July 3     

Today's quotation:

If one gives way to all one's desires, or panders to them, there will be no inner struggle in that person, no friction, no fire.  But if, for the sake of attaining a definite aim, one struggles with desires that hinder him or her, that person will then create a fire which will gradually transform his or her inner world into a single whole.

P.D. Ouspensky

Today's Meditation:

Our desires can be wonderful things, guides that can help us to learn more about and experience more of this life that we're living.  Our desires can help us to explore places and things that we wouldn't if we didn't have the desires, and they can help us to take risks that we might otherwise avoid.  But we must keep in mind that not all of our desires are healthy, and the fulfillment of many of them will not lead to positive results.  The fulfillment of many of our desires will lead to damage and pain, so we must be very careful to be reflective about our desires and to subdue those that will harm us and others.

Very often when I'm running, I feel a desire to quit.  But I don't quit, and the feeling I get from finishing the run is very positive.  Sometimes when I'm not hungry, I feel a desire to eat.  I do my best not to do so, because then I'm practicing gluttony and I'm eating much more than I need to eat to survive in this body.  There have been times when I've had a desire to be around people who are very damaging to me, and learning how to quell that desire was one of the best lessons that I've ever learned.  Many people have ruined relationships because they've given in to sexual desires, and in doing so have destroyed trust and other important elements of a healthy relationship.

What effects will the fulfillment of a particular desire have?  Fulfilling a desire to get drunk can have disastrous effects financially, spiritually, and in many other ways.  I remember how we felt when our father decided to get just one drink and then ended up not coming home all weekend, spending his entire paycheck in the meantime.  He would have called it a desire for one little drink, but the effects were incredibly negative for the rest of his family.

Some desires are wonderful, and they help us to grow and become better people when we work to fulfill them.  Others, though, aren't so great, and it's up to us to figure out which are which, and which ones we're going to spend time and energy trying to fulfill.  The healthy desires can lead to wonderful results, while those that aren't healthy can bring us outcomes that we'd be better off not experiencing.  The desire itself is rarely the problem-- it's how we see it and what we do about it.

Questions to consider:

Which kinds of desires tend to be the least healthy?  Why do they so often seem to be so attractive to us?

How can we determine which desires are the most worthy of trying to fulfill?

Is it a disaster in our lives if all our desires aren't fulfilled, or is it simply the natural order of things?

For further thought:

Moderate desires constitute a character fitted to acquire all the good which the world can yield.  Those who have this character are prepared, in whatever situation they are, therewith to be content and have learned the science of being happy.

Timothy Dwight

more on desire



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