By Wes Annac, The Culture of Awareness
It’s no secret that desire is an obstacle on the enlightenment path, but how much do we really understand it?
Most of us have a basic, surface understanding of desire and the numerous other self-enforced obstacles that stand between us and enlightenment, but in order to truly transcend it, we have to understand it in a deeper, realer way.
The same can be said for any obstacle. Like we’ll learn here, we can’t just push them underneath the surface and expect them to go away or stop inhibiting us, and we have to embrace them (not in the sense that we feed them) and deepen our understanding of them.
We have to explore things like desire before we can transcend them, and wishing them away or trying not to feed them won’t help us as much as exploring their roots and asking why they’re so deeply entrenched in our consciousness.
It’s safe to say that everyone experiences desire in one form or another, and even the most spiritual people still deal with desires, which, in some cases, have to do with their spirituality or their higher perception.
Plenty of things can help us deepen our spiritual understanding, and some seekers tend to hook themselves on tools that help them meditate or expand their consciousness. We could end up desiring the things that help us explore our greater perception if we fall into this trap, so we’ll want to be careful with anything we use for meditation.
I think the root of desire is an attachment to the external; the illusion, but I’m not as far along the path as others and my understanding might still be a little simplistic.
It seems to me like desire is rooted in an attachment to this physical reality and the ‘creature comforts’ it offers, and to transcend desire, we have to explore it and, in the process, stop letting it consciously or subconsciously influence us.
Krishnamurti tells us that “It is essential to understand desire.” (1)
Instead of trying to overcome the conflict that can be caused by it, he tells us, we have to explore what it is and where it comes from.
“Our problem is to see the nature of desire, and not merely to overcome conflict; for it is desire that causes conflict.” (2)
We initiate ‘conflict and misery’ when we try to follow our desires.
“The craving for more is the beginning of conflict and misery. We try to escape from this misery through every form of self-deception, through suppression, substitution and sublimation; but craving continues, perhaps at a different level. Craving at any level is still conflict and pain.” (3)
When we’re rooted in desire, we seek external fulfillment.
“Desire is ever seeking fulfilment, attainment, and it is this movement of desire which must be understood and not driven away or under. Without understanding the ways of desire, mere control of thought has little significance.” (4)
Most of the world doesn’t understand that we can find fulfilment in the silence of the mind, and this is why most of us chase our surface desires all day long – we don’t want to quiet the mind and enter into the blissful vibrations of the sacred self.
If we could quiet the mind and embody pure nothingness, which is practically impossible for most of the world, we’d find that our fulfillment is increased 1000x. Maybe I’m misrepresenting the concept, and we could very well transcend fulfillment altogether when we enter into that calm, empty space.
What we feel in the empty silence is definitely satisfying, though.
Understanding ‘what is’ doesn’t require a belief system, Krishnamurti tells us, but direct spiritual experience without the obstacles desire presents.
“The understanding of what is does not demand beliefs, but direct perception, which is to be directly aware without the interference of desire.” (5)
Direct awareness with no influence from desire is a state most spiritual seekers strive to reach, and the secret is that we can reach it right now if we go into that sacred space and open up to our intuition.
Freeing ourselves from desire requires a deeper exploration of the concept and why it’s rooted so deeply in our consciousness, and that’s exactly what a good, deep meditation can help us do.
Introspection is one of the greatest intuitive tools we’ve been given, and at any moment, we can meditate on the things that hold us back, including desire, and gain a clearer understanding of them all.
We don’t need beliefs to explore our consciousness or understand the tendencies that limit us – we only need to let go and let the intuition and our own introspection take hold.
Krishnamurti also tells us that “Awareness of the ways of desire is self-knowledge.” (6)
Desire, he tells us, twists the mind and conditions us to live a lifestyle that’s usually formulated around our wants.
“To see the false as the false, and the truth in the false, and the true as the true, is not easy. To perceive clearly, there must be freedom from desire, which twists and conditions the mind.” (7)
Desire also divides us from our thoughts (and, I’d imagine, our inner perception in general).
“The desire to experience creates the experiencer, who then accumulates and remembers. Desire makes for the separation of the thinker from his thoughts; the desire to become, to experience, to be more or to be less, makes for division between the experiencer and the experience.” (8)
Even some of the greatest, most spiritual and revolutionary minds of our time were caught in illusory ways of being that kept them from enlightenment, but that doesn’t discredit the things they did or the awareness they spread.
Anyone who wants to influence society usually accepts certain hindrances, like desire, by nature.
A person can’t become famous enough to influence others without taking on some illusory qualities, like the desire for fame and the ambition that’s driven from it, but if enlightenment’s our goal, we’ll want to do away with all of that and, like a lot of teachers have told us, become nothing.
Embodying nothingness would be too calm or empty for most people to do, and I can remember an old friend, who expressed her hope that there’s a life after death, telling me: “I can’t stand complete blackness or nothingness. I would freak out!”
Most people would freak out if they were confronted with the silence, bareness and emptiness that bring us to enlightenment, but if we really want to spiritually evolve, we’ll have to remember that emptiness is our true nature.
I read something on the internet recently which said that silence isn’t as silent as we think, because in that space, we communicate with the intuition and receive all kinds of helpful guidance.
I can affirm that finding that sacred space connects us with ourselves and our creator in an unprecedented way (and we can in turn receive a lot of valuable intuitive guidance), but we have to embrace the silence and stillness to get to that place.
I might write more about desire another time, and there’s still plenty of material about it available from Krishnamurti and, I’d imagine, a lot of other spiritual teachers. Like I said before, we have to explore and understand it before we can transcend it, and we can’t just sweep it under the rug in hopes that it goes away or stops influencing us.
The best way to rid ourselves of its influence isn’t to try to rid ourselves of it at all.
It’s to recognize that it’s been a necessary part of the lower-vibrational experience, like ambition (which drives us to accomplish things in this realm), that we’re ready to transcend as we raise our consciousness and get to a place beyond all these illusory qualities.
They’re helpful in the lower realms, but they hinder us when we get ready to transcend the illusion and elevate our consciousness and awareness. We can’t do away with them as soon as we discover the concept of enlightenment, and we’ll need to do a lot of dedicated inner searching.
We’ll find all the answers we seek about desire and any other limiting quality as we explore the silence more and more, and the picture will become clearer with every dedicated effort we make to understand our reality.
- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. Second Series. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1967; c1958, 117.
- Ibid., 119.
- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. First Series. Bombay, etc.: B.I. Publications, 1972; c1974, 173.
- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. Second Series. Ibid., 230.
- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. First Series. Ibid., 56.
- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. Second Series. Ibid., 67.
- Ibid., 125.
- Ibid., 66-7.
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I’m a twenty-one year old writer, blogger, musician and channel for the creative expression of the Universe, and I created The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
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