The Hub of Being (55) Desire


Desire is the essence of a man. ~ Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza

We live because we crave sensory experience. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

The body needs sustenance and sleep. The mind-body wants comfort. These are basic biological needs.

Desire is the memory of pleasure and fear is the memory of pain. Both make the mind restless. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Wants arise from attachment to particular concepts with which one identifies as being conducive to satisfaction, however fleeting. The stream of wants never runs dry.

You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Desires always involve consumption, which simply means engaging the senses for some duration. Anything that brings pleasure is eagerly consumed, whether it is food, a friend, music, or being in Nature.

Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you’ve conquered human nature. ~ Charles Dickens

Desires are products of the mind and fulfilled in the mind. Any associated intermediate activity is merely instrumental: whatever you do to gain the object of desire. The struggles of dealing with and satisfactions reaped from the physical world are nothing but mental gyrations.

It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it. ~ Aristotle

Just as beliefs are social derivations, so too desires. Much of what people want is an emulation.

Ignorant people define themselves and by their experiences and aspirations: affixing their imagined identity to concepts. These desirous symbols may take physical form or may be values that are associated with circumstance. Regardless of form, attachments have no more value than the possessions of pack rats.

Behaviour arises from the level of one’s consciousness. ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Some Americans prize their guns for the feelings of safety and power that these weapons provide. The right of ownership of guns is associated with “freedom” in the minds of those with ideals of violence. This is but one example of sick self-delusion via naïve belief.

Desire ought to obey reason. ~ Cicero

Attachments focus attention into narrow rivulets that exclude awareness outside the scope of the immediate desire. The vitality of life can drown in an endless river of wants.

Desire shapes destiny. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Expectation is a formula for disappointment. This is the nature of trying to fulfill desires related to the world.

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them. ~ English philosopher John Stuart Mill

Suffering comes from identifying with objects of perception. Desire leads to blind action: so focused as to be unmindful of the consequences. Ignorance creates its own suffering.

There is no beauty in sadness. No honor in suffering. No growth in fear. No relief in hate. It’s just a waste of perfectly good happiness. ~ Bulgarian writer Katerina Stoykova Klemer

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Great desire obtains little. ~ Burmese proverb

Spiritual advisors commonly teach giving up worldly desires as a means to enlightenment. This is canonical wisdom, but too much may be made of it.

By all means, use your body to work in the world. But understand what it is. The body is only an instrument to be used: you are not the body. You are the everlasting, timeless, spaceless principle which gives sentience to this body. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Our biological being is built for many activities. Pleasure tops the list. The issue is passion in the pursuit of pleasure, rather than enjoying each moment of life as best as one can.

To try to deny desire is unproductively doctrinaire. Appreciate nuance. Life often involves fishing in a stream of potential satisfactions. Whereas attachment bodes ill, desire is part of life.

Shun not desire; see only that it flows into the right channels. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

The issue is not really desire per se. It is instead attachment: the neediness that arises from letting the mind run the show with its own obsessiveness.

Attachment is bondage. Detachment is freedom. To crave is to slave. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Reject desires which arise from social influence. This is the shallow economic materialism which pervades the Collective.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. ~ Epictetus

Practice skepticism about one’s wants – as contrasted to needs – until the motivation is understood. With this comprehension comes realization of stimulation superfluity: the mind’s hunger for excitement. As with all dangerous animals, do not feed the mind.

Ask yourself what you stand to gain by achieving a desire beyond the satisfaction itself. Let practicality guide your desires. Desires which lead to useful knowledge or convenience are typically worth pursuing; those which are mere moments of satisfaction are not.

Avoid impulse aimed at satisfaction. Abjure thrill seeking. Beyond what is necessary for health and comfort, take pleasure in entertainment that shares joy, positively creates, or entrains affirmation of the value of all life.

Be content with what you have, rejoice the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~ Lao Tzu