The feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state
An inclination to want things
What is your heart’s desire?
Tell me. What do you desire in life? What do you really want? Some of you may desire peace on earth, happiness, or untold riches and power, but whether you desire to save the world or destroy it, you both originate from the same source.
The dictionary definition tells us that desire is a feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state; but why are you unsatisfied? Were you born that way? Is it in your genetic heritage? Or is it something that creeps up on you while you’re not looking and possesses you?
First of all, we have to recognise that we are desire. It doesn’t matter where it originates from. We are told by the churchmen that desire is a sin, and that god will punish those who desire, but that’s all a bit too fire and brimstone for my liking. I want to get underneath the word and find out what it really means to desire something, why I desire it, and why I get angry when I can’t have it. Let us begin our discussion slowly and carefully.
I have always desired things, women mostly; not for who they were, but what they looked like. I desired their full blooded lips, their breasts, their curved waists and their long legs and I wanted to have them now. Why shouldn’t I? After all, I desired them, so that was half way there to getting them into bed with me. Occasionally I got lucky, and had passionate sex with one or more of them, but in the morning, the feeling of contentment had gone and I was once again unsatisfied. Perhaps, as my therapist once said, the reason I desired these women is that I was longing for love, but that couldn’t be it. I desired money as much as I desired women, and money wasn’t a replacement for love (was it?)
Maybe I just wanted to be happy, and that’s why I was desiring all of these material pleasures; but I felt happy and content in life, I just desired women and money, that was all, surely it didn’t make me a bad person? Maybe I was a sex maniac, suggested another therapist, and I desired women because I couldn’t ever satisfy my craving. But I wasn’t a sex maniac; I didn’t want to have sex with women all the time, and anyway, I had plenty of girlfriends who would have been more than happy to satisfy any unfulfilled sexual desire. No, there had to be more to it than that.
I once told a friend I was “in lust” with her; I didn’t really know what it meant but I had heard the word used often. That’s it I thought, maybe this whole desire thing is just lust, and I started my journey to find out what it meant to be in lust, not just with a person, but with an object, or an idea.
- A strong sexual desire
- Self-indulgent sexual desire (personified as one of the deadly sins)
- Have a craving, appetite, or great desire for
I lusted after one girl for quite a time. I loved her black hair, the shape of her mouth, her eyes, her large breasts, and her rounded bottom and long legs. She was “perfect” in my eyes. Her laugh was captivating, her conversation engaging. I was already in a relationship and I think she was too, and she was just a friend of a friend of a friend I happened to see occasionally in bars and cafe’s. I already had a girlfriend who had lovely dark hair, a captivating laugh, had nice breasts and long legs, and I thought I was in love with her; so I found it a great surprise to see myself lusting around after this other girl, flirting and talking excitedly to her, without regard to my girlfriend.
Every time she would come into the bar, I felt a wave of excitement come over me, my heart would start to pound. I loved the way she looked, with her green eyes, enhanced by mascara and her lips reddened by lipstick, and as she would come over to talk to me, I inhaled her perfume so deeply I could feel it engulf me. I loved her straight away, I wanted her to be mine, I didn’t want her to be with her boyfriend anymore, I hated him, and how he touched her when I was around. I faced up to it that I was jealous.
I wanted her more than words could hope to express, I wanted to spend every minute with her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her at work, and it was starting to affect my relationship with my girlfriend. I became cold towards her, I didn’t want to make love to her any more. The smell of her perfume that once enchanted me, became sour. I had to be with this girl, I kept thinking, she is the one I love, not my girlfriend.
My lucky break came one saturday evening during a party at the local bar, there were over 150 people there, and we were all crammed in together, laughing and drinking. I saw her out the corner of my eye and smiled at her. She came over:
“Hi alan! Howya doing?”
“Great thanks, you?”
And at that moment, our eyes met and something electric went through my body. I instantly started to become nervous and I said in a somewhat less confident voice:
“Where’s your boyfriend tonight?”
“Oh, he’s away for the weekend…”
“Oh!” I said, feigning surprise, “do you want a drink?”
So we stood and talked, and talked about life and love, and how our other half’s were annoying us so much, and we drank and we drank and we laughed and we laughed. Suddenly she said:
“Do you want to get out of here? It’s too busy.”
“Sure” I replied. “Where?”
“Well… We could go back to my place, there’s no one there and I’ve got plenty of booze!”
So off we walked, and as we walked she linked her arm in mine. My heart was nearly at mach two, it was beating so fast. We got to her place and I noticed that actually I was pretty drunk. She lit some candles and put on some music. She got me a strong gin and tonic, and we sat on the sofa together. I can frankly say that I have no idea what we were talking about, it was all a bit of a blur.
But I do remember that she leaned over and suddenly kissed me. Her lips were swollen, and she tasted sweet, and we kissed for what seemed like several hours. She then got up, and went to take my hand.
“I want to make love to you” she said.
I whispered something like,
“I’ve wanted you for so long…”
And we went into the bedroom, where she undressed me gently, caressing every part of my body as she went. I slightly remember fumbling with her bra strap, but finally we were naked. Her body was on top of mine, her skin felt so soft and so smooth, and she smelled even sweeter than she tasted. Our bodies became entwined in heady passion. I felt that maybe I was dreaming, but as she caressed my body with her tongue, I knew it was real.
“Make love to me now” she said in a whisper. And as she said that, I rolled on top of her and gently slid inside her. I will save you the gory details, but needless to say it was the best love making of my life, without a doubt! and sometime after sunrise we fell asleep in each others arms.
Now, I have had a lot of one night stands in my life, but usually when I wake up in the morning in a strange bed, I start to worry, and think “I’ve got to get out of here,” (it’s funny how different the world looks when the alcohol wears off), but as I woke, I felt none of that. I felt a strange calm as I lay there next to her. She was facing me, and she still looked as beautiful as she had done the night before. Wow! I thought. This must be love.
We eventually got dressed, swapped phone numbers, and I went back to my own place in a bit of a dream state. I had a shower, put on some clean clothes and made myself something to eat without a single thought of my girlfriend. I was filled with this new girl. I couldn’t believe that, from a feeling of “I like you” I had finally made love to her just hours before. I heard the phone go; it was a text:
“Fancy something to eat and a chat later?”
I checked the number and it was her…
“Definitely! What time?” I replied.
“Pick me up at eight.”
Hours seemed to pass and I avoided my girlfriend’s calls to my mobile as I don’t think I would have been able to lie at that moment. Fortunately, she didn’t come round.
I picked up the new girl at eight and she looked beautiful, just as she had done from the moment I met her. We talked and laughed and then she said:
“You know I’ve got a boyfriend,”
“Well I’ve got a girlfriend you know.”
“So what are we going to do?” she asked.
I was in shock, here was the girl I loved asking me to be with her.
“Well it will be difficult but I want to be with you” I replied.
“Me too” she said.
And we both shared a sigh of relief.
“When will you tell her?” she asked.
“Ok, I’ll tell my boyfriend then as well.”
The next week was very stressful, and when I did eventually tell my girlfriend it felt like relief, even though she was shouting and crying. But then she was gone. She picked up her stuff the next day and that was it. I was now free, and so was the new love of my life.
We were now free to spend every waking moment with each other, and we did. We made love as often as we could; we went to the cinema, we went for walks by the river, we talked and we talked and we loved.
But four weeks later. Nothing.
Suddenly I didn’t like her perfume any more, I didn’t particularly like the way she dressed or how she spoke, and from what I could work out, she didn’t like me very much either. We just didn’t seem to have anything in common anymore. In fact looking back we never did. So that was it. We parted. As soon as love had come it had gone, and neither of us could work out why!
“Well, I guess that’s just the way it goes,” she said.
Suddenly I started thinking about my girlfriend again, and how mean I had been to her. “I must try to get back with her,” I thought. So I sent her flowers and gifts and sorry cards, but it was all too late. I had blown my chances with her. “Don’t ever contact me again,” came the text message late one night. And I never did.
So, that was that, I found out that lust is a short term affair. That it had nothing to do with real love; it was a chemical attraction between two people, and just like drugs, when the chemical wears off there is just a bleak reality staring you in the face.
But how could this have happened? I was so sure I was in love with her. I was so sure we would spend the rest of our lives together, and then it was over. I promised never to fall in lust again… Until the next time.
But lust is just desire, not companionship nor trust, and especially not love. I found that out! I wanted her and I had her. And that was the end of it. The same as she wanted me and had me. We had both desired to possess each other and once the possessing was done, there was nothing left. In the same way we desire consumer goods, power or money, but once the desire is satiated, we return to a state of dissatisfaction, and the whole process starts again.
So what is it we really want? What is it we want in life that is not desire? And that is a hard question to answer. Desire is just want, remember. I want to make a lot of money, I want a new house, I want that girl, I want power, I want a diamond ring. Do you see? It makes no difference what the object of desire is made of – it doesn’t even have to be physical. But as soon as it takes root in your mind, all the connections will start to be made in your brain to help you get it. So it is dangerous to all.
But there is an easy way out. And that is, through understanding why you want something so much, you would do “anything” to get it. What, after all, is there in this life you could possibly want so much? You already have everything you need. You have food, shelter, and clothing (hopefully) and perhaps someone to share your life, but it isn’t enough, is it? You must have more, you deserve more; and if you want something, why shouldn’t you have it?
But into this life we are born, naked, and we will exit it much the same way. Whether we desired or possessed has no effect on the outcome. We will die. You will die.
And what good came of the misery you created whilst desiring so much? As I found out to my detriment, I already had everything I needed, and when I desired more I ended up with nothing. That was an important lesson for me.
The second lesson was in understanding that trying to become something or somebody was also desire. My parents always wanted me to be somebody; they wanted me to do something with my life and become someone. From being somebody or becoming somebody I take it to mean they wanted me to be successful in business, or be rich and have a large house. But it started early on in life at school. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” they would ask. If I knew then what I know now I would say “I just want to be, ” that would have foxed them! But do you understand what I am saying here?
Our whole lives are geared up for desire, so it’s no wonder we actively desire things when we get older. “Become something great,” my mum used to say, but now I know I do not need to become or be anything other than what I am. I am neither great nor stupid. I am neither rich nor poor. I just am.
Perhaps it is a hard concept for you to grasp; but when I ask you what you are, you always reply: “I am a student, I am an engineer, I am unemployed, I am poor, I am wealthy,” But those are just a man-made labels. The beginning part, “I am,” is all that you are. It is all that I am, do you see? You are neither a businessman nor a thief. You just are.
When we try to become something, we engage the desire module in the brain which says “Let’s become something,” because our poor old brains don’t know any better. If only they could see that the human being is already all that he can be. It is the brain that is saying “No, I do not have enough,” not you. You already know you have enough, but your brain just can’t get it into its head!
When we become, we change what we are. When we just “be,” we are already! Does that make any sense to you? Once I start the process of becoming, we start an unstoppable chain of events. The brain doesn’t know when it’s time to stop becoming and just be satisfied, it thinks you want to keep changing all the time, and the only way to stop it is to say “Hold on brain, I’m sick of this becoming something else, I am happy the way I am. I am satisfied with life, I am satisfied with who I am, it is you who wants to make me something I am not. I cannot desire more than I am already. I just am,” and you will feel the calm wash over you.
So when the seed of desire tries to plant itself in your brain, watch it carefully and calmly laugh and let it pass over you. If we are still desiring the material, how can we ever expect to be free of the conflict we find ourselves in, day after day? No good ever comes out of wanting something so much that the desire becomes your reason for living.
You already have a good reason for living: To experience the wonder of the world and share in its magic; and to help create a world with compassion, free from division and hatred. But if you want that externally, then it is just desire. By becoming the creation and the compassion, you will find that the sands of desire just blow over you.
Watch yourself closely, then watch yourself some more. You are everything. You just are.