Guiding Light by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The mechanics of desire

Often people don’t know what they really want. When asked about it, they find it very confusing to answer. Though people are aware of basic needs like food for the body or entertainment for the mind, not many are sure of what they are really looking for in life. Beyond the basic needs, there is a need for the soul to be free, to be liberated. All our endeavours are aimed at seeking freedom of some kind or the other.

Freedom from bondage: What are you seeking freedom from? Nobody will say he or she wants freedom from knowledge, beauty, love, etc. People want freedom from the things that cause bondage or attachment. Initially, such things bring short-term fulfillment and joy, but one starts seeking freedom from them when they feel like a bondage. How to come out of it? You have to come out of attachment for things.

The power of iccha shakti: Everything emanates from a desire. The wish to know or wish to meditate is also a desire. To enjoy or to be dispassionate also you need desire. Go beyond labelling the desire as good or bad. Just look at the energy behind it. Irrespective of the nature of the desire, just see it as a shakti. That is what iccha shakti is. You can never really rid yourself of desires because this shakti is the very basis of existence.

Knowing the desire: We often lack the understanding of how desires work. When a desire arises, watch it. Watch the state of your mind when desires arise. Depending on the state of sattva, rajas or tamas, different desires will come up. This will give a good indication of whether or not to act on the desire.

Reflect and act: All the aggressions and sins in the world happen because of this lack of understanding of the mechanics of desires. If you understand the nature of desire, then most of the problems will be solved. If we act on desires without understanding them, we get into problems.

Beyond craving and aversions: Like a small speck of dust in your eye can block your vision, craving and aversions can block your vision. Having the desire for the highest brings one out of craving and aversion. That is the power of iccha shakti, which is without craving or aversion. Without cravings and aversion, surrender your desires. To do that, you have to have a big heart and big mind. Meditation will enable that opening up. Only with an open mind, will you make progress.

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