Desire (Video Script)
Desire is one of the most powerful forces in human experience. The world thrives on desire – the raising, channeling, and fulfillment of desire.
Advertising companies have mastered the marketing of desire in our multimedia world – flooding our senses with earthy images and sounds – stimulating craving and addictions of almost every nature. The crass marketing of sensual desire in all its manifestations, fills an emptiness or void created by the pervasive materialistic values and philosophy of modern life.
Not surprisingly, throughout the ages most spiritual traditions have taken a dim view of desire. Even into modern times, desire is often associated with vice and sin that must be denied or repressed.
And yet, where would civilization be without desire? All of the social and technological advances in the human experience have been fueled by desire of one sort or another. It may have been the desire for food, shelter, or peaceful relations, none of which is inherently wrong.
Some of the great teachers and humanitarians throughout history have been motivated by the desire to serve others and make the world a better place for everyone. Clearly, desire is complex and central to the human condition – both in strictly material terms, but also as an aspect of soul development. As a practical matter the question becomes: How do we understand and utilize desire on the spiritual path in our search for God?
Desires of the Flesh
As we analyze and seek to understand desire, let us begin at the physical level of biological desire. In strictly evolutionary terms, desire drives each species to survive and pass its genetic code to the next generation. Thus we have survival of the individual to extend its life to the age of reproduction so that the species survives by adapting to the environment, all according to the laws of genetics and heredity.
Interestingly, these three phases of evolutionary biology are also cited in the Cayce readings as the first three laws of survival in the physical world – yet within the context of soul development. In Cayce’s cosmology, as souls explored the physical universe, trying out their wings and co-creative potential, some souls made their way to this solar system and planet earth.
Eventually some of these souls projected mental forms into physical reality and gradually pushed themselves into these materializations, becoming entangled, encased, and entrapped in physical bodies, some of which were quite odd. Having involved itself in material reality at such an intimate level, the soul became so isolated and separated from its Source as to endanger its development from a spiritual perspective. Thus involution into matter led to evolution of the soul on its journey back toward it Source.
This brief summary of Cayce’s creation story relates how souls became triune entities – physical, mental and spiritual – in the earth experience. Thus earth became a classroom for soul development.
Desire played a central role in the soul’s involution into matter in the first place as souls craved sensation – sensuality. Even now, we desire to have our senses stimulated and filled up.
Incarnated into flesh bodies on this planet, souls became subject to the laws of earth including survival and reproduction, as evolutionary biologists have noted. Thus we have physical or carnal desires of the flesh – food, sex, power – all the good stuff!
But as souls, this leads to a quandary – what to do with fleshly desire – deny or repress it? Indulge it? Or, Spiritualize it?
Buddha and Desire
When one contemplates desire and spirituality, the mind naturally focuses on Buddhism and its founder Siddhārtha Gautama. Regarded as the supreme Buddha – he is often simply referred to as Buddha, which means the awakened one or enlightened one.
Although born to royalty and privilege, as a young man Buddha was confronted with sickness and old age. He concluded that life is suffering and that desire is the root cause of suffering.
In this context, desire can be thought of as craving, clinging, or attachment. The solution, then, is release, letting go – nonattachment to the things of this world. But Buddha found complete denial of all desire to be too extreme.
He concluded that the middle path between total denial and total indulgence of desire, as the most practical solution to the problem of suffering. In Buddhism, the central focus of walking the middle path is compassion. Thus desire is spiritualized.
The Cayce readings assert that desire is a spiritual attribute. Desire has its origin in the will, that spiritual gift of the creator that allows souls to become companions and co-creators with the divine.
The hallmark of spirit is movement. God desired companionship and created souls to meet that desire. God moved and the universe came into being. Thus desire and movement have a spiritual basis.
As humans we experience the movement of spirit as a lifeforce within the body. Spirit is life. At the physical level, desire moves us in the direction of survival as described in a previous section.
At the mental level, when we are motivated to do something – to take action, we are moved by desire. The question becomes: what is the basis for that motivation? Is it selfishness or a high spiritual ideal? What is the desire of your heart? What do you desire in your mind? The spiritualization of desire for soul development can be accomplished by working with ideals in the midst of life. By desiring to do the will of God as a spiritual ideal, mental and physical desires are brought into alignment with that higher purpose. Thus desire becomes purposeful and directed in a constructive way that moves us in the direction of the Creator.