Lesson 4: Desire
That the soul – a portion, an expression of God's desire for companionship – might find expression, the souls of men and women came into being; that there might be that which would make each soul, then, as a fit companion for that realm. (805-4 )
(Q) The first problem concerns the reason for creation. Should this be given as God's desire to experience Himself, God's desire for companionship, God's desire for expression, or in some other way?
(A) God's desire for companionship and expression. (5749-14)
… as each entity, each soul is desired of God, that it become such that it may be companionable. Encourage such in others. Not that ye go out and pat everyone on the back, no. Not in act nor in words, but help individuals to help themselves. (2072-15)
The Cayce readings trace the origin of souls and the reason for creation to divine desire. God desired companionship and expression. Thus desire has a spiritual source that precedes human experience on planet earth. Furthermore, desire is associated with motivation and movement in a spiritual sense, a concept that we will be explore in a later lesson.
The notion of divine desire, the idea that desire has its origins in the realm of spirit and is inherently a spiritual attribute, can be confusing – particularly to anyone trained to view desire as inherently sinful or wrong. This is probably due to the tendency to focus on selfish or carnal desire without recognizing the creative potential of desire as expressed by God.
Application: While meditating, reflect on divine desire and the spiritual source of desire. Contemplate a concept of God that includes desire as the source of all that is. In your daily life, look for signs or indications of God’s desire for companionship and expression in the universe around you and your interaction with other souls.
(Q) What should I do in order to bring into material manifestation my desires? Are not physical needs in life spiritual in essence?
(A) If the desires for the physical things in life are SPIRITUALIZED, they are indeed then as necessary as the higher motivative force in spiritual things. (262-64)
Father, let thy desires be my desires. Let my desires, God be thy desires, in spirit and in truth.” (262-60; Desire meditation affirmation)
The Ideals Exercise is a powerful tool for putting desire in its proper place. When mental and physical desires are attuned to a spiritual ideal, desire becomes a constructive force in soul development.
This begins with meditation and mindfulness to become aware of desire as it manifests in the mind and the life experience. The meditation affirmation for this lesson provides a basis for attunement to God's will as the basis for the spiritual ideal. Mental and physical desires are brought into harmony with the spiritual ideal so that the thoughts of the mind and activities of the physical body are spiritualized. Selfish thinking and self-indulgence is released.
Yes, we must exist as physical beings in a material world. Food, sex, power – all such manifestations of desire in human experience are part of a constructive life when attuned to a spiritual ideal. Thus desire is spiritualized by an ideal.
Application: Continue to work with meditation and the Ideals Exercise with a focus on desire at all levels of experience. The spiritual ideal itself can be regarded as a desire to be one with the divine – as a desire to do the will of God. Then consider how thought patterns can be made to conform to this spiritual ideal so that ideas and thinking reflect a desire to be of service in the world and helpful to others. Finally, address the physical level of experience by bringing biological desires into harmony with the spiritual ideal so that eating, working, interpersonal relations, and all the various behaviors and activities of life are purposeful with regard to the spiritual ideal. This is spiritualizing desire.
Buddha On Desire
From what may anyone be saved? Only from themselves! That is, their individual hell; they dig it with their own desires! (262-40)
What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil. (Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism)
Desire is complex and can have a dark side when tainted by selfishness. This has been noted by all the great spiritual traditions, and particularly by the Buddha (Gautama Siddharta) who created a powerful method to deal with the destructive aspects desire. Buddha’s recognition of desire as the source of evil and suffering in the world can be thought of in this way: Whenever you experience clinging, craving, or attachment, you are setting the stage for suffering. The solution is to let go or release from such self-centered desire.
Desire in this negative manifestation is like an addiction that pulls you down or holds you back from full development. Traditional Buddhism provides a guide for living called the “Eightfold Path” intended to help liberate the soul from negative desires that may be mental as well as physical or carnal in nature.
Fundamentally, the Eightfold Path addresses ideals as a way of spiritualizing desire through conscious living in a mindful way. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism). Thus the constructive aspects of desire can manifest.
It is important to realize that desire can be positive (free from clinging, craving, or attachment), as has been pointed out by Buddhist scholars. For example, there is the desire to seek happiness rather than suffering; the desire to express compassion to others and the world rather than selfishness; and the desire for enlightment itself. All of these manifestations of positive desire result from selflessness and are free from self-centered clinging, craving and attachment that lead to evil and suffering.
Application: Practice mindfulness meditation as you go about your daily life and observe desires that arise at the physical, mental, and spiritual levels of consciousness. Determine within yourself whether there is clinging, craving or attachment associated with these desires. Use your will to choose whether to release or let go of desires that may hinder your soul development and companionship with God. If you feel inclined, study Buddhism as a means of constructively addressing desire through ideals (as described in reading 5091-3).