Today most people in the world are tormented by desires they are trying to chase. There is nothing wrong with desires, so long as you recognise them for what they are. For instance, if you have a desire to express yourself without any expectation, that is the true desire of your Soul and a worthy one.
Trouble comes when people confuse Purpose with Desire, reducing their all-important Life Purpose to a collection of self-serving Desires. Purpose is that which provides you identity and gives meaning to your life. Desires on the other hand are expressions of Ego or Self-involvement.
Lord Krishna touches on this point in Srimad Bhagwad Gita, when he tells Arjuna that the root cause of all misery and fear is attachment. You fear death because you love life. Very often, you are miserable because your dear ones are suffering. It is no secret that the more desires you have, the more you suffer when they remain unfulfilled. In this way, freedom from desires is the way to freedom from suffering.
Let’s evaluate desires and where they can lead you:
The desires of your Being are your true desires. You will know this if there is no attachment, no fear of failure and no control in these desires.
Just as the desire of the cow is to give milk, the natural desire of a bird is to fly, a dog’s desire is to provide faithful company, in the same way the identity of the Being cannot be separate from his true desire.
When desires are related to possessing things in the material world, then pain comes. The desire for worldly possessions comes from a sense of want or lack. The feeling that “If I get this, I am happy; without it, I am empty” will bring pain and suffering.
On the other hand, when, on the level of spiritual consciousness, you are All That Is, then possessing everything material will make you whole and complete.
If you can become your desire, then that is the True desire and you can transform yourself into that. The desire of that Being is a non-binding one whose non-fulfilment will not cause suffering.
Why you don’t achieve your desires
Often, what keeps people from attaining their desires is doubt and mistrust. As a Creator, you can’t have doubt and mistrust in your desires. You must have faith in your dreams and work towards them while shedding all doubt from your mind.
Desires are never fulfilled by magic, so building castles in the air is no use. You will have to work towards your desires and becomes qualified for what you are aspiring. Once you remove mistrust, a veil will be lifted from your mind and you will know what you need to be qualified for that desire.
Desires and achievements can raise your status in the eyes of a materialistic society, but they might actually have nothing to do with your Purpose. Such desires can rob you of your peace. Many times, I find people coming to grips with the fact that they have been chasing foolish desires all along and not their real life purpose. It is often the cause of a midlife crisis.
How to deal with desires
You know by now that being desire-less is nearly next to impossible. And you can never satisfy all your desires, because when one desire is fulfilled, another one raises its head. So how can you outgrow desires? Understand that desires are binding and non-binding in nature. A binding desire is one whose non-fulfilment causes you to suffer. It’s safer to have non-binding desires, whose non-fulfilment won’t make you suffer.
If you cannot satisfy your desires nor wilfully renounce them, the secret is to transform all your binding desires into non-binding desires. You will achieve freedom to a degree when you are free from all binding desires, even of some non-binding desires remain.