If the teachings are to be believed, desire is one of the cul-de-sacs of spiritual work. It is desire that very quickly tangles us up and suddenly takes us from ardent seeker to mash potatoes in no time flat. So it is something we must guard against, returning to the seemingly elusive “zero” of the Zen Buddhists? This is a place of non-attachment which so many teachings point out is the buggaboo of spiritual work. And many follow these edicts mindlessly without comprehension. These become catch phrases that so many have said that they don’t get examined. Maybe people are afraid to buck any trend for fear of looking foolish….or actually thinking for themselves. So I am going to give you my take from a man who has experienced awakening.
You see, the problem with losing all desire is that the desire to lose it is…..(chuckle) itself a form of desire. Something just ‘aint right in the land of the great cosmic muffin! What’s even worse is that our continual desire (ack! there is that word again) to merge with the divine is…..DESIRE. So sticky a thing! Even talking about not wanting it….brings it up. So what’s the problem? Obviously, I am exaggerating just a bit, but not much! But you BET there is a problem here, and it isn’t quite what some of the teachers would have you believe. So many have spent so much energy running from it that they have not realized that this is more mastery than denial. Denial…..well….denial is the worst of diseases, right? It shuts you down in no time flat! So many neurosis’s are tied to this. And teachers speaking of denying desire? Really?
The problem, the only real problem, with desire, is that desire so naturally reflects our own inner karmas. When I say karma, what I mean is what karma is at its very core; a misalignment to a divine presence that just so happens to be in all things. Karma is itself the outcome of a mismatch between us and the divine…..the higher expression of what we are and what is the universe. When out of alignment, things are, well, glitchy. This “glitchy” is karma. So instead of being able to reach for the perfect divine love, you get close, but not quite. There is a little problem…..maybe a sense of loss….or a bit of fear….or jealousy…..or really, any NUMBER of things! THAT is the karma I am talking about. When you have fear, you then ACT out of that fear. When you are jealous, well, most often that jealousy results in your ACTING all manner of ways (some of them quite silly, right?)….and yet there it is. It is a missalignment with the divine because when you touch it feel it, you can feel all the karma in you in a moment like that in a way that is illuminating. And yet, you would think a moment like that owuld have the power to just melt it all away….except it doesn’t. All this does is make you AWARE. And it is this AWARENESS that works away at it, like a millstone grinding all that grit down to dust…..letting it just wash away into nothing until it is no more.
And I know that this might sound different from how many have grown accustomed to thinking or talking about it, but trust me when I say, this is the very core of what drives ALL karma. Yes, it is defined as “action” by the Hindu monks, but that action must come about by way of intent….a person with certain thoughts and feelings who then ACTS. Karma is NOT punishment as many seem to suggest. Not at all. But the further you are from Divine Alignment, the more you will suffer and the more you will most likely bring suffering on others. THAT is because, I say, the universe favors good over bad. We can, and do, do both, but when you choose the good, good naturally makes more of itself. So, simply put, choose the good! But you wont be able to do good if you don’t FEEL good. And THAT is the core of “spiritual” work. I put that in quotes because EVERYTHING we do is de-facto spiritual.
How you speak, carry yourself, breath and sleep….it is ALL spirit! And thus, it is spiritual. And the core of all of this is the Creator. It is in everything and is everywhere. It is in you, aunt Tilly, and it is in me, too! It is the universal solvent, the answer to every tune, the universal material upon which everything is built. It is running in everything! That is actually incredibly awesome and every single thing I have EVER experienced when experiencing it, which has been a near overwhelm in the form of desire…..but a desire not quite like earthly desire. Certainly, absolutely, modeled on earthly desire but lacking many qualities that enter into other lower vibrational forms of desire (like lust for example). And the love I have felt has been so remarkable that there was NO QUESTION that the Creator, as presence in all of this loves us all in every form of love there is. This is the hallmark of a being that simply lives without ANY limit. And if it does, its so far ahead of us in terms of its being that it looks entirely limitless through our binoculars.
So what IS the deal with desire? Good question. Really good question, actually.
Desire refines as we refine. The more we reach this “zero” point, the less competing material that gets in the way of an experience of the divine. And where is it you find this divine? Within. Nowhere else but there. Every single action or reaction that you think or feel is all based on something inside of you. The people you find interesting or beautiful or handsome…..all of that is based on what is within you. So when we say that someone MAKES us feel a certain way? Really, it is your very own reaction at work there. And suffering? Suffering comes from the same place, too. Inside. Expectations dashed, all of that. Messy business, but a business that leads to a souls liberation if you are “on it” which is to say “aware.” And desire? It continues. We think there is some place of completion that we will reach simply…….because…..we desire it so badly!
But you know something? All this talk about reaching zero….I think it serves a really important purpose. I have been living it, haltingly, willingly, brilliantly, and darkly. I know it seven ways to Sunday. And since I am not a buddhist or a Hindu I can say that I have done a lot of work…..there is more to go, but I have been really hard at this work….the koshas have been cleared from five layers deep through all but two centers in completion. One center has been just barely touched and this was, it seems, saved for last. I have “worked” hard at it for years and just let it undo me. Deeper and deeper I go. So I think that based on my evolving sense of what desire is I can offer you this one tidbit. It is either wise or insane. You get to decide. I am either delusional or divine. What I am saying is that there is something about desire that bothers me still, after all of this….
We want to think that we are complete and whole at that place. But what I sense after doing all of this work is that we didn’t come here to be complete or whole. We came here to be gloriously human. That means that we are like one small flower on a vast tree of cosmic awareness. There will be time enough to know ourselves as entirely unbounded and free. We did not come here to be free, but to free the world so that it might resolve into a new creation. Some will say this world will stay the way it is….that there will be terrible things happening here forever…..but in the core of my being, I know that we will evolve this planet and the consciousness upon it. There will be a “divergence” that will take place, yes, and two worlds will divide. What will that mean and what will that look like? I wont presume to know what exists beyond my own karmic blinders. But whole? Do you feel how you are one with everything? That is wholeness of a kind. Does this resolve into wholeness within you?
And yes, we become aware of our being as if it is one flower on a vast tree. And we can feel ourselves as this tree, as the wind, the water flowing by and the mountains rolling off into the distance and even the planet and stars. There seems to me a beautiful poetry in our limited frames. Just little ol’ us swinging through the vast night of stars and space dust. It seems that we came her not to experience being whole but to appreciate how we are one in a multitudes of one’s. You know? And desire is enough to keep us yearning to be ONE. And you know, desire is enough to keep us disatisfied because desire always speaks and yearns from a place of MORE. The great thing about desire is it moves you forward. It moves you closer to Creator. It moves you through a career. Sometimes it can move your out of one life into another. Desire is so powerful, so useful, I would NEVER seek to remove it from my life. In its purest expression it is without peer. In fact, desire in its highest expression is very much WHAT a part that the divine IS.
And I know that for the bean counters out there, and the scribes and scholars, none of this is worth looking into or considering. And I just don’t really care. I just don’t. I woke up a Tantric. It seems it is an important part of what I am. I very much want to touch the universal current of the creative force moving through all things. Forget what you think you know about tantra as a sexual practice. At its core, its not about sex at all. In fact I would even say that most forms of Tantra that involve more than one person embodied are tender traps in the beginning of spiritual awakening/work. Get it right in YOU and then you can get it right with another.
But complete? Honestly, love is not about completion. Love is about a continual, perennial, engagement. It is, in its purest sense, its own reward. When we can be like this, within zero, not entirely detached, but free from entangling belief and its karma, we begin to get this beautiful view of who we are….and how we can be with another…..or how we can be with God…..how we can be with the world.
Truth be told, waking up to the divine within is enough to SHOW you how complete you can be…..but we here are like dust specks on a giant dust speck whirling around in space. Inconsequential perhaps at first glance but the miracle is how incredibly consequential everything actually is. And when we can rise to that great challenge, I suppose we have the makings of a darn near perfect world. That, or it will be a wreck. But I think it will be amazing if we just set aside all the competing material away and let it all go……to zero.
But do you know anyone who has reached zero? Me either. We continue to work, incomplete, suffering on our way to the promise land. But you know, the sky gets brighter, better, and more beautiful each and every time I step into the world where there is less and less of the junk….the limiting belief….that has framed so much of our world here. The whole point of desire is not to be entirely complete. Completion itself sounds so boring, no? Yes, I am ready for zero. I am working to get there and what I now sense is that zero is just another level to be where we are no longer dogged by the incredible neurosis that is anything more, or less, than zero. You know? Life beyond all insanity that is our world. A stranger, perhaps, on this earth, but AT LEAST at a place where all the old stuff no longer reigns supreme. Anger, jealousy, fear of loss, loss, fear, lust.
So that’s it. Wandering buddha-boy just speaking his truth. It may not be YOUR truth, but what I know is that this world is full of people who so badly WANT to BE a certain way that they will convince themselves of a mountain of things. We all do it. Climbing out of that place is what moving to zero is all about in my opinion. I just want to save you the mystical mumbo-jumboness of making this ride all about giving it all up for some cosmic form of Lent. There is a LOT to give up….for sure…..but keep it in perspective. When it all goes, what do you think will be left? I really hope you will think about that for the next week….because it is a biggie….and I really am curious to know.
Until then, enjoy this life with a side of grand desire because it seems to go with everything!