard. He should pray sincerely for the removal of the negative tendencies. This prayer is not to achieve anything or to fulfill any desires. It is to go beyond all achievements. It is to transcend all desires.
What is it, in your opinion, to be a great nobleman? It is to be master of several objects that men covet, and thus to be able to satisfy the wants and the desires of many. It is thesewants and these desires that attract them towards you, and that make them submit to you: were it not for these, they would not even look at you; but they hope, by these services... to obtainfrom you some part of the good which they desire, and of which they see that you have the disposal.
How many of us would be able to overcome our desires and resist the temptation of sin? How many of us even lower our gaze when we look upon something that we are not supposed to? The real prisoner is the one whose heart has been kept away from remembering his Lord, and the real captive is the one who has been captivated by his whims and desires.
The Desert-Arabs who remained behind will say to you, "Our belongings and our families have preoccupied us, so ask forgiveness for us." They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Say, "Who can avail you anything against Allah, if He desires loss for you, or desires gain for you?" In fact, Allah is Informed of what you do.
When a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud and avaricious man never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace. An unmortified man is quickly tempted and overcome in small, trifling evils; his spirit is weak, in a measure carnal and inclined to sensual things; he can hardly abstain from earthly desires. Hence it makes him sad to forego them; he is quick to anger if reproved. Yet if he satisfies his desires, remorse of conscience overwhelms him because he followed his passions and they did not lead to the peace he sought.
Thomas e Kempis
Young men have strong passions and tend to gratify them indiscriminately. Of the bodily desires, it is the sexual by which they are most swayed and in which they show absence of control...They are changeable and fickle in their desires which are violent while they last, but quickly over: their impulses are keen but not deep rooted.
The goal...is not to change your desires and wishes but to persuade you to stop demanding that you absolutely must have what you wish-from yourself, from others, and from the world. You can by all means keep your wishes, preferences, and desires, but unless you prefer to remain needlessly anxious, not your grandiose demands.
Our desires are guided by what we believe to be good or bad; our beliefs are directed by our knowledge; our knowledge, in turn, is again a manipulation of our desires. Our Will, during this inexorable revolution, serves as the force, increasing, decreasing, or at worst, maintaining the pace.
Who you really are is Non-Physical Energy focused in a physical body, knowing full well that all is well and always has been, and always will be. You are here to experience the supreme pleasure of concluding new desires, and then of bringing yourself into vibrational alignment with the new desires that you've concluded, for the purpose of taking thought beyond that which it has been before.
Over the years I have written many a letter for the wedding of one of the brothers and preached many a wedding sermon. The chief characteristic of such occasions essentially rested in the fact that, in the face of the "last" times (I do not mean this to sound quite so apocalyptic), someone dares to take a step of such affirmation of the earth and its future. It was then always very clear to me that a person could take this step as a Christian truly only from within a very strong faith and on the basis of grace. For here in the midst of the final destruction of all things, one desires to build; in the midst of a life lived from hour to hour and from day to day, one desires a future; in the midst of being driven out from the earth, one desires a bit of space; in the midst of the widespread misery, one desires some happiness. And the overwhelming thing is that God says yes to this strange longing, that here God consents to our will, whereas it usually meant to be just the opposite.
That's how it is with want. As long as you lack something you yearn for it without cease. if only I could have that one thing, you tell yourself, all my problems would be solved. But once you get it, once the object of your desires is thrust into your hands, it begins to lose its charm. Other wants assert themselves, other desires make themselves felt, and bit by bit you discover that you're right back where you started.
The world has proclaimed the reign of freedom, especially of late, but what do we see in this freedom of theirs? Nothing but slavery and self-destruction! For the world says: "You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the most rich and powerful. Don't be afraid of satisfying them and even multiply your desires."
If yoga is about life, this means ALL life, not just part of it. Together, the spiritual and the material constitute the whole you, the whole of the experience of being human, and the nature of the universe in which you live. There may be no step more important to achieving ultimate fulfillment than accepting what the Vedas teach us about desires--that some desires are inpsired by your soul.
A newspaper can follow the compulsions, the desires of the readers. Take the English evening newspapers - they are following the readers' desires when they are interested only in the royal family gossip. But even the most objective, serious newspaper in the world designs the way in which the reader could or should think. That's unavoidable.
Inside of all of us there is the need and the desire to be heard, to have our innermost thoughts, feelings and desires expressed for others to hear, to see and to understand. We all want to matter to someone, to leave a mark. Writers just take those thoughts, feelings and desires and express them in such a way that the reader not only reads them but feels them as well.
In the history of a soul's evolution there is a critical point of the human incarnation that decides for us whether we stay there, go down or progress upwards. There is a knot of worldly desires impeding us; cut the knot by mastering desires and go forward. This done, progress is assured.
You may be confident that if something is necessary for the carrying out of His will in your life, God is ready to give it... If they [desires] are not mere whims to bring only momentary satisfaction or glory to us but are rather true desires to accomplish more good and live more fully to His glory, then it will be in accordance with His will. Only a careful searching of your heart can allow you to know the motivation that prompts your prayer.
Allah, the Exalted, gave the angels intellect without desires, He gave the animals desires without intellect, and He gave both to the sons of Adam. So a man whose intellect prevails over his desires is better than the angels, whilst a man whose desire prevails over his intellect is worse than the animals.
Ali ibn Abi Talib
Increase and widen your desires till nothing but reality can fulfill them. It is not desire that is wrong, but its narrowness and smallness. Desire is devotion. By all means be devoted to the real, the infinite, the eternal heart of being. Transform desire into love. All you want is to be happy. All your desires, whatever they may be are expressions of your longing for happiness.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water...If I find in myself a desire, which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
C. S. Lewis
An efficient bartenders first aim should be to please his customers, paying particular attention to meet the individual wishes of those whose tastes and desires he has already watched and ascertained; and, with those whose peculiarities he has had no opportunity of learning, he should politely inquire how they wish their beverages served, and use his best judgment in endeavoring to fulfill their desires to their entire satisfaction. In this way he will not fail to acquire popularity and success.
A bulimic person's shame may lead her to try to hide not only her eating-disorder behaviors but also her basic needs and yearnings. She may wish that her needs and desires did not exist and may try to act as if she does not need or want anything or anyone. When that attempt inevitably fails, she may wish that others could magically read her mind and respond to her needs and wants without her having to ask for anything. To avoid the shame of expressing her needs and desires, she turns to food, rather than relationships, for comfort".
Sheila M. Reindl
Man must learn to believe in that which he does not, at the moment, see in order to grant himself that which he desires to have. Man's prayers are always answered, for he always receives that which he believes. The law that governs prayer is impersonal. Belief is the condition necessary to realize the desire. No amount of pleas or ritual will bring about the fulfillment of your desires other than the belief that you are or have that which you want.