Desire vs Craving

Desire vs Craving

When I was writing some notes about the recent show with Eckhart on Oprah, I realized I had not posted on this important point. How to tell when a desire arises from ego and when it arises from deeper within, from our purpose. We might say the difference between craving and desire.

Eckhart observed that it takes practice to get to know the difference and that the hallmark of egos desire is that fulfillment of the goal does not satisfy. It arises in a kind of nagging need that has no obvious value, like overeating or overspending. This is craving. You can feel its more shallow origin, even if we have trouble avoiding it. We may feel it in the body. It is  characterized by denial, a desire to avoid experiencing what is, how we feel in the moment. In that denial of feeling, we stay away from the now, living instead in the past and future. Ironically this means that we will continue to suffer. (see Karma)

What we need to understand is that the fear of being present and feeling now is the ego’s fear of being found out. It doesn’t want us to be truly now or we will see through its game. But that is the hallmark of the ego – fear. If there is no obvious reason for fear, like a tiger, then it is a paper tiger, a fear based on fear alone. Simply seeing it as it is, we see through all fears.

“The hallmark of enlightenment is the cessation of craving. That is liberation.”
— Vasishta

In spiritual circles, some have come to view desire (and money) as somehow evil. Like the quote “money is the root of all evil”. Problem is, they’ve left off the first part of the quote – “Love of money…”  It is not money and it is not desire that is wrong, it is the attachment or craving of them that gives us grief. And indeed, it points to why we don’t have what we want. If we crave it, we are holding on to the idea of it. Thus we hold it in the mind, handily at a distance in time and space.

Desire is not evil. Desire is what causes the world to be. The link between desire and fulfillment is intention. A focus on becoming. We might say will here, but so often will is caught up in the ego drive and is used as force. Intention is not force, just power. A clear desire is without blemish, it flows forth and the world will respond in kind. This is because it is a reflection of how the world works: it flows from desire, through intention into expression. Copy that, and we are fullfilling why we are here. And that feels grrrreat.

Desire can also become craving when we focus on what is not real. For example, we desire a spiritual retreat and feel it is our destiny. But then we do nothing to achieve it. We expect somehow ‘nature’ will just hand it to us. Nothing happens, so we shift into craving mode. That of course pushes it away more.

And this brings us to purpose. Each of us has a unique role in the expression of being, in the evolution of Self expression and knowledge, in the world at large. We know we have a purpose here because we’re here. If we didn’t have a purpose here, we wouldn’t be here. Its really very simple. We know when we are in line with our purpose as things go mostly smoothly (theres always a little outside interference. no problem) and we feel satisfied. This is desire and action arising from within. It is automatically in accord with not only our purpose, but that of all others. It is the flow of the world and our role in that.

In your purpose you will find passion, the desire to express. Just remember the second step. Act and then let go. Be with what is, as it is. Feel the power in that.

If the world is not fun, ask yourself who is it thats choosing not to have fun.

Last Updated on April 8, 2014 by

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