Tag Archives: desires

Choose the Reflection of the Purest Self

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Searching.
For what?
What is it that I think I want in order to be happy?
And can I look at that wanting,
and watch how it melts into more wanting?
Can I watch the anger,
and witness it fueling more anger?
Peace flowing into more peace?
Love blossoming into more love?
Joy dawning upon fathomless joy?

Whatever we give our attention to
fully and without pause,
this is what we become.

Let us awaken to our patterns,
let us choose where we send our thoughts.
The world waits for us to know it.
The universe is hushed, ready for us to see it.
Our shining self glows brightly,
let us open our eyes.
Let us see the mirrors all around us,
and choose the reflection of our purest self.

Still Wishing for My Own Space

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It’s hard to adapt to life without a meditation room coming from three years of enjoying a space that was all mine, where I could close the door, and sit undisturbed. This past year I reclaimed my inner writer, and this manifested in part in my committing to this blog and posting every day.  Having my own quiet space to sit and write was of immeasurable help in keeping my commitment. All I had to do was show up, and I had the perfect quiet space to sit and write in peace and solitude.

And now it is different.  Now I sit and write at the dining room table, and already my mother and then my sister have shown up, puttering around getting their water for bed time.  A part of me resists forced interaction.  While I love them both, it is exceedingly difficult to maintain a steady stream of thought when it keeps being interrupted by people shuffling around, opening cabinets, turning on water, clearing their throat–every noise is as bad as someone banging a timpani right next to my ears, as far as distraction is concerned, it’s all the same.

Earlier this evening I tried to sit in my bedroom while my husband was downstairs watching The Walking Dead. I first showered and brushed my teeth, and organized my space a little, because a cluttered space just isn’t conducive to cultivating an uncluttered mind.  Just as I was preparing to sit, our old cat began meowing his head off. He is mostly blind and mostly deaf, and meows loudly in a feline echo location of sorts as he tries to get his bearings in our new house.

Well, crap. I walked over to our master bathroom where we keep his litter box, his food, and his water.  I gave him a fresh bowl of water, made sure he had plenty of food, petted him, put him in our bed, and hoped that he would settle down and snooze.  He finally settled, but by that time my husband was done watching his show, which meant that he was going to head to our room to shower off and go to bed. I was disgruntled. I told him what happened with the cat, told him I hadn’t yet sat, and he said, “Well, what do you want me to do? You can’t sit with me up there?” Then I began grumbling about how hard it is to sit with someone shuffling around in the room, But, I said, it’s your bedroom, so come on up. Grumble grumble grumble.

I put earplugs in, pulled my fleece hat all the way over my eyes to block out two of my senses, hoping it would make it easier to go inwards. Sensory withdrawal is one of the eight limbs of yoga, and a crucial element of successful meditation. Withdrawal of the senses is easier, of course, when there isn’t so much sensory input in one’s space to begin with. Think about the quiet of a monastery or an ascetic’s cave dwelling–there isn’t much to disturb one’s journey inwards.

But a monastery or a cave dwelling this house is not. So even with the earplugs I heard my husband in the shower and my cat meowing a few more times.  I heard my husband slide the glass doors of the shower enclosure when he stepped out, I heard him toweling off and brushing his teeth.  I saw the light flick on and off, heard him  start to say something to me and then stop when he realized I was trying to sit against all odds.

Yep, feeling sorry for myself. Still mourning the loss of my room.  And there is a great battle being waged within, many parts vying for my attention, wanting to be validated. One of the loudest parts is the one saying, You don’t have anything to complain about.  Stop being so spoiled.  You have a bed, for God’s sake, a home, food, children, a husband, a family, a job. Stop being so goddamned self-centered. Well, that voice certainly isn’t helping me to feel any better.

Another part of me is hopeful.  It says, Maybe you’ll come out of this stronger in your ability to concentrate. Just keep trying.  Keep showing up for your practice. You’re doing fine.

Another voice that pipes up is that of my inner child.  She is just plain having a tantrum about all of this.  No fair no fair no fair! She shouts. What happened to my room? I want my room! No fair!
What do I say to such an angry little girl to help her feel better?

Anyway, that’s where I am tonight.  Wishing for a space all of my own, searching for meaning in all of this, trying to adapt, wanting to be good, wanting to let myself want what I want, wanting to grow up, wanting to be nurtured and coddled…wanting. Could this be about me releasing attachments and embracing reality, loving what is, regardless?

Friends, any thoughts you might offer will be much appreciated, even if it’s just to say, “I hear you.” Thanks for listening.  I hope you all are happy in this moment.

A Few Things I’m Wanting

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Nature
mountains, trees, streams,
rocks, moss, ferns,
earth
sustainability,
health, deep breathing,
connection,
beauty,
creativity,
elemental balance,
trust
peace
appreciation for what I have,
movement, dance,
rock climbing,
yoga
music
art
delicious food,
love,
the ability to direct my life force energy
in service of others to enrich their lives
evolution
communion
lightness

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This evening I was mulling over the idea of signing up for an online business school that one of my teacher colleagues recommended to me one week ago at our teacher training. It’s relatively expensive, and I would certainly need my husband’s agreement before I could make such an investment.

Thinking about this expense, I began asking questions like:

“Will I experience measurable results?”  
“Will I be able to map out a plan for a clear progression in all aspects of my inner and outer worlds?”
“Will I be able to generate greater income that will allow for an abundance of different experiences for myself and my family?”

These questions led me to ponder yet another important question:  “What is it that I really want right now?” The above poem offers some answers to that question, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.  It is just a few little words describing what was on my mind, just a few words revealing what I keep in my heart…

And now I want to know, really I do–What are YOU wanting right now? Do you often ask yourself that question? Have you noticed your desires changing as time passes?  Are there certain among them that remain constant? Tell me!

The Wanting

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It comes
sometimes slowly–
creeping up,
sometimes quickly–
like an explosion,
but it doesn’t matter how it gets here,
it always comes–
the wanting.

Wanting to be richer
wanting to be older
wanting to be younger
wanting to be more beautiful
wanting to be thinner
wanting to be fatter
taller
shorter
lighter
darker
this wanting fills us until we know nothing else…

wanting to be more accepted
wanting that new pair of shoes
that big ass TV
that super fast car
a new bottle of perfume
a bigger house
a summer home
a place to call home
to have a family
to escape from family
a vacation in the tropics, when winter’s chill has settled in the bones
the chill of autumn in the height of burning summer
and always there is still more wanting…

wanting recognition
wanting love
wanting peace
wanting understanding
wanting compassion
wanting closure
revenge
solace
amnesty
forbearance
and the wanting continues…

there is no end to the wanting.
knowing this, let us recognize that feeling,
that all encompassing feeling of wanting,
the urge to accumulate more belongings
to accumulate people
or attention
or sunshiny weather–

and let us remember,
with every fiber of our being,
let us remember,

that when we shed our bodies
there is no more wanting,
only union, merging with the
great unbounded consciousness of ALL THAT IS.

What if we could merge with this consciousness now?
What if, in this alive body, we could know
awareness beyond wanting?

Sitting in stillness and breathing,
let yourself awaken to who you are,
the self in you that exists beyond body and mind:
the peace, the joy, the lightness, the contentment–
your truest self, your luminous, beautiful, invisible
essence self.

No more wanting now…
just being in this blissful self that you are,
floating in the infinite ocean of consciousness.

Let’s Talk About Desire

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One of my dear blogger friends, Willow, left a comment on last night’s post asking me about my take on desires.

Is it part of your philosophy to let go of desires? I’ve been wanting to ask you about that for a while, curious to learn what your beliefs are about desire, and this seemed like a good post for doing that. For myself, I’m fine with having desires and try to take the attitude that whatever comes of my desires is a blessing–that if the desire is fulfilled quickly and easily, great; if there are many challenges before I get my desire, they were meant as learning experiences, and if I flat out don’t get what I wanted, just the wanting and the experiences that followed were the next steps on my spiritual journey. What’s your take on desire?

Well, as far as I see it, to be human is to have desires.  Whether we’re a baby wanting the comfort of our mother’s arms, or a high school kid wanting a car, or an adult wanting a vacation, or a soul on the path to liberation, we’re all faced with desires–some of them very strong–throughout our lives.

I’ve been searching for a means to handle my desires in a balanced way for more than two decades, and have never come to any one solution or any one conclusion–because desires aren’t some kind of logical thing that can be tested and proven and retested to repeat the same results.  Desires change as we change.

On one hand, I want to look at what I have in this moment and feel fulfilled.  I want to experience freedom from craving and aversion both, so that I might keep my focus on the growth of my spirit instead of on the accumulation of specific possessions, relationships, or experiences.  I have experienced being so blinded by what I wanted that I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face.  I have hurt people who were close to me as I flew off half-cocked on journeys toward fulfilling my aspirations.  Specific desires can really put a body into a prison of expectations. We abandon ourselves when we become so consumed by desire that we can’t see anything but what we want.  That’s the shadow side of desire.

However desires also have a light side; they can serve as a gateway to creativity.  How can an artist bring a beautiful work into being if she doesn’t first have a vision and then the desire to bring that vision into material reality?  How about making big life changes–realizing what your calling is and switching jobs, or forging more meaningful bonds with other human beings, or wanting to devote your life energy toward helping ease the suffering of all beings?  Desires provide a framework within which we can launch our visions into reality, or at least bring them a little closer toward realization.  Desire gives us the motivation to keep trying until we bring our creations into being.

So what is the answer?  Instead of an either/or situation:  Either you let go of desire, or you embrace desire–I see this letting go and this embracing intertwined in an intricate dance, a dance in which we teach ourselves how to find balance.  I am chock full of desires for certain things–a meal that I don’t have to cook, more essential oils, a nap, just to give a few examples off the top of my head.  If I can meet my desires with awareness and simply notice that I’m having them, I can hold them up to the light of inquiry and ask myself, “Why?” Why do I not want to cook, why do I want more essential oils, a nap?  If I can find a good reason for wanting the things I that want, I might take steps to bring myself closer to them.

Additionally, I have found on countless occasions that I actually didn’t want the thing I thought I wanted–and I felt grateful, relieved even, for not getting the thing after all.  Remember the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for?”  It’s important for me to identify the reasons behind the desire and make an educated decision about dropping it or going for it; in this way I can feel at peace with my desires.  I know that I’m not letting them direct all of my decisions, neither am I depriving myself of a wonderful experience just because I think it is wrong to want something.  With a steady, even mind, I take a good look at what I’m wanting, and I choose.

So there you go…I’m not sure how lucid all of this is because it’s 11:30 pm and I’m half asleep, but hopefully I’ve said something that makes at least a little sense.  The point was really to explore a little and then open up the floor to anyone who’d like to share.  If any of you have thoughts to add, I’d love to hear them, and I’m sure Willow would too.  This is a great discussion to have–desires are so universal, so all pervading at times–just to share and to bring more awareness to our own patterns of thought surrounding desires gives us more insight, more power to greet whatever arises with equanimity.

Don’t be shy now!

 

What Are You Waiting For?

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One thing that I keep trying to impart to my yoga students is the fact that there is no past and there is no future, there is only this present moment of now.  I encourage students to not tell themselves the story that they will achieve happiness as soon as X, Y, and Z conditions are met; happiness happens now, because now is all that we ever have.  I also am acutely aware of the mind’s fundamental tendency to be dissatisfied, to want to seek ways of soothing hurt, anger, feelings of not measuring up, and how the mind can easily trick itself into believing that sense pleasures will bring happiness–and so I have a lot of compassion for those who are trying to be present, I have a lot of respect for their efforts, knowing how utterly difficult it can be to establish and maintain this kind of awareness.

It’s actually quite challenging, and at times discouraging, to note my own inability to remain present and attempt to uncover the happiness that is available in the here and now.  My intellect can easily grasp the idea of existing in the now, and it can completely comprehend that dwelling in the past or grasping for some imaginary thing in the future cannot give me a sense of lasting peace and happiness, because these temporal illusions distract me from just being present in this moment, which is the only place happiness can blossom.  But taking hold of a concept, mulling it over, and creating some kind of clarity around it is profoundly different from absorbing a truth and living it in every cell of one’s being.

As much as I have tried to be aware of the hopeless stories I tell myself, and as much as I have tried to not assign too much weight to them, I still have many ideas of what it would take to make me happy at some point in the future.  These ideas are so deeply embedded in my consciousness that they torment me when I’m attempting to meditate, they haunt me when I’m having a particularly hard moment, they infiltrate happy moments and turn them a little sour.  How to put a little more distance between myself and the stories, so that I can perhaps detach from them enough to discover my true identity?  I’m thinking that if I could write them all down and look at them fearlessly, I would discover that most of these stories are wrapped around the desire to manifest a specific sort of sensory experience.  Just becoming aware that I’m getting caught up in these stories is the first step in reclaiming my attention and making myself more available to the here and now.

I could tick off a list of of things that I think would contribute to my happiness,  and I’d see that the list is ever expanding, that there is no end to desire.  When I start looking at the conditions that I have placed on my happiness, I end up feeling sheepish, a bit embarrassed..how will I ever be free?  I’ve been trying so hard for so long. When will I be free?

One that note, I just wanted to know if anyone out there has been able to take a detached look at their desires, to really look them straight in the eye and honestly asses what feelings arise in response to them.  Do you tell yourself the same story that you will find happiness someday when ___________________________ happens?  The question is, what are you waiting for?  What experiences are you waiting to have, what sense objects are you waiting to acquire, before you can let yourself feel happy, contented, peaceful?

Courage!  When entering a dark room, bring a headlamp so that you can see.  In the light of awareness, all will be transformed.

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there is no end to my desires
and so I won’t attempt to list them all.

my body is tired, and I need to sleep.
maybe when I awaken tomorrow
I will feel a renewed sense of courage
and I’ll greet the desires head on,
I won’t give in to their siren song.

For now, though, my desire is sleep,
and I need sleep to be healthy.

I’m going to give in to that desire.