Thursday, 8 September 2011

I Have Lived to Die When I Desire.

The path to enlightenment - as one studies the literature and resources available, seeks out the working teachers, and explores the various traditions that exist - often requires the seeker to stop desiring...well, anything, really. When you cannot be hurt, the self is gone; when you desire nothing, everything is available; the absence of desire is the beginning of happiness; and on and on. This is another way to be. No desire is difficult since the ego is manipulating its desires, and in the end desires desirelessness. Well, expand beyond the ego, say the sages. In the state of grace, Nirvana, or whichever label we're attaching to the concept/state of perfect bliss - a very desirable state - all worldly concerns disappear, along with the body, if only for a brief time. Go beyond. Far beyond, way beyond...into nothingness.

In the meantime, our friends and loved ones probably are wondering why we're so detached and uncaring, and have stopped doing the laundry, or helping the children with their homework, or having difficult conversations about those things friends inevitably clash on when they have two differing sets of conditioning.

Oh no, say the sages, in the state of ego desirelessness, all beings are equally loved, in fact, they are recognised as being love itself. This is so. But perhaps not desiring fun, fulfillment or health for ourselves and others can be described as not using all the marvelous tools we apparently have: our emotions, our minds, our arms, our legs.

There is nothing wrong with following certain traditions that endorse desirelessness. If nothing else, it's a useful discipline. But wading into the whole ego/life setup, sleeves rolled up, full of humanity, can also give a great "result". It is, in fact, what you've been doing all along. Even if you've been meditating away your desires.

The following clip from The Remains of the Day is the best illustration I know of advocating a little unrequited longing. The tool of desire, unindulged, gives us - in the vast panoply of human emotion - something incredibly raw and rich, sharp yet soft. Anthony Hopkins acts his comfy cardy off. Those eyes!


Gorilla Bananas said...

I reckon that butler was impotent. He knew that getting on intimate terms with a woman would only lead to disappointment and heartache, because his gonads had been crushed like almonds.

Barry said...

My teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, used to say (repeatedly, for those of us who never really believed him) that it wasn't enough to perceive the truth. We must also perceive "correct" function - which is how the truth functions. Laughter time: laugh. Crying time: cry. Play time: play. Pay time: pay. This is entering the marketplace with open hands and heart!

Anonymous said...

So now we should desire desire!

My understanding is that what is truly meant by not desiring is to let everything be as it is including desire and no desire, and not to advocate either extreme.

No One In Particular said...

Hey GB, I think you might have something there. It would explain the very puzzling reluctance the butler had to make a move for the housekeeper.

No One In Particular said...

Hi Barry, maybe perceiving correct function is not as difficult as one might believe.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Anonymous, advocating desire...advocating no desire...advocating either extreme...same things.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne. Yep! Everything perfect as it is no need for anything to change.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Anonymous, it's great, reality really IS perfect: it doesn't need to change and yet it changes all the "time".

Louisa said...

I finished your book and it felt good. Thank you for bringing out a kindle edition, good thinking non-duality press. How does one find the ironing these days?

Lou x x x

No One In Particular said...

Hey Lou, thanks for braving the monster pic and vid download time on my site. I should adjust that really. Glad you like the book! Still big effing pile of ironing right behind me right now. Bugger it!

Jay Uhdinger said...

If we can just get rid of all those little filters in our mind then things are amazingly beautiful :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne, great to exchange with you. I wanted to trump in with one more thing about desire. It hit me that the downside of desire that the 'sages' point to is the constant want for things not to be 'as they are', to be different. Never satisfied, always choosing the mind's story that things are not perfect over the verifiable reality that nothing is wrong in the given appearance.
Surely this is the true meaning of don't desire and not 'don't desire the latest pink Chanel handbag'?

No One In Particular said...

Hey Jay, nice way to put it.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Anonymous, speak for yourself...I actually really want the latest pink Chanel handbag! (Actually, it's the ISL Downtown handbag that I think is design genius: )

And yes, that's the bottom line of desire...more akin to acceptance perhaps. The concepts are oozy and malleable!

Anonymous said...

Lovely! If only I could get it in pink!

Bernard said...

รด dear friends ! If I had time and courage like Suzanne
I would have my own blog entitled
Everything exists although temporarily
Everything appears and then ceases to exist
But that's too much work and I have some ironing to do too,
although it's only five shirts a week.

About today's topic I would like to point to the endless
and very complex game that desires are playing.
In theory, it seems very simple : either you have the mean
to fulfill your desire, and so you do, and this one desire should
vanish. Either you do not have the mean to fulfill it
and, if you are a grown up, you might be able to forget about it
or wait, or both...
But it might get a lot more complicated : did'nt you notice
that one could be the pray of several contradictory desires ?
For instance, as a kid, I desired both at once to eat my strawberry
yougurt and yet still keep it.
Later, as a young man i had the strong and sincere desire to leave
my girlfriend and in the same time i had the very strong and sincere
desire not to hurt her.
Now I am mature, I have tamed such desires, and this is made very easy
with aging, because the desires are aging too. The spirit awakens
and becomes what it is and has always been, while the body and mind get
tired or indifferent.
Many small desires remain unfulfilled and are neatly packed and waiting
on a shelf somewhere. Some are very creative and interesting, some
are small and pathetic, some come in contradiction with others,
but who cares ?
The only desire that remains might be the biggest of them all,
the Great Ambition for Freedom which presents the very interesting
and puzzling characteristic of being self-contradictory.
This desire is the core of self, it is the ego itself and it shines like
a diamond in darkness, I really love it, and I think I will keep it till
the end.

Here we are all, with love.


No One In Particular said...

Hi Bernard, what a lovely, thoughtful comment. Luckily, whatever desires arise...they're not "wrong". Impossible to get it "wrong". Ignore them, take them seriously...what will, will.

Ged said...

Suzanne, do you do all the artwork
on your blog? Does it take special software to create it?


Peter bunzl said...

Hi Suzanne,
interesting post.
After the ecstasy, the laundry! as Jack Kanfield? said.

Lightning Brother said...

Hey, Suzanne, I had a trawl of a few of the 'advaita' websites this evening...OMGawd...could be the next new religion...? Hahaha! Gently untying myself from the knots...Thanks for your stuff: keep doing it..or not...x

Bernard said...

Impossible to get it "right" either :-) Ahahah ! What a joke !

No One In Particular said...

Hi Ged, yes I do, I just use Photoshop to combine random family photos and my own (old school, done with my actual hand) artwork. It's fast and easy.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Peter, nice to "see" you again...that goes for Ged too...and supposedly, the laundry IS the ecstasy. HAH!!

No One In Particular said...

Hi LB, the sites certainly abound.

allanbard said...

Excellent blog, interesting post! Thanks for accepting my friend request at FB too! It seems I could learn a lot from you!
I hope a suggestion of mine would be welcome: using sites like, cafepress. com, fiverr? They could be a good way to promote your works and to help "remove" stupidity in the streets like headlines on t-shirts, fridge-magnets, cups, etc: My Boyfriend kisses Better Than Yours, FBI - female body inspector, etc. Not everything we see and think of should be about sex, right? It would be much better if there were more nice pictures of mythical creatures, good thoughts, poems from fantasy genre, etc? I'm allanbard there, I use some of my illustrations, thoughts, poems from my books (like: One can fight money only with money, Even in the hottest fire there's a bit of water, Money are among the last things that make people rich, or

Let's watch the moon, let's meet the sun!
Let's hear soon the way the Deed was done!
Let's listen to the music the shiny crystals played,
let's welcome crowds of creatures good and great..
etc). I guess such lines sound and look much better than the usual we see every day? Best wishes! Keep the good work going! Let the wonderful noise of the sea always sounds in your ears! (a greeting of the water dragons' hunters - my Tale Of The Rock Pieces).