Desire-how do you live in a happy medium

retinoid

Well-known member
Those who follow eastern influenced reincarnation thought are well aware of the danger of desire (MAYA). It is an 'illusion' and it ties us to the cycle of birth and death.

However without desire, we aren't living. Perhaps subconsciously, our hearts are beating because of our desire for it to do so. We wouldn't have children, do well in school, make money, help others without desire.

So what is the balance of having desire, yet still being able to achieve liberation?

Is overindulging in food, sex, alcohol, etc. once in a while truly bad for spirituality? Do you need to not have any desire? Or is it a state of mind (you can overindulge sometimes but your mind is detached from the act)...
 

StillOne

Well-known member
I think it depends on how you learn. Can you learn lessons from books and live by them? Or, do you have to experience in order to learn? Like the Buddha, you may need to experience life in order to learn the middle path. I don't think this is wrong as long as you do learn and refine your life. No matter how you learn, I think you'll eventually come to the conclusion that the core teachings are the way to living the most satisfying/happy/healthy way even though they may seem restrictive at first.

I think overindulgence may be different for every person, though. Someone may consider having one candy bar in a week to be overindulgence and another may consider having 2 per day to be perfectly ok (maybe this is an athlete or someone who can metabolize this quickly).

I'd say most eastern philosophy/religion make adjustments for how laypeople can live in society. Some even allow the limited use of alcohol and cannabis for example.

What's interesting to note is that in most (all?) philosophies of life/religion that the core messages concerning morality/ethics are the same. It's just how the message is delivered and the resulting punishment for sinning that is different.
 
Last edited:

retinoid

Well-known member
There are some traditions (tantra for instance) where sex is used to dissolve the ego. In shamanic traditions, heavy drugs are used to dissolve the ego so the shaman can come into contact with spirits/etc. So yes, saying just drugs or sex keeps you here is inaccurate. But is being a slave to these things what keep people here? is desiring money for instance and saying 'that will make me happy' or desiring a new ipad and always thinking about it the thing that is wrong?
 

StillOne

Well-known member
I'd say it's fine as long as you're not hurting yourself/others and are not attached. As in, your happiness is not defined by any of these material things, activities, state of mind, etc.

As soon as you become attached there seems to become a problem. So I think when you desire something it could be beneficial to ask yourself how important this desire really is and if it is healthy. I believe material possessions are fine as long as you can also live happily without them. We live in a material world at the moment, so we have to learn how to live functionally within it.
 

waybread

Staff member
retinoid, as a boomer, I am old enough to have lived through a lot of passions and attachments. It sometimes embarrasses me to think how important something was to me, say, 20 years ago; whereas now I realize how ephemeral it all was.

I'm not the village elder, but if I can flatter myself momentarily with the idea that I have some experience to draw upon, I would suggest that you focus on your moral compass-- not in a specific nit-picky way, but generally. What are your values? If your inner compass points to something like living your life with a sense of your dignity as a human being, then shape your behaviour around that value. If your primary value is helping other people, then shape your behaviour around that.

I think it is important to let go of the aggravation, anger, mean-spiritedness, and envy to which human flesh is heir. This doesn't mean you should never get angry, &c. Oftentimes we need to express anger and be OK with it for a period of time. We can't live our lives as doormats. But at some point, let go of it. I used to work with people who were still visibly upset with a colleague over something he said or did 30 years ago. Or we see older people who totally cut themselves off from their siblings. This harms the angry person far more than the target of this anger. A poor memory is a good asset.

Ask yourself, "Is this my ego talking, or something else?"

Passion for good things is not vice, in my opinion. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Unfortunately most of us don't even fully enjoy the good times because we are so preoccupied with something else at the moment.

At some point we have to be sensible and responsible about things. With indiscriminate sex, does someone get hurt or feel shame over the experience? With drugs, are they taken to kill off pain that needs to surface and be released, out of boredom, or out of willful ignorance of their health effects? Real life will seldom feel as good as a drug-induced high. But it is real life, not the illusion of ecstacy.

A few people have the ability to live a life of monastic contemplation. Most of us don't. Our charts suggest where our growth and our gifts lie.
 

retinoid

Well-known member
You have all given a lot of great advice. One of my challenges at the moment is forming a belief system. Ironically I have been feeling this extreme need to find religion or what not and I looked recently to see I entered by Rahu dasa (in the 9th house) on Christmas. Which was around the time I NEEDED something...I still do, and haven't figured it out yet. I don't believe this world is evil or a total illusion...I think everything is real because we experience everything. I also don't think sex or drugs or good food or nice things are bad, but in our lives, these things can be twisted. That doesn't mean we have to abstain from these things. We just can't allow them to twist us. Enjoy the things we have here, but don't let them cause you to do harm or become obsessed. I think...everything changes though.
 

StillOne

Well-known member
One of my challenges at the moment is forming a belief system.

It is quite interesting as it seems I've been seeing this with a lot of people these days. I'm wondering if Neptune entering Pisces has anything to do with this also?

I have spent years searching for something. I finally found what I was looking for, that makes sense for me, very recently. I finally feel that I'm on my path. For a long time I sensed there was something deeper but I didn't know how to access it. I was largely confused... confused about life and it's purpose. Now it's quite the opposite. I feel grounded and when I adhere to my path I'm in synchronistic flow. I feel things happen that are supposed to happen and life is rich and beautiful. When I'm not on my path I feel like I'm moving backwards.

Astrology has been extremely helpful for me in uncovering some of these aspects and have illuminated facets of my being that I was unaware of.
 
Last edited:

waybread

Staff member
Retinoid, have you read Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now? Highly recommended. Probably available for free at your public library.
 

retinoid

Well-known member
It is quite interesting as it seems I've been seeing this with a lot of people these days. I'm wondering if Neptune entering Pisces has anything to do with this also?

I have spent years searching for something. I finally found what I was looking for, that makes sense for me, very recently. I finally feel that I'm on my path. For a long time I sensed there was something deeper but I didn't know how to access it. I was largely confused... confused about life and it's purpose. Now it's quite the opposite. I feel grounded and when I adhere to my path I'm in synchronistic flow. I feel things happen that are supposed to happen and life is rich and beautiful. When I'm not on my path I feel like I'm moving backwards.

Astrology has been extremely helpful for me in uncovering some of these aspects and have illuminated facets of my being that I was avoiding or neglecting.

I actually cannot read my chart. I can read other people's but not my own so astrology does little for me. I always walked a line between everything being all in my head and it not.
 

StillOne

Well-known member
I just wanted to come back to your post #4 and touch on some things,

There are some traditions (tantra for instance) where sex is used to dissolve the ego.
I know a little bit about Tantra (white) and it is my understanding that sex, in this realm, is performed after considerable work has already been done to eradicate the ego. The sex is used as a means to elevate consciousness further since it really is a direct activation of kundalini energy. Disciples have to be very careful here since it would be rather easy to succumb to enjoying the act of sex in itself so purity and understanding of this has to be prepared for ahead of time.

As a note, all tantric practitioners defer orgasm since it is it's energy that is used to activate higher states of consciousness by retention of this energy. The normal orgasm results in the opposite effect; a lowering of spiritual energy.

Fyi, I know nothing of Red or Black Tantra.

In shamanic traditions, heavy drugs are used to dissolve the ego so the shaman can come into contact with spirits/etc.
I don't know anything about Shamanic traditions. However, I suspect that it is much like the above example for Tantra in that the practitioner most likely has a period of initiation/study where the effects of the drug are taught not to be "enjoyed" in and of itself. It is merely a conduit for seeking spirit contact and not for pleasure of feeling the effects of the drug.

So yes, saying just drugs or sex keeps you here is inaccurate.
I would say this is correct BUT it depends on how your mind operates in these situations. Are you using sex to get off or are you using sex to increase the bond between you and your partner? Are you using drugs to get high or using them for true spiritual insight?

But is being a slave to these things what keep people here?
Most definitely. People that get trapped in this cycle are not learning their lessons properly and will be reincarnated accordingly IMO.

is desiring money for instance and saying 'that will make me happy' or desiring a new ipad and always thinking about it the thing that is wrong?
This is interesting since we're living in a material world and most of us need money in order to function properly. I feel it's ok to develop your skills and talents to make money. I think where it doesn't work is when you keep wanting more money and you're never happy with what you have. The idea here is that the constant desire for more is that illusion you're talking about since you're never satisfied in this type of cycle.

Like Waybread said, The Power of Now and The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle are both good books that discuss elements of this. I also really like Ruling Your World and Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
 
Last edited:

Mark

Well-known member
When you see the two opposites moving against each other and are not part of them, then you see the Dao (which is the better spelling). :whistling:
 

Anachiel

Well-known member
There are some traditions (tantra for instance) where sex is used to dissolve the ego. In shamanic traditions, heavy drugs are used to dissolve the ego so the shaman can come into contact with spirits/etc. So yes, saying just drugs or sex keeps you here is inaccurate. But is being a slave to these things what keep people here? is desiring money for instance and saying 'that will make me happy' or desiring a new ipad and always thinking about it the thing that is wrong?

One has to be free of concepts to see the reality of the matter; "happy", "enlightenment", "good", "bad", "this", "that", these are all concepts that are the real slave-drivers and the motives behind desire.

Of course you will never be free of desire in this realm but, whether you fight with it or try to control it is the another distraction. Going overboard and giving in to it is the other distraction.

There are all sort of vehicles to "liberation" but, who is to say that you aren't already in one, doing it or on your way? All paths lead to the same place. Besides, wanting to be liberated is not only a desire, but, it is also a concept which is also an illusion. Where do you think you are trying to go anyway?? Usually it is what we are trying to escape that fuels all this bull about "enlightment" and "liberation" and "desire" and such-and-such.

Pain, which many experiences in life include to one degree or another, is something we try to escape, the only way (besides anesthetizing yourself) is to go through it, they say, which is the basis for mindfulness practice. Whether you want to do etheogens, yoga or sexual intercourse, painting or whatever, it is the mindfulness, awareness, of where you are I think that is somehow a key to your question.

Oh, and don't think looking for answers works. Like perfection, answers imply that "this is it!" and your done. Answers too can be a distraction. Spirit, or whatever you want to call it, is on ongoing journey, not a stop-off when you "get there".

That's my finger pointing at the Moon for you :bandit:
 
Top