Desires move us. They can give us energy, momentum, and direction whether we listen to them or not.
If you flow with them they will bring about powerful change but the same is true if you try to block them out.
Have you come across the idea that desires are dangerous? They’ll only get you into temptation and trouble, desires are selfish, destructive, so you must be free of desires and eradicate them in your life.
This kind of thinking permeates a large part of the known world. It’s not just Jedi that are taught to be free of desire, this philosophy is prevalent in many eastern and western religions and philosophies including Buddhism and Stoicism. Buddha is quoted as saying, “Desire is the root of all suffering”.
That may be true, but it doesn’t then follow that all desires are bad and we should work to irradicate them in our lives.
For example, my desire is for my children to grow into healthy and balanced people.
When that isn’t happening – if my child is ill or has depression or problems they are struggling with – it is true that I suffer.
Yet, from that place, if I handle the desire and the pain well, I can grow as a person, help and support my child, and deepen my relationship with them.
Many people believe that what happens to them makes them who they are. In fact, so many people believe this and repeat it that no one questions it. Yet, this mentality casts us as the victims rather than the main protagonist in our lives – it says that life happens to us, it’s a passive mindset.
By believing and repeating this to ourselves we give away the power we have to bring about order and change in our lives.
When our desires are thwarted and our dreams are broken it can seem the safest decision to not have those dreams anymore – not have ANY dreams anymore – and to bury that desire as deep as possible.
This area of bitter desires we will cover in a separate article as it deserves some space in it’s own right.
Desires are never still. Dreams and even hope can be extinguished but desires just disappear deeper into the bedrock. Just because we don’t see them it doesn’t mean that they won’t influence our actions and shape our lives.
Learning to identify the bitter desires you have in your life is as important as identifying what you see as the sweet desires. Our desires are what drive us so it is important that we are being driven in the direction that we want to go in or that will be good for us.
The Evolution Of Desire
Our desires can evolve if the foundations for that desire change. Some of our desires need to evolve to become purer, nobler desires.
If we fulfill a desire that ultimately comes from a foundation of fear, greed, or even hate, then it will be damaging for us and those around us in the end.
For example, a people-pleaser. Do you know anyone like that? Can’t say ‘No’ to anyone, trying to do everything for everybody, exhausted and dissatisfied but the cycle continues.
Typically, the intense need to please and care for others is deeply rooted in either a fear of rejection and/or fear of failure.
Sherry Pagoto Ph.D
If our people-pleaser reads Sherry Pagoto’s article (which is really good by the way) or has some support to be able to make positive changes in their lives, their foundation can change. The foundation of the desire will no longer be fear.
With a little more self-esteem, self-respect, and security, all backed up by positive behavioral habits, that desire to please people can diminish to a healthy size or even evolve into a desire to make and be a good friend.
It is important to recognize damaging desires and to change them. (Hint: World domination is never a good one)
It is also important not to let our desires consume us. Letting our desires become our sole focus, worshiping and sacrificing to them, is harmful to us and those around us. They should never become an obsession.
Our desires can lead us into knowing who we are and what our vocation in life is. Our vocation is our contribution to the world, that will challenge and satisfy us, in alignment with who we were created to be. That sounds good to me.
If I let my desires lead me and motivate me to make myself and the world around me a better place, then it is not a selfish thing to follow my desires. It is a noble act. To follow them blindly would be stupidity, but that is where the synergy of dreams and desires, heart and mind come into play.
Water can be dangerous, it can kill you even. However, it is part of us, vital for life itself, but something that can be enjoyed. Desire is like that too.
What are your desires?
I’ve talked about water, but heat is often associated with desire.
What fires up your mind?
What makes your heart beat faster?
What ignites or warms you?
If our dreams grow from our desires, then looking at patterns and similarities can tell us about our deeper desires.
Learn to listen to your heart and your life.
Be good to yourself and set some time aside to make some notes on your desires.