By Shivi Verma
Desirelessness is a state of being free to select your desires, rather than being governed by them, says Shivi Verma
Desire. It is probably the most perplexing and confounding spiritual issue. On the one hand greats like the Buddha consider it the source of human suffering, and on the other hand there exist a plethora of techniques to help you attract your desires through spiritual tools. Some consider desires as the propeller of human life and activity and others call it the enemy of salvation and human liberation.
How do I view desires? What perspective have I developed on it?
I recall my early days when all I knew were desires and the ache for their fulfilment. I dreamed of wearing fancy clothes, living in a posh bungalow, driving in luxury cars, rubbing shoulders with the rich and successful and becoming a force to reckon with. I yearned to taste the best foods and travel the world. And these desires would cause me to feel inferior on meeting someone who seemed comfortably settled in her luxuries. Strangely enough I also had an inner knowing that the pursuit of desires was enervating and exhausting. I often felt that ordinary life had much to savour and enjoy, but desires compelled people to ignore these bounties. “I wish we didn’t have desires that whiplashed us into chasing one fantasy after another. I wish nobody measured you on the strength of your external achievements,” I often mused. Though I agreed that desires, especially unfulfilled ones, were a source of pain, I did not know what propelled people to action in the absence of desires. No wonder I was afflicted with severe itchy skin disorders as a sign of my inner unrest.
Then one day as I sat meditating, God visited me. As bhakti washed over me, to my delight I saw some of my most raging desires cool down. In one sweep went away the desire to travel the world. I was no longer dying for it. I could go to the market, and peacefully appreciate the beautiful items on display without wanting to own them. Food became less of an obsession. I was liberated from the desire to have life move my way and turn out as I expected it to. My work was limited to doing what I was supposed to, to the best of my capacity and leaving the rest to providence. What a relief! My inner landscape changed.
I observed that instead of being governed by desires, I now had an upper hand. Though I still liked tasty food I operated from choice instead of greed, whether it was good for my health or not. I was open to travelling but no more petulant if life did not serve me an opportunity to explore it. I was happy with having things and happier with not having them. For a lack of a certain thing meant a definitive presence of something else. A different opportunity, and a new perspective.
A lack of a certain thing means a definitive presence of something else. A different opportunity, and a new perspective
But did this state rob me of the impetus to act? No way. My awareness of my duties, responsibilities and commitment to accomplish a task as perfectly as possible prodded me to act. I also became intensely aware of a dogged inner compass which would invariably point the next step in any situation, compelling me to act upon it. Action for the sake of action became a source of ineffable joy. I could see the distinction between needs and wants. Not only that, I saw that in such a state getting what you intend too becomes easier and faster. With fewer things to want the universe trusts your intentions and works harder to realise them for you. No wonder I have become very circumspect about what I ask for, for I may get it.
About the author: Deputy Editor with Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee who found all her answers in loving God passionately.
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