What to do with Desires? – Overcome, Suppress? Stoke? Or Perhaps just Align?

(ps: there is a free guided meditation at the end of this post that I created just for this topic)

I don’t know about you, but I have had desires as long as I can remember. As a child I desired my parents attention and approval, I desired ice lollies and dosas, I desired pretty frocks and dolls, and so much more. From then till now, I have grown, and my desires have also been growing with me.

I know that my desires have been the cause and fuel for much of my development, my achievement, and my creations. However my desires have also been the cause and catalyst for suffering and pain that I have landed up inflicting on myself and on other people.

I have spent years being in judgement of my own desires. I have classified them as good and bad, right and wrong, worthy and unworthy, material and spiritual, selfish and unselfish and so much more. From all that judgement I have only learnt that none of these classifications are absolute. Further, being in judgment of my own desires only made them more sticky and salient in my mind.

I have tried many different tactics to try and tame what I believed to be my ‘unworthy’ desires. I have tried to overcome them, to quench them, or even conquer them. Most of these attempts have been futile, and when I have thought I have succeeded I usually discovered that it was a temporary or short-term success. I would think that I have overcome a desire only to discover that it was lying latent somewhere in my field of energy – like a dormant volcano that erupts later.

I have also tried some meditative and visioning practices to try and stoke the fire of what I believed were ‘worthy’ desires. I have worked with vision boards and goals and they have created astounding results for me. Yet sometimes what I have found is that the very goal or desire I stoked (under the assumption that it was something worth achieving), became a problem for me later in life or caused pain and suffering that I had not imagined it would cause.

So what is an approach that we can take with respect to our desires when (a) we can’t even be sure on what desires are helpful and what are not and (b) the very practice of trying to overcome desires often has the counter effect of just making that very desire stronger?

Today, I was intuitively led to do something during my meditation that felt like a graceful, easy and life-affirming way of dealing with desires. I am sure that there are other other practices similar to what I did but I suspect that my practice might have been what some people refer to as ‘surrendering’. However, I am not an expert on terminologies and I could be totally wrong in my interpretation of the word surrender and so I will just leave the word aside and go on to explain what I experienced.

I must confess that I did not sit down to meditate with an explicit agenda of dealing with my desires. It was just a routine practice and I asked for the dissolution of my own ego and barriers of separation from the universe since this was the theme of the poem I had got in my last meditation a few days back (http://sharingmypoems.blogspot.in/…/purple-light-of-dawn.ht…). Somehow today I also spontaneously asked the universe to connect me with the creative centre of the cosmos (I sort of just made up this term). As soon as I asked for this I felt as if I tumbled into what felt like an expansive vibrant core of golden energy. I usually don’t ‘think’ with my cognitive my mind while meditating and I just go with the intuitive experience (without critical examination or questioning). So I allowed myself to tumble into this golden core and then I asked what it would take to live and create from this wonderful place. The answer I got (in feelings) was that it is really very simple, and that actually this is the most natural place to operate from, live from and create from. This is also the easiest and most effective place to do one’s work from. If I were to create and live from this place then I would literally have the force and backing of the entire cosmos in every moment.

I am always looking for ways to make my own life and work more effortless and enjoyable and so I started thinking of some of my projects and I put them one by one into this golden core. The ease and relief I felt while doing this cannot be described in words. The word ‘yajna’ floated somewhere into the background of my mind so maybe what I was doing had something to do with the ancient practice of ‘yajna’. Since I’m not an expert in sanskrit, I can’t know for sure and so I will stick to narrating my own experience. As I put my projects one by one into the golden core, I asked that I be helped in executing them by using the energy of the expansive golden core. Even as I was asking for this I was strongly aware of the fact that my request could be fulfilled only in a way that was in alignment with the natural flow of the core itself. Each time I put in a new project I could sense a certain degree of energetic alignment with the core. I then surrendered that project with full recognition of the condition that only those aspects of the project that were in alignment with the golden core would be energised and activated. I agreed to let go of the other aspects of the project that were not in alignment because it was very clear and obvious that the creative core of the universe would not support those aspects. If I continued to want to ‘fuel’ those other aspects I would have to use my own ‘will’ to power them up, and this seemed like too much effort. It felt like trying to work against the current and movement of the entire cosmos? Why would I even want to do that?

I continued to do this ‘surrendering’ with a few key projects and areas of my life today and then I got a nudge to create something (write this post and the meditation track that will follow it) and so I got up. Even with my limited experience of the five or six projects that I did this for I noticed that the process of ‘letting go’ of non-aligned parts of the project felt easier in some cases than others. The times I felt more resistance was for projects and areas of my life where I was more attached to having things turn out a certain way. However, I must admit that I did not have to use any force or will to make myself do something that I did not feel like. When I was with the energy of the core it just made intuitive sense to let that magnificent energy handle my projects rather than me try to do it my way. I felt so loved and supported that it seemed almost stupid to not work in alignment with this expansive and powerful energy. Why would I not want to enjoy the safety and pampering of feeling backed up by the most powerful and creative force in the universe?

So how is this experience related with desires? What I realized after my meditation was that in handing over my projects to the creative core energy (and by asking it to energize them in alignment with it’s own natural thrust), I was in essence surrendering my own desires to this core energy. I used to think of surrendering as something where I explicitly had to ‘give up’ something – a bit like a sacrifice where I am losing something or giving up something. Today’s experience of surrender felt like there was no ‘loss’ involved – I only gained. It was a most beautiful experience and it happened naturally. In choosing to align my work and projects with the creative core of the cosmos, it was just win-win-win for everyone. Even my analytical mind could see how choosing to do something that was not aligned with the creative core was an ineffective strategy – one that would require way more effort and will on my part and one that had a good chance of exploding in my face sooner or later.

This experience of aligning my desires with the creative core or force of the universe (or whatever you wish to call it) was way more fun than any past method I have used to try and deal with desires. It did not require any willpower or force, there was no need to classify anything cognitively, there was no need for judgment and no battle involved. It was a simple energetic offering of projects and aspects of my life to the core energy and allowing the parts of it that were not in alignment to fall away. I have tried to describe it as well as I can but since nothing can match your own personal experience I have also created a guided recording to facilitate you in experiencing this ease of aligning your desires and projects with the creative core of the cosmos. It is set as a downloadable track so feel free to share it with others as well but do share it along with this write up so that they have a context of what it is about.

I used to believe at one point that the way to happiness was to work hard towards achieving the fulfilment of my desires. I also used to believe at another point that the key to lead a good life was to learn to differentiate between right and wrong desires (suppress the wrong ones and stoke the right ones). At yet another point in my life I used to believe that the journey to nirvana was the journey of getting free from all desires. Maybe there is some ‘truth’ in each of these beliefs but maybe there are more ways than just these of working with our desires. I know that for some of you even talking or thinking about desires might bring up a lot of judgment in your mind. It brings up a lot of judgment in my mind as well. That is totally understandable given the amount of conversation, thinking and preaching we have engaged in on the topic of desires.

I do not want to get into the game of analyzing our ‘collective judgment’ around desires now. It will only stick us further. However, most ‘voices of judgment’ exist primarily in our left brain – in our critical and analytical minds. So in this meditation we will try to rely on our right-brains (our intuitive minds) which works in the present – where judgment cannot really exist. Let’s see what experience you have from that place. Download the meditation here: https://drive.google.com/…/0B9wN26BSkJ-pS0JITXhpYko4T…/view…


Published by Ramya Ranganathan

My identity is crafted around four Ps - Poetess-Philosopher-Parent-Professor. You can read more about my journey here (http://craftingourlives.com/ramya/)

3 thoughts on “What to do with Desires? – Overcome, Suppress? Stoke? Or Perhaps just Align?

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  2. Ramya – very nicely written. So much patience and determination
    I am also trying out …

  3. Desires lead to delusion, that’s why it’s hard to overcome.
    I can connect with you.
    Something similar happened to me.
    How our intelligence gets corrupted when desire arises and how delusion makes us do things even we know that they are wrong.

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