Friday, September 25, 2009

Desire

Desire, the most primal of human emotions.
Food, sex,companionship are our most basic physical desires.
Yet, there is the spiritual desire to understand the meaning of life, or should I say the meaning of death.
On a personal level, my life long desire has been for wealth. Not because it would allow me to buy anything my heart desires, but to free me from the constraints of of employment and allow me to pursue artistic and spiritual endeavors. In fact I just want more time to enjoy life.
I've always thought of work as just work, a means of earning an income to put food on the table and provide a home and all its creature comforts. I've never expected work to provide me with a meaning to life nor to provide me with meaning as to who I am or what I am.
I know that many people see themselves, maybe even define themselves in terms of what work they do. Maybe they get a sense of satisfaction knowing that their work is essential to the functioning of their community. Maybe they feel that they are an integral part of the system, a cog within a wheel within a huge mechanism that is the system. I've never had that feeling.
My feelings have always tended toward the notion that while I work, life is rushing by and I'm missing out. My desire has always been for what I don't have.
In a previous phase of my life, I was debt free, lived modestly and had a regular job. In the eyes of my friends, my position was enviable. In my eyes, I was miserable because I was alone. I wanted a partner, someone to share the ups and downs of life, someone to share my thoughts; my desires;my plans for the future.
I suppose at some point I had an epiphany or maybe it was just desperation that let me abandon my rationality and just let my desire guide me. That was a turning point in my life that allowed me to form a relationship with a person who is now my wife.

I'm currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown in which the evil character Andros/Mala'kh no longer satisfied with massive wealth goes on a search for the ultimate prize, the Ancient Mysteries, which will allow him to reach apotheosis, in fact be like God.
Desire in that sense is extreme and as an atheist I find it understand this sort of desire.

I think desire and ambition are inextricably linked in that, for those who have burning ambition there is no doubt a burning desire.
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10 comments:

beamish said...

All life is suffering

Desire is the cause of suffering

The end of suffering is attainable

Oh Buddha won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?

Lexcen said...

I know Buddha says that desire is the cause of all suffering but IMHO Buddha is wrong. To stop all desire is to cease participating in LIFE. Maybe you will end suffering but I think you also end living life as it should be lived.

Jeannie said...

Interesting. I've never really thought this one through...I'd have to before commenting.

Jen said...

I think this is a great post, Lex.
I've never taken comfort in being a cog in a wheel, and I also feel like life is passing me by if I'm not doing what I deeply desire.

I do find some joy in touching the lives of others...in connecting with them on a personal level, even if it's just to comfort them in their pain.

Desire can bring about great changes for the better.

Lexcen said...

Jeannie, you have to give your thoughts.
Jen, very wise thoughts.

beamish said...

That was pretty much my point in mocking the "Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism with a Janis Joplin warble (gotta love a religion that laughs at the concept of blasphemy - very convenient, heh)

Buddha ate rotting meat, and became one with it, LOL.

I've seen the Second Noble Truth be worded as "Attachment" and "Clinging" rather than "Desire" but to me it all boils to the same - "Vanity" as used in the greatest philosophical text ever written, the Bible's Book of Ecclesiastes (King James translation). Other English translations of Ecclesiastes have it as "smoke," "meaninglessness," "uselessness," and "futility."

Wishing in one hand and shitting in the other. A great way to end up with a hand full of shit you can't wish away.

It's not that "desire" is bad in and of its own right. At least, not until it's a desire for things not to be what they are, with no impetus to change. Just wallowing in greed, covetousness, avarice, sloth, pride, and Haagen Daz.

Vanity. Lord don't let them see me with barbecue sauce on my shirt. Futility. I really wish this barbecue sauce stain would just go. Smoke. Hey, I know I could do something about this barbecue sauce stain if I really wanted to.

Look, but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, but don't enjoy. These are the clingings and attachments and desires we suffer from. Vanities. Bullshit.

You can go Bobby McFerrin "Don't Worry Be Happy" or Sinead O'Connor "I do not want what I haven't got."

Finding contentedness in yourself and you'll never "need," never "desire" a Buddha-damned thing.

And hell no, I'm no Zen master. But I think I've got the gist of it.

Solomon said it best, is all.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

That might have been just a bit harsh. ;-)

Lexcen said...

Beamish, some very nice metaphors there.
Jen,Jen,Jen,Jen LOL.

beamish said...

My favorite book on Zen says "Zen" on the cover and the pages are blank.

Enlightenment is a memo pad.

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