I have noticed that I always seem to desire something.
Waking up early and walking by the water yesterday, I noticed a desire to catch a glimpse of the sun rising and colouring the sky.
Sitting down to meditate this morning, I noticed a desire to try and calm my wandering mind, and manage my anxious thoughts.
Participating at an in-person conference last weekend, I noticed a desire to connect with people that I might find interesting or inspiring.
Meeting with a client last week, I noticed a desire to better understand their problems so that I might be able to help solve them.
While recently speaking with a woman that I found attractive, I noticed a desire to explore a romantic connection. That desire was not mutual.
Regardless of the context, I am becoming more aware of how each moment, each interaction, each word even, has a trace of desire in it. There appears to be countless desires filling my life, each fighting to be fulfilled.
I begin to wonder will this stream of desires continue to flow indefinitely, or will this stream ever stop, or even take a pause?
For a long time, I naively believed that once my current desires were fulfilled, I would feel happier, or that my life would be better.
I now understand that there will always be new desires to replace my current ones. That is the nature of desire. Desire exists in abundance. There is clearly no scarcity of desire in my life.
There is also a difference between my life being objectively better than it was before, which for the most part it is, and me feeling that my life is better. It is rare for me to compare my life to how it once was. It is more likely for me to set an anchor into some desired future, and compare that to my present reality. And if I am fortunate enough for that desired future to manifest, I set another anchor into a new desired future.
I have found myself stuck in these cycles, sometimes for years on end, believing that once this, then that. Once these desires are fulfilled, then I will be safe, secure and satisfied.
There is a feeling of satisfaction and peace that I do feel once a desire has been fulfilled. I describe it as bliss. It is extremely short lived, often lasting mere seconds, if not nanoseconds, as a new desire takes its place almost immediately. However in that brief moment of bliss, I am desireless.
If this feeling of bliss is really to be desireless, then why have desire in the first place? Let me begin in a state of desirelessness, as a shortcut. Is the continuous striving, achieving and resetting into the future even required?
With this thinking, I quickly fall into the hole of apathy. In this hole, I ask myself often, ‘what’s the point?’, as I see clearly that even when my desires are fulfilled, or forgotten, they will simply be replaced by new ones.
I might even blame my external environment, be it society, culture, advertising and consumerism, for breeding desire in my mind. However, I am then playing robot, easily manipulated and controlled, and not taking any ownership of my experience of life.
To take ownership of my life is to see that there is a path that I am on. I have assumed that there is only one way, however now I see that there is a fork in the road at every turn, one that I never before saw.
I can continue to turn left, as I always have, which would be to continue to believe that once my desires are fulfilled, that I will feel different or better. If I stay on this path, I will keep turning left, eventually go in a circle and end up feeling exactly how I once did. Sound familiar?
I could stop and sit down on the path. I do not feel inspired or motivated to be continuously controlled by desires. However, I will quickly get bored if I do this, and see that life has passed me by while I stayed still.
Or I could turn right, to take a new path. This path is to see my desires for what they are, simply desires that will either be fulfilled or forgotten, and have very little to do with my happiness in life. This path takes me to a different place.
In this place, I choose to pursue my desires not to make my life better, but for the pure joy, curiosity, satisfaction and experience that they each have to offer.
In this place, I choose to relate to each desire as an opportunity for learning, for discovery, for growth.
In this place, I choose to remove the expectations that I have long placed on desires to give me something more or better in life.
And in this place, I now feel a degree of detachment and a level of lightness that inspires me to dig deeper. I begin to only pursue the desires that I truly feel in my heart.
This is how I deal with desire.