Desire is Not a Spiritual Enemy
My take on the common (Buddhist) notion that desire = suffering...
It is common among ‘spiritual’ people, particularly Buddhists, to believe that desire = suffering.
Therefore, the story goes, we must eliminate desire.
I am not in this camp.
To put it simply, in my view we transcend suffering when we get really good at:
Allowing everything to be exactly as it is.
Not needing things to be different from how they are.
When you allow everything to be as it is, there are no ‘problems.’ Things simply are as they are.
Desire is a Cool Engine of Playfulness
From this vantage of allowing Reality to be Reality, desire is… (you guessed it) not a problem!
Even attachment, aversion, expectation, clinging, craving, addiction, neediness, anger, sadness, depression, worry, violence, fear, grief, and suffering are not ‘problems’ from this vantage. They’re simply Reality doing its thing, exploring its infinite possibilities. Nothing is ‘higher’ or ‘lower’; it’s all valid.
Pure, true desire, in particular, though, really seems to me undeserving of its ‘bad rap.’
Pure, true desire, to me, is not craving / clinging / addiction / neediness.
Rather, it’s more like…
Sparks of inspiration.
Breadcrumbs of excitement.
A cool engine of joy, fun, and playfulness.
Instructions from infinite intelligence.
A dynamo of creativity and generosity.
Your soul’s calling.
Love in motion.
Your heart’s pure, true desire is a beautiful signal of what makes you come alive.
It’s a lighthouse illuminating your next dance move in the Divine Hip-Hop-It-Just-Don’t-Stop.
My heart’s desire is compelling me to pen these words right now.
It compels me to creatively explore the endlessly luscious, juicy, rich possibilities of this realm.
It compels me to lovingly, playfully show up for my daughter, partner, family, friends, clients, Earth, and all beings at this time.
I love desire.
Desire is Not At Odds With Non-Neediness
It may seem paradoxical, but desire is not at odds with non-neediness, in my view.
I can allow everything to be as it is, not needing things to be different…
And notice that this includes whatever desires and motivations arise.
I can honor and act upon my heart’s true desires moment to moment without needing a particular result or outcome to arise.
As such, I can remain in touch with the Perfection of always-already-free Being…
While simultaneously greatly enjoying the opportunity to play and dance and express and give my gifts in this realm.
I can act on my soul’s excitement. I can tune in to deeply-felt visions of beautiful future possibilities that light me up.
I can do this while continually letting go of expectation, releasing all attachment to outcome, and remaining open and available in the Infinite Possibility Space of Now, noticing its Perfection.
Practice Not Needing Neediness to Be Different
And if neediness or fearful clinging do arise…
Can I just let that be okay?
Can I just neutrally/non-reactively witness the neediness?
Can I practice not needing the neediness itself to be different, seeing it too as part of the Perfection of Now?
And this will tend to dissolve the neediness.
When you neutrally/non-reactively witness the fear-based neediness without needing it to be different…
You are no longer the neediness.
You are now the One witnessing the neediness.
Then you can look closer at the neediness…
You can drop the label ‘neediness’ and just be with it as a mysterious energy-presence, a constantly-morphing texture of Now…
And watch as it morphs/dissolves into something else…
Because that’s what everything is constantly doing: Morphing/dissolving into something else…
Everything except the field itself, that is.
The field of consciousness/energy/being-ness is always there.
It was not born and does not die; it’s what ‘you’ truly are.
You cannot ever pin it down or say what it is, yet it is there: Reality.
All appearances continually morph/shift into new appearances, new energy-configurations…
Yet Reality remains.
And all appearances are nothing other than Reality.
Nothing other than awareness.
So, if you like, be awareness.
Be neutral, non-reactive, loving awareness.
To paraphrase Osho: ‘My entire approach is to establish yourself as the Neutral Watcher, then let the entire dance of life proceed freely.’
Not just neediness: Grief, sorrow, depression, anxiety, and so on…
Just hold it in the light of neutral awareness without needing it to be different.
Be with it as a mysterious energy-presence, not as a ‘thing’ that is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘higher’ or ‘lower.’
And watch as it morphs/dissolves into a different mysterious energy-presence.
Yet always a mysterious energy-presence appearing in/as awareness.
Notice that neutral awareness is all-embracing Love.
Notice that this Love is the final medicine.
P.S. How did this land for you? Any thoughts? Thank you for the notes you send and for hitting the ‘heart’ button on Substack to let me know my messages are valuable for you. <3
Jordan Bates is a wizard, wisdom synthesizer, writer, trickster, rapper, artist, lover of Tao, and founder of the New Earth Vortex, Ouroboros. Find him on social media and view his latest books/albums/offerings here.