Bringing in a spiritual dimension to managing desires involves bringing in the fact of Ishvara. I don’t want to get into a discussion about whether God is or God is not. For now, let us take it as the God of your understanding irrespective of the religious sect you belong to. Since we work on the basis of our priorities, the level of our commitment is high, which increases the stress levels. So we bring in a new attitude with our understanding of Ishvara or God.
We recognise that our power to desire and act is God given. The result or consequences of our actions are brought about by laws of nature that is Ishvara. The laws of nature are not separate from Ishvara. In this recognition, I come to understand that the result of all actions comes from the Lord, Ishvara. Anything that comes from the Lord is accepted as grace, prasada. Every religion has this perspective. Different names are used like grace, markat and prasada in the religion of the majority in India.
On the basis of our priority and desires we perform an action. The results by Ishvara may be in harmony or not in harmony with what I want. But I am willing to accept. Once I accept the results of my action, I examine it, like how we examine prasada. If it is a laddoo we will eat it, if it is a tulsi leaf we take it to our eyes and put it behind our ears or in our hair.
Similarly here. If the result is in harmony with my desire I accept. If not in harmony I accept it while others are raving, ranting, and denying it. I see what went well, whether the effort was worth it and I can do course correction in actions. The beauty of this approach is that it makes me manage my desires in a joyful fashion. I am more relaxed. In time I grow out of my desire. I become bigger than my desire because I am willing to accept success and failure in my stride. That growth is spiritual.
(The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at email@example.com)