Sire, as a transitive verb, “2: to bring into being: originate” … yet that only came about as a word in 1611. Ah, but desire is acknowledged from the 13th Century. We are getting closer, but that’s still a long way off …
So if we have no ancient history of the word “desire,” we have to wonder about the translations from ancient teaching telling us to avoid desire pertinent to our desires causing our suffering; something is wrong.
Desire certainly “brings into being.” It is the source of creation. No seed would ever see the outside of its shell without the desire to grow. Desire is a strong, unrelenting force.
When we as adults recognize desire, it’s usually manifest as passion. There, we seem to hear the voice of desire strongly. Examples might be “I want to have a baby” or “I love you and want to get married [or be in a relationship].” Passions are exuberant expressions of our desires, desires very voice. They do not necessarily reflect the true desire though. If we hear “I want to have a baby,” the desire might really be a mired of possibilities.
The list might read like:
I want a sense of connection with you through something we create.
I want an attachment with you through our child.
I want to get out from under my parents by creating a family of our own.
I want to express my nurturing nature.
I want to make up for feeling un-nurtured by nurturing someone else.
I want to share in the beauty of childhood.
I want to have a baby so I can rear it how I think a child should grow up.
I want to avoid the worldly requirements and responsibilities of a job.
I want to pass on a part of me.
I want to create a birthright.
I want someone there to take care of me when I get old.
I never had a sense of family and I want to create one.
I want a baby because that’s what we should do.
I’m pregnant; of course I want to have this baby.
As absurd as some of those may sound, I have heard every one of those statements from the mouth of parents. The list could be far longer if we took desire to its very basic levels.
We have an inherent problem with understanding our desires … for virtually all of our childhood, all we heard was “no” [in one form or another]. The flip side is the parents that let the child run the house by giving them their every whim with virtually no guidance. There, we learned that every whim [desire] is a way of controlling people … it’s the spoiled brat syndrome.
But for most of us, NO was the real world experience of desire.
That list looks something like:
No, you can’t have that, we can’t afford it.
No, you can’t play with your friends, we are going to ___________.
No, you can’t play the tuba, your grades suck and it costs too much.
No, your imaginary friends are not real.
No, you’ll spoil your dinner.
No, don’t run, you’ll trip.
No, you can’t play in the street, you’ll get hit.
No, keep your mouth shut.
No, you have to share, it’s nice to share.
No, I don’t care that you want to stay up, it’s time for bed.
No, don’t touch that, you’ll break it.
No talking in the halls.
No chewing gum.
The list could go on forever and everyone has had their own experiences of “NO.” In our first year upon this planet, most often, every desire we have is looked upon with approval. We play with our toes in discovery and everyone says “ah that’s cute”. We decide to stand erect and walk; parents cheer us on. We speak our first words desiring to communicate and everyone gets excited.
Then life happens. Now when we play with ourselves in discovery, we hear “no, don’t masturbate.” [And G-d forbid that it’s two children at age six realizing they are built differently.] Now when we want to walk or run on our own, it starts as “no, hold my hand” - or – “no, don’t run you’ll fall.” Being self-mobile continues to deteriorate as we bus our kids to school so they are “safe.” And as for expressing ourselves verbally … well. We hear oldies like “kids are meant to be seen and not heard.” “We’re having an adult conversation, don’t interrupt.” “Be quite.” And on, and on, and on.
Most of us enter adulthood not knowing how we really feel about anything, let alone our desires. So much of our motivation is in rebellion to sensed controls, all those “no-no’s” … acts of desperation dominate our behavior. We act out what we think states our independence and individuality only to find we are still following the norm of all those other people doing the same thing. We never get close to looking at what really stimulates us ... our desires.
The big desires, the ones that scream as passions, those we may hear, but often in confusion. Seldom do we search our truth to know just why “I want to have a baby.” By the time we do realize those passions, they are laced with the voices of parents and society. Our task is complex because we never learned how to recognize our desires, let alone what they really mean. Raw desire is seldom approved of unless it fits the norm.
I myself often have to stand back and look at my actions in the light of desire before I can understand my motivations. A recent event of having to do that actually inspired this very writing. While living off the road, I had put aside repairing [or replacing if need be] the batteries in my motorhome. Lots of silly reasons abounded. Eventually though, I did make the restoration and it worked to a point. But afterwards, the solar panel charging system did not work, and again I put off doing anything about it. Even when life led me to return to the road, I resisted taking care of the problem.
Why? Because every phase of having the motorhome as viable meant that it could/would be my home … and I desired something very different. I desired a home in which I could share a loving existence with another. And at that time, it was unfeasible that the relationship of choice could/would live with me in my motorhome. For me to keep up with the necessary maintenance of the motorhome, suggested denial of my deeper desire.
And just how deep does that desire conflict go? For me, it was so deep that I ignored a single wire [one of many connecting the solar panels] replaced on the wrong pole of the refurbished batteries. I knew it looked wrong and I never would have wired from that switch to a negative terminal. But I let it go … desire was ruling my motivations, and my actions. Even after returning to the road, I really wanted [desired] a home that my motorhome could not represent. My resistance led me to see the desire, and once seen, I was able to move forward with ease.
Many will see their desires, at least the big ones, with trepidation. They might even experience fear based on breaking all the norms of expectations, most often though, not their own expectations. Our task is to break down the ambiguity of reasoning to reach our deepest desires. For me, it was the need to share a sense of connection within a presumable arena of self-expression. That represented a sense of “home.” But I had to see it.
When we embrace our truth, what is real for us, all the reasoning in the world will drop away. Then we are free to examine our desires from a stance of truth for ourselves. If we go back and look at deeper desires for “I want to have a baby,” the language might look quite different.
For instance, “I want to pass on a part of me” might seem like a desire for immortality, possibly based on a fear of death, but really based on a sense of living an unfulfilling life, one that does not express the true you. The real desire is to be living a full life. And in truth, there are many ways to live a full life, which may include having a baby, but not necessarily. And if you find that having that baby did not fulfill the breadth of expressing the true you, you have a problem. Seeing our desires in full is important.
Years ago, when training in sales through the Dale Carnegie Institute, one of the things they taught us was how to smoke out a client’s real objection to making a purchase. The first “reason” for not making a purchase is seldom the real reason, and price hardly ever had anything to do with it.
The process went like this:
Find the first objection, even the classic “I want to think about it.” Our response would be, “Great, it’s important to think about how you spend your hard earned money. Once you thought about it, what would be the reason you might not go ahead with the purchase?” [And then shut your mouth until they answer you.]
Their answer might be, “I need to feel like I can trust the people I am buying from.” Our answer, “Absolutely, trust is huge. What would instill a sense of trust for you?” [And again, always, shut your mouth until they answer you.]
Their answer might be, “I’m new in the area and don’t know anyone who has bought from you.” Now you have them. Now you can pull out references of both delighted customers, and customers who had a problem that you resolved immediately in their favor.
Of course the questions above are hypothetical, but the point is the process. The product did not matter, nor did any specific objection. Every objection [or resistance] is always valid, and always followed with, “If that need were met, what would stop you then?” Eventually, the customer will run out of objections because you have honored each one, and inquired about a deeper level as in “anything else”. [Only as a side note: It’s important to always ask “what,” never “why.” “Why” stimulates personal emotional confrontation or justification whereas “what” addresses the logic.] In sales, it typically takes at least three rounds of objections to get to the truth; it may take more. It’s the same with our desires.
It becomes easy for us to avoid looking at our desires. It takes a tough determination to be willing to go through the process to smoke them out. The payoff though, is seeing our truth. Once we realize our truth, we can be free to act upon it accordingly. Hidden desires will no longer dictate our actions. As said before, desire is a strong, unrelenting force. It will drive our actions, like it or not. When we see, accept and honor our desires, then we drive our actions by choice, choice in desire, and even passion.
For me, the easiest way to recognize hidden desire is to acknowledge resistance. When we are following our truth, there is no resistance. Emotional resistance only occurs in denial. Even with the repairs to my solar charging system, I had to come to a point of realizing resistance. I actually yelled at myself, “What’s the resistance here?” As soon as I did, the answer [the hidden desire] sprang forth clearly. My mental response was “Wow,” followed by acceptance and relief at the absurdity for my collective actions. It was easy to move on from there.
The willingness to pursue reconciling resistance is based strictly on personal integrity. If we are unwilling to see truth, truth of ourselves, within ourselves, we will never address resistance. Instead, resistance [and our hidden desires] will address us continuously throughout life. All we will know are our disappointments and our suffering. Often, when I feel resistance to an activity, I’ll march headstrong right into it just to understand the “why.” It’s all about that personal integrity. We came forth at conception with integrity; our task is to reclaim it.
In most cases, as an infant, we followed our desires, and our passions. We expressed our life with joy. It is as we are meant to be and to live. Desire is not our enemy, if anything is, it can be our attachment with expectation to an outcome of our desires; and that is our suffering. But we seldom attach to our true desires, and, we are prone to attach to our expectations of an outcome. As an infant we played in discovery; we stood erect for the joy of doing; we spoke, not intent upon delivering a monolog, but simply to express ourselves.
As an infant we had neither attachment nor expectation of an outcome in the moment. We simply knew desire and the burning passion to live it. We knew life.
And for me, one of the greatest turning points in my life, was when a Dear Love of then, turned to me and spoke, “Be a child again.”
To this day, I thank you Anne Laure. Those words changed my life.