Desire Is The Source Of Suffering

pexels-photo-890500.jpegBy Rudra Shivananda

The 2nd energy center or swadhisthana chakra is the center for attraction and aversions. We are attracted to certain things and people and have an aversion for others. The specifics are governed by our present and past karmic patterns – our urges and compulsions.

The 2nd center is responsible for the instinct to preserve our species, that is for reproduction. However, nowadays, this urge is no longer needed as much as before, but it is just as strong, if not more than ever.

Unlike animals that just express their urges in a straightforward manner, we, “the pinnacle of evolution on earth” has misused his imagination to create an unending number of objects, situations and experiences to try to indirectly satisfy these urges. We have created all sorts of conditions and criteria for food – the look, taste, texture and smell.  There arises the myriad desire for status, power and accumulation of possessions and lust for satisfaction of the senses.

Emotional pleasure arises from the satisfaction of a desire, and an emotional dependency results from the habitual connection of pleasure with the satisfaction.  Unpleasant emotions or displeasure result from the experience of situations or objects, which we would like to avoid, leading to a habitual aversion for those situations or objects.  All of us have things we like and those, which we dislike, and it is not always clear how it all came about that we react within the set program.

Desires are like the ten-headed monster of legend – you cut of one-head and nine more arise and takes it place – satisfying one desire only gives rise to many more and there does not seem to be an end to them. A desire gains strength over time unless one can detach from it or transform it to another desire.

Emotions are a complex and tangled web that have many interconnected layers and various sources, but desire is one of the primary causes.

Anger arises when a particular desire is unfulfilled, and if this frustration continues, unreasoning violence in thought, word or deed, rears its ugly head. Under the constraints of modern society, anger is suppressed, leading to stress, a leading cause of ill health such as high-blood pressure or mental illnesses. There are those schools of thought that promote the release of “negative emotions”, supposing that such cathartic exercises would release stress and promote a positive effect.  Aside from leaving a person drained for a certain period, and therefore incapable of further emotional outbursts for that period, no long-term benefit seems to occur.   The positive experience seems to indicate that it is the channeling of the emotional power, which is valuable, that has long-term effects, and should be pursued.

Jealousy and envy arises when our desires are fulfilled by others.  We begin to long for or covet the experiences or possessions of those who seem to “have it all”.  Such a reaction arises when we feel an emptiness within ourselves, caused by our inability to connect with our Center, the Divine within us, the True Self.  There is no desperate grasping for external validation when one feels the inner completion, the joy of Self-realization.

To get rid of all desires is practically unfeasible and only theoretical talk of those who do not practice. Instead, one of the best ways to deal with desires is to channel all of them into one great desire. Of course, it would be best if that primary desire is a very positive one, such as the desire for Self-Realization. Just as one does not need a bridge once we get across the river, so also, even this grand desire will disappear once satisfied!

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