Multiple spiritual traditions state that we should let all desires go. Desires make our minds wander. They take us out of the present moment, wanting to be somewhere else, dissatisfied with where we are in our lives.
We feel that if we just have that one thing it will all be better. When we constantly crave things, we are dissatisfied with ourselves. We feel we are not enough — and we are not content.
In other words, desires put us on an ever-ending quest for more. And just like that, desires bring suffering.
Now, do all desires lead to suffering?
If we think about it, spiritual growth itself is not an easy path, and yet to go on this journey we need to deeply want it.
The spiritual path itself requires us to desire to grow spiritually.
Budha took seven weeks of meditating nonstop outside under a tree to get to enlightenment. I’m pretty sure that took him a lot of desire to pull that through. To have a high level of commitment and to be disciplined requires us to want that which we are committing — badly.
So are all desires to be released? How do we solve this conflict?
There Are Desires — and Desires
Some desires actually keep us miserable, whereas other desires lead us to authenticity, joy, and fulfillment.
Hmmm, what is the difference?
We all want to be joyful and happy, and we all think that our desires are going to help us with that.
Some desires do, and others don’t. Some desires are pure illusions and we cannot see through them. How to know?
It’s not necessarily about something being material or not. For instance, if you want to have a specific car so that people look up to you and think you’re cool, nothing that you buy can solve an issue that is about self-esteem and self-worth.
Yet, it’s not easy for most of us to see that that is what we want to solve through our desire.
It’s not about the car, but it is about what we expect the car to be able to heal, which many times is hidden underneath. The crucial question is: can it actually do it? Or is it a temporary illusion?
Now some people might really want a beautiful car that enables them to cut their commute time by half and have weekend getaways in nature and provides them with access to things that they truly enjoy.
The car is an enabler, absolutely, and it can be more. There is a huge difference between being able to see anything, even physical and material, as something that is not a solution in itself.
Rather, it’s a channel for something, an enabler that we can enjoy but not get attached to — and not confuse with being the source of anything, such as our self-worth.
Clarity of Intentions
The first point is clarity of intentions.
What is it that lies under our desires?
Some people want money because they’re operating in this scarcity mindset, always full of fears. The thing is, even when they have money, they still have fears and a scarcity mindset because there is an underlying fear that is within themselves that has to be healed.
Now other people might want money to enable them to work on certain dreams, and projects that they have.
We are talking here about exactly the same thing, money, but the intention is different because there’s clarity.
Whatever you desire, ask yourself: what is it that you think this desire is gonna solve? And is it, really?
Certain things are within ourselves and nothing from the outside can actually heal it.
We need to understand what lies behind our desires. What is it that is actually generating that desire? Because that is what we have to take care of.
Ego vs Soul
Another way to put it is that we have desires that come from the ego and desires that come from the soul.
Desires that come from the ego are based on fear. They’re everything that we want because we’re scared of missing out, scared of not belonging, scared of not being accepted, scared of failing, all those things.
The ego is based on fear. It separates us. It disconnects us, and whatever we want out of fear will never be enough. We’ll just keep wanting and wanting and wanting and never be fulfilled, because we haven’t healed our fear.
Fortunately, we have desires that come from our souls. Calls of the soul, pure consciousness.
We are pure consciousness. Those are calls of love. Love is consciousness, truly oneness. A word that I enjoy using for this is, Will. Our will is an elemental aspect of our soul, of who we truly are. The will to live, the will to love, the will to heal, the will to grow.
These are so strong, that they don’t need many words. They don’t need to justify themselves. Now, I’m not saying that every single desire that is strong is necessarily a desire of your consciousness. Sometimes we’re so scared that those desires are incredibly strong. When fear is skyrocketing, we cannot hear the longings of our hearts.
The result: we have different types of desires.
We have desires that are based on fear and desires that are based on consciousness of who we truly are.
Consciousness, love, it wants to expand, to heal, to grow, to live. To liberate itself from any prison we might have put ourselves into.
Can you see the difference?
Questions for Reflection
When you catch yourself craving something badly, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the underlying reason, or motive behind my desire?
- What need do I think the desire will fulfill?
- Can it fulfill it, or is that an illusion?
- What will actually fulfill my need?
Bottomline: Not all desires are to be released
We don’t need to release from all desires for spiritual growth. To merely wish to dissolve from egoic desires is an aspiration in itself.
That said, spiritual growth is the path of dissolving the ego. As a result, we want to release from all desires that are ego- and fear-based, and cultivate the calls from our consciousness — which requires self-connection and discernment.
Cultivate the deep longings of our spiritual evolution, out of love consciousness. Returning to our hearts. That brings us to connection, oneness, and understanding- whereas ego, which is based on fear and separation, we want to dissolve.
Understand what lies behind your desires. What is it really that you want? What are your desires showing you about how you feel, about what you need to heal, and what you need to take care of to grow?
Desires also show how we are treating ourselves, and how we’re dealing with the present moment. Notice what your desires are doing with you, and your ability to be present here now.
Learn more about what is stopping you from seeing clearly:
9 Reasons Why You Don’t Know What You Want
This straightforward book brings powerful insights into why you feel unclear in life.
You also get eight practical ways to clear your confusion and get clarity.