I’m spending a lot of my days recently in desire mode. It seems to have hit hard as I am preparing for a function at home and suddenly I ‘need’ stuff, lots of it. Not only do I need stuff but I need to be a certain way as well, at my best, brown, fit and somehow a lot younger looking. I have creams and potions for that now. It seems though that no matter how much I buy I can’t quite feed the desire machine. I always need to get that one more thing so everything is perfect, trying to feed my fear of imperfection. Desire feeding fear.
Rod Stryker in his book ‘ The Four Desires’ outlines four ways that our soul desires.
1) Dharma; This is given to us at birth. It is our destiny or what we should be doing in life. If we are fulfilling our life purpose we are fulfilling our soul’s desire to be happy and content. If we don’t then we will never be truly happy.
2) Artha; The means to fulfill the Dharma. These are the tools we need to pursue our dreams. If we want to be a yoga teacher we must have training and then we must earn money to support us and our familes. We can’t just fulfill our dharma without having the means. If we have the means to do so we will be more contented.
3) Kama; The desire of pleasure. If we have the tools and we are fulfilling our life dreams then we will find pleasure in accomplishment. We will sail the roughest seas to fulfill the desire of accomplishment.
4 Moksha; Liberation. The desire to be free. If we are fulfilling our dharma and finding pleasure there we will finally be free.
What the teachings tell us is this. We can not escape desire, it is within us from birth. We need desire to do simple tasks, to get up, to move our body, to eat. The problem with desire is when it becomes imbalanced. To balance life we must try to fulfill all four, realising our dreams, having the tools to support that, finding pleasure in the accomplishment of this and within that seeking our true freedom or liberation.
Practice for today: If you want to live in harmony with the world, be at peace and find some freedom you need to look at your desire. What is it you desire and what desires are helpful in your life, IE the ones that will lead you to freedom and which ones are not so wholesome or more precisely driven from fear? Watch what desires arise for you today and ask yourself do these help me get closer to living my life’s purpose?