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The following article is not written from any position of judgment as we all possess desire in our emotional bodies (I wouldn't judge even if it didn't involve myself). I do not write from lofty heights of condescension as everything on my page can be considered a journal based on my own experiences. In fact, it is my own suffering from my desires that made me write this in the first place!
But before I begin, I'll share a small story some of you are already familiar with. There was a prince by the name of Prince Siddhartha and he left behind his nobility, wife, and son in order to find the cause of suffering. He traveled afar, met great masters and contemplated through meditation and observation for six long years in an attempt to unravel this great mystery. He finally came to the understanding that "unhappiness is the result of desire and attachment to material items." That is when he became known as the Buddha.
What is desire? Well there are several forms and levels of desire. You can say there are higher desires and lower desires, and of those higher and lower desires, you can say those can also be broken down into physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual desires. The desires that I am writing about here are what the Buddhist religion would term "sense desires" or lower desires. Desire, in its lower form, is a subtle form of greed, and constant yearning. Ịt is always easy to pick out greedy people, but desire can be so subtle that we may not even realize that we are under its control. Lower desire, in any form, is a degradation of higher aspiration, similar to how lust is a degradation of passion.
So I analyzed the symptoms of what I thought embodies lower desires, which are pretty straightforward.
- Desires that lead to addiction (drugs, alcohol, food, obsession)
- Desires that maximize the ego state (attention, recognition, fame)
- Acquiring material goods well beyond our needs
- Increasing material goods already gotten (always desiring more and more- never satisfied, over consumption in every form)
- Lower desires over another person (lust, promiscuity, fixation, possession, control)
- Pain at not having any of the above
What lower desires get us
The problem with lower desire is that it is does not satisfy the person desiring. If we have 100 dollars, we want 200 dollars. If someone has 300 dollars we want that too. Our meal portions are bigger than ever (and as a nation we're fatter than ever-reaching an unprecedented 40% obesity rate); we drive the biggest cars in history, resulting in our continual dependency on gas; the average credit is maxed-out (both personally and as a nation resulting in the highest bankruptcy rate ever), and while our home sizes used to average 900 square feet it is now around 2500 to 3000 square feet. But the end result is the same with this kind of desire, and this is, it's never satisfied, meaning, we are never satisfied. That is what lower desire is: the perpetual motion of unfulfilling attainment in an attempt to alleviate or disguise something serious, and that is our unhappiness and suffering. Our society is LESS happy now then it was in the 50's. Gaining more has not made us happier!
Another social evidence to our monstrous desire is television. We are no longer satisfied with basic entertainment with wholesome values. Once we've seen that, we want more. So our temporary satisfaction wanes and we want more shock, more skin, more violence. This has reached incredible velocity without an end in sight. An analogy of this is like an alcoholic. An alcoholic may consume alcohol to cover up their issues or to feel temporarily good. However, like desire in all base forms, they need to keep consuming greater and greater quantities to get the same high as before, until eventually they just die from over consumption. We have built a "tolerance" to the pure and simple things in life, just as an alcoholic develops a tolerance to alcohol.
And of course, desire can get grossly distorted as it does for the sexually disturbed person. They find their satisfaction with small items of sexual interest cannot ever be enough so it grows in all degrees until full-blown rape and molestation occur. And rarely is one incident enough because desire does not satisfy! And when they pass over into the next plane, nothing changes. Robert Monroe spent a good deal of time in the astral trying to pull oblivious people off of sex piles, and in their undeveloped state of consciousness, the desire would prevail and there they remained!
The process of wanting to control controls us. The process of wanting to possess possesses us! We will remain prisoners of our desires until we see that we are going to remain miserable as long as we follow the path of lower desires. This is a vicious cycle unless we chose to step out of lower desire and into higher desire.
You may ask, why the heck should I want to do away with my lower desire!? Well, I'll tell you why, because in the end, it can destroy any spark of happiness (true happiness, not transient happiness) that you may experience in this life. Like cancer, it will spread over you until you are consumed by it. I have seen financial ruin and emotional despair run rampant with people who let their lower desires get the better of them. Think of the person contemplating suicide. Often it is because the object or person of their desire did not manifest.
How do we escape lower desire?
First, we have to recognize that it is not making us any happier. Observe any compulsive behavior you have to possess, acquire, and collect. What is the proverbial "object of your desire?" Lower desire does not lead to happiness. In fact, the more profoundly we desire something, the more profoundly our unhappiness is felt at not getting the object of that desire. Oh the gleam in a person's eye as they are fulfilling their dreams of acquiring or increasing! But just as most lottery winners end up miserable so will these people, if their happiness was not secure in the first place.
A really good comedy that depicts the perilous state of desire is the movie called Bedazzled. The Devil comes along (played by a female) and seduces a man into a contract where she will grant him the object of his desire in exchange for his soul. He sets about declaring to the Devil the circumstances needed in order for him to acquire the woman he so desperately wants. The devil, of course, distorts all of his wishes into a buffoonery of twists that result in him getting nothing other than embarrassment, and just as he is about to sign over the deed to his soul, he is granted one final wish. His wish, this time, is not the acquiring of anything for himself, but simply the desire for happiness for the woman he loves. Much to the chagrin of the Devil, this nullifies everything! Why? Because this is higher desire! As my spiritual partner told me recently, "Higher desire is an attitude of giving not wanting."
Higher desires put ego aside. It does not wish for itself as much as it wishes for others. Higher desires include seeking universal truth and desiring happiness for others. It is not about possession, but about freedom. Freedom from lower desires and containment, in any form, of another human being. These desires embrace things that are not transient such as wealth, material goods, or even the opinions of others (which as we know, can be transient indeed!)
In seeking higher desires, we should observe our thoughts. Where are they compulsively driving us? Do we think we will be happier if "x" condition is met? If so, then these are lower desires.
When we start to live a life of higher desires, we are also living life more fully because we stop projecting our consciousness into the future. When you incessantly desire something (making the obvious statement that you don't have it now), you look to the future, not in the now, which is all there really is.
Let us recognize the value of simplicity. Higher love is simple. Freedom is simple. Less is often more! Unclutter your life of desires and you will be a freer, happier person.
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