But desire is not a permanent state. It is a learned practice. It is the practice of placing our fulfillment somewhere else. It is the practice of saying, "When I have this thing, experience, or relationship, I'll feel this feeling that I want to feel." That feeling is usually some type of happiness or pleasure. It usually is very fleeting, which in turn, puts people in places of constant yearning and grasping for more. Consider what it's like to eat food that is low in nutritional value. You feel good for a couple minutes, and then the hunger comes back.
And this is where most people are in Western Society; they are constantly hungry for everything.
The Awakened Space and the Dissolution of DesireIn awakening, there is no desire. There is simply presence. It is so amazing and simple that the old ego immediately tries to rush in complicate things. Many people have the old ego saying things like:
"This is too good to be true."
"This won't last."
"This isn't real."
"How will I survive (make money, eat, and so forth)?"
It's giving you its core arguments to validate its existence, and while many of you know that you will always have some sort of ego, all the unconscious programming from the original identity pretty much needs to be deleted so that you can embrace all of you. Because if you don't, you will drop down in cycles of yearning and desire once more.
The Cycles of Healing and Peeling Away DesireI know that in my own journey that I've gone through multiple healing cycles to peel away the many layers of desire. Each time, more space opened up in my life. Each time a layer of desire gets peeled away, the thing, experience, or relationship I had "desired" is now closer to me. At the very core of this illusion is that the love we really, really want is out there somewhere else. It's in some other moment, but love can only ever be here and now. So I encourage you wherever you are in your spiritual journey that you pause and breathe into this moment. When the ego runs in to say all the different things you need to really be happy and feel loved, just notice the laundry list. This list is actually what is standing in the way of you and the present moment. It's not the achieving of the items on the list, but the idea and necessity of the list that creates the separation from you and love.
Facing the Desire for an "Awakened" FeelingMany of you have touched deeply in the awakened state, and then you will often be thrust back into desire and fear and all the old programming. You may now have the awareness to see how toxic it all is to you. This can lead to a time period of inner frustration as we create an idea that we should feel a certain "awakened" way. This is a really big trap on the spiritual path. Too many people think that "awakening" or "enlightenment" should feel a specific way. In truth, the awakened awareness accepts all states of awareness. It simply notices and accepts them, and that is the purest form of love there is. It rejects nothing. This doesn't make you passive or stupid. Instead, the level of clarity you have from this space when desire is no longer blinding your eyes can be intense. Getting used to seeing in this way may be like putting on prescription glasses for the first time in your whole life. You may feel like the Truth is giving you a massive headache as you adjust to seeing reality. From this space, you can finally make genuine changes and conscious decisions in your life. So you see, it is really unlikely that you will be a passive, brainless drifter, which always seems to be part of the ego's fear of the awakened state.
Relaxing Into the Space of No-DesireWhen you no longer are placing criteria on what you want life to be to make you feel happy or loved, you feel extremely alive, vibrant, aware, and loved. It's a wonderful space. If you want it to last a little longer, relax. Trust that this awareness will shift, grow, and transform. From this foundation, you will have other actions, feelings, and experiences that spring forth. Things may not always be comfortable, but when they come from this space, it's a whole other way of moving through life. It is a type of grace. Grace may not allows be well-received by the outside world. Many of you love this blog, but others do not. They feel confronted or challenged by it, but what is feeling confronted or challenged? The ego. The unconscious ego sees threats everywhere. The awakened self sees threats no where, but it doesn't blindly walk through a demilitarized zone. It sees what is there, and it acts according. From this space, you will see what is there and act when needed. You will still have intentions and the arising of ideas that you may want to manifest, but the frantic, frenetic struggle of the desirous ego is gone. The path and the current step you need to take become infinitely clearer.
Desire's Continued Self-SabotageThe funny thing about desire that you may run up against again and again is that it gets in the way of what it wants. I know of so many stories of people who see a potential romantic partner, but they have so much desire for that individual that they can't even talk to the person. So the very desire that is professing to help you find romance is blocking the way. In other situations, the person is so nervous that they can't be him or herself on a date, which makes intimacy and connection impossible. This can happen even in committed relationships. The desire often manifests as an idea of how you want your partner to act before you engage in intimacy. If your partner doesn't follow that internal checklist that you have in your head, then you don't want to connect deeply. This desire for a certain way of acting gets in the way of achieving the very intimacy that you want.
It's all very humbling. In using your mind to look at how you are co-creating situations through desire, you can start to unearth the lies of desire as they arise and re-arise.
The Effortless Quality of BeingIn the space of awakening, part of the practice of retraining the ego is to get used to having no desires. When the ego comes--and it will for most of you as it did for me--it will say, "I don't know what to do." Or something like that. To which I encourage you to reply, "That's okay." The ego may come with more insistence, but you are always bringing your attention back to resting in this present moment. There's nothing to do a lot of the time. This idea alone flies in the face of the popular cultural myth that we need to "do" lots of things all the time. Hiding under that idea is the fear that we won't be okay if we don't. "Okay" can mean that we won't survive; we'll be all alone; and so on. But most of us are okay. Most of us have food, shelter, fresh air, water, and safety. If we don't have one of these, then the urge to address the situation will naturally arise. Then you will take care of this issue while still moving from the space of no desire.
By acting in this way, you are changing everything around you. This isn't by imposing your will of how other people should act. It is simply an acknowledgement that the energy that you are now moving and flowing in is an awakened awareness. That influences everything you touch in your life. Some people will like you. Some will hate you. Some places will no longer be interesting to you, and you may go to new places. Lots of changes begin to naturally occur. It's like having cleared away asphalt from a field, and now little seeds can start to bud. A new growth cycle is unlocked.
Which may require a lot of energy at times. You may be surprised at how much you have to do. If you have neglected a lot in your life, awakening may take you into times of intense change and conscious action. But for as much as you may be called to do things, it is very important to trust the moments of softness and inaction. They are not much appreciated in this culture, and they are not laziness. They are much more wise than laziness. Laziness is an abdication of your power to act and often an avoidance of things that do require your attention. Doing less from the awakened state is simply coming from the awareness that there really isn't that much to do, and without desire and fear constantly whipping at your heels, you see how little really needs to be done to be okay and alive.
Relaxing and Resting Again and Again Into Awakened AwarenessWe are so trained by the habitual worrying of the desirous mind to do things that you will likely get pulled out of this awareness again and again. I gently encourage you to become aware of this game. Just relax and rest into this awareness again and again. Notice the resistance that arises, and be with it. There's nothing to force here. There's nothing to do. It would be pretty ironic for me to say that there was something to do. The more you trust yourself and have faith in your deep connection to spirit and to God that is inherent in this space, the more you will naturally rest in this awareness. Doesn't this sound wonderful? It's a pretty stress-free environment.
For those who have touched this space, it is real, and it wasn't just a one-time thing. Don't struggle to attain it. Don't turn it into a new desire. Just let go and trust that it will arise when it chooses to arise. Trust that it is already here even if the current feelings have changed. Emotions are always in motion; the timeless Self free of desire is still here regardless of the latest feeling moving through you.
And for those who don't believe this is real, it is. I encourage you to go within and find it for yourself. Everyone has this space that is free of desire and fear, and the more we all learn to rest in this awareness, the more peace, harmony, and love will inhabit our whole world.
The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.