The Purification of Desire
I once had a thousand desires.
But, in my one desire to know you
All else melted away.
This summer, I embarked on a process to purify my desire. The impulse was catalyzed by an awareness of my increasing ability to get what I want. I began to see that the more influence one has — the more power one commands — the more critical it is for desire to come from the heart. Not the sentimental heart of a Hallmark card, but the heart that is the fiery center of our being, aligned with the wisdom of the Universe.
Desire is complicated. It’s wonderful when it points us to what we really want, drives us to expand, and connect with life. In this aspect, it’s related to magnetism and is very powerful. Soul-level desire helps us make decisions and keeps us aligned with our mission. But, when desire arises from wounding, fear, or lack, it can confuse or even hurt us and others. Seeking answers outside ourselves, we grasp and chase after the wrong things.
By now, we all recognize the pervasiveness of greed, addiction, and fixation in our culture. So many are wielding influence and power without any clue where their desire comes from! Political influence, financial influence, social influence…it’s rife with grasping and fear. If we’re going to get ourselves out of this mess, we’re going to have to bring consciousness to the situation.
It’s been two months since I embarked on this project and the results have been dramatic. First, I was shocked by how muddy my relationship with desire was. I spent a good deal of time coming to terms with how I’d been unconsciously moving towards and away from things, people, and situations based on desires I wasn’t even fully aware of. Next was the honest recognition that the key to purifying desire is doing the deep healing work at the base levels of the body. Trauma is what confuses our relationship to our own needs and wants. And the rest has been about acceptance — seemingly endless iterations of surrender into a profound state of trust.
Some of what I’ve learned about the purification of desire:
Desire arises all day long. The first step is noticing this.
Desire is often a hidden influence in our behavior — especially when we want something but aren’t ready to admit it to ourselves or others. Shame inhibits and distorts desire.
Because many of us were denied a sense of agency as children and discouraged from exploring our real desires, we don’t know what we want as adults. This requires trial and error to repair.
When we feel safe, we have an easier time accessing and sharing our desires.
Good communication can help us negotiate conflicting desires in relationships.
Disappointment is hard. Sometime
s we avoid expressing our real desires altogether for fear of being disappointed.
Pure desire is patient and unattached to outcomes — the soul and the personality move at different speeds.
If you don’t get what you want, TRUST. There may be a bigger, better plan unfolding.
Learning to hear and trust our intuition (the language of the Soul) is integral to knowing our desires.
Pure desire is felt in the body, not thought in the mind.
We’re entering a new phase, one where people are awakening to their sacred duty and unique role here on Earth. Many will come into this realization through the heart and those will be the people to follow. Many more will (continue to) operate from the striving, grasping, hoarding impulses of impure desire — impure in its arising out of ego, fear, wounding, and lack. Those will be the people to help or to stop.
What feels exciting to me is how a purified relationship to desire gives me a sense of sovereignty and connectedness to Spirit. The more I heed my desires, but stay unattached to outcomes, the more I see magic at work in my life. I get what I want and what is truly aligned with the highest good for the whole. The timing is out of my hands. The way it comes through is usually more beautiful and more elegant than my initial vision. When I get out of the way, I am granted what I really want and need.
In the Buddhist tradition, the Padma family deals with desire, attraction and relationship. The shadow aspect of this energy is attachment and manipulation. The purified/transformed aspect of desire is the wisdom of discernment or discrimination. I can really see how this is the case. As I purify the impulse so I can trust the source of my yearning, I feel how desire wants to focus my energy more directly towards that which will serve my unfolding. My ‘yeses” and “nos’ become more clear.
What does desire have to do with coming home? It can point the way. Desire that arises from the heart is a precise navigation system. There is a sacred uniqueness in each of us and desire shows us what it is we treasure; what we need for our healing; what we came here to share. Desire is the guiding force that moves us into alignment with our dharma…it is key to ensoulment.
One of my desires currently is to do more spiritual guidance work for individuals and small groups. If you are on the path of awakening and looking for teachings, community, healing or space-holding, please reach out.
To read the next essay in this series, The Sublimation of Desire, click here.