“Men are not free when they are doing just what they like. Men are only free when they are doing what the deepest self likes. And there is getting down to the deepest self! It takes some diving.”
– D. H. Lawrence
At the root of our desires lies the pathway to happiness and love.
Desires guide us towards satisfying our needs. When they are simple, we can easily satisfy them. The problem comes when we layer on expectations and want the unattainable.
When we can’t directly satisfy a deeper desire, as circumstances often dictate, we reach for substitutes. These provide a temporary relief, but never satisfies the deep desire.
The substitutes we use to satisfy our desires get woven into our personality. That’s how damaging habits and addictions form.
The manifestations of our desires consumes more of our lives the more we struggle against them.
When we put up a callous exterior or taboo the thoughts about the impulses we shouldn’t act on, we miss the beauty in the world. The things that stir our desires have a good part to them as well, otherwise we wouldn’t want them. We can appreciate the good and avoid acting on the bad.
After noticing that our desires come and go, changing from moment to moment, we free ourselves of the belief that they are our fault.
What come into our mind is outside of our control. We can only control what we do about it.
“We suffer when our experience of desire or craving defines and confines our experience of who we are.”
Allowing desire to flow freely opens us up to loving ourselves and everything around us. It lets us look for what we need outside of the singular focus that craving gives.
Practice working with your desire by picking a single activity or habit you want to stop. When you notice the urge to do it come up, pause and bring your attention to what you want, how it’s making your body feel, and what emotions come up in that moment. If you still want to proceed with the activity after the pause, toss away any judgment and savor the act by doing it slowly and deliberately.
Get to know your desires by asking yourself what you want. Then pausing to listen to everything that comes up while you relinquish control and judgment. Then repeat the process and see if it takes you to a simpler, deeper, purer desire.