Excerpt from Divided Desire: Chapter 2 - The Delight of Desire: What’s the Difference?

I ended chapter one saying that good desire does not bring death. Emptiness, pain, despair, and death are caused by evil desire. If evil desire brings death what then does good desire bring? Are the results any different? Hopefully what follows in this section will redeem any perverted notions of what good desire is. Speaking of which, what does the majority of the world think, when they speak of desire? Is it good or bad; useful or useless; spiritual or fleshly; God-supported or God-condemned?

Peoples’ Definitions of Desire

Famed Hindu spiritual leader Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living Foundation, in answering the question “What is desire?” at one of his sessions says, “Every desire leaves you in the same place where you were before it arose. It’s like a merry-go-round… You get down at the same place. Every desire is this: merry-go-round. … I say don’t drop desire. Hold on to it. But just know it’s a merry-go-round. … What you set as a goal is already there where you are.”[1] This understanding, very idyllic in appeal, bypasses all the consequences that result from desire and its pursuit. Can any pursuit whatsoever be inconsequential? Can our desires, their pursuit and fulfillment, ever leave us in the same place? I think not. A person learns, and earns (or loses) something as a result of pursuing their desire. Even a long while after its fulfillment one is never the same. Also, if one now knows that they will be left at the same before and after riding the merry-go-round of desire, then why get on in the first place? Nature and reality prove that desire is more than a merry-go-round which drops us off at its boarding point. The scientist and philosopher alike will agree that there is never stagnancy in any living system – only progress or regress. All of creation is constantly growing and decaying, decaying and growing. But in this case, by his own definition, I will surmise to ask: was every guest in attendance who took the trouble to come, and “desired” to hear the famed teacher speak, left at the same place once they got off the merry-go-round of desiring his teaching?

Copyright, 2013, Kenny Damara. This article is an excerpt from the book Divided Desire.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE_zDqpr0Ac

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