Persephone in innocent wonder, once beheld a flower of exquisite beauty and scent. In delight she reach for it and was plunged into a world she never expected. The simple act of desire brought division between inner and outer, night and dark, and seasons of being.
If you follow a desire, it will lead you into unexplored regions with unexpected situations. Life and its meaning is not what we think it is when we initially start our journey. The very fabric of life is desire. Desire is the basis of creation, the fiery spark from which life comes into being. When desire ceases to exist we are dying. This applies not only to ourselves as individuals but also to the macrocosm. However conversely, the lack of desire also indicates the end of a cycle and leads to an intermediate phase, a time of gestation for a new phase in which the particular desire is transformed into a higher desire.
Desire manifests as a hunger.
Desire is born in the heart and as I discussed in the “broken heart” we have to experience a broken heart many times before we get to our true heart. The same applies to desire as each layer of encrustation will have within it the embryo of the next layer. What we initially think is our true desire is actually a divine trick that will lead us to our true desire. Our true desire lies in the realm of the unknowable, that which is beyond our present boundary of imagination. That which we cannot imagine we cannot venture towards.
When we begin to explore a desire born in our hearts we actually have no idea as to where it will eventually lead us. Yet, if we are faint hearted in this extraordinary journey called life, we will never get to know who we really are and what our true purpose in the biome of life is. Our lives will lack meaning.
It is however, a journey fraught with very real life-threatening dangers and we might indeed not complete our journey in one life time. Yet, to not follow a desire will most certainly also lead to your death for the very essence of survival lies in desire.
When you lose all desire you will not have the will to survive and without the will to survive which is born out of a desire to explore life in order to fulfil your purpose you are like a body without an immume system. When a human being feels they have no purpose they lose their will to live as we see so much in the world today. In the ecosystem of nature every living creature knows their purpose and so will fight for life to their last breath. Even in so-called primitive cultures the will for survival is much stronger than it is in the sophisticated environment of the developed world because fewer and fewer people can see a place for themselves in the society.
Even inappropriate desires, or desires for hurting even for killing another, mask a deeper desire. Those desires are severely distorted desires of true desires. Although we may choose not to act upon certain desires we still have to look at them to see where they spring from. Here I must mention another aspect linked with desire, for desire itself will remain only in potential unless it is linked with the will to act upon it. Always we have the freewill to act upon a desire or not. We may not have control over what desires arises within us but we do have control whether we act upon it. This in itself is the basis of free will which in turn is linked to the principle of uncertainty. Free will is only possible if there is a principle of uncertainty. If everything is predestined and absolutely certain we will not have freewill for all that freewill actually is, is the right to make choices.
If we choose to act upon a desire we will set in motion a series of causes and affects that will guide us to our true destiny. This is where the principle of karma comes into effect, in that each move we make will set off a chain of reaction that will lead to outcomes which are in effect beyond the horizon of both our vision and imagination.
Destiny is the interplay of both the principle of certainty and uncertainty. The how, when and where is uncertain because it involves our free will but the ultimate outcome is certain. It is like a master chess player playing against a novice. The outcome is certain; the master player will ultimately win, but exactly how the master player will win is uncertain; no one can predict what the moves of the novice will be.
Desire is indeed the golden thread that leads to the center of the labyrinth of who we are; the core self, the heart of our being. Desire is the impulse to manifest the intangible, to actualize and realize that which exist only in potential. This we find expressed in both mythical lore and metaphysical teachings.
Nox and Erebus, entwined rises out of chaos, on the edge of utter chaos. Nox is the unconscious form of nature (creation) and Erebus, the latent divine potency. From their first cosmic and elemental embrace, Eros was born. It is Eros who is the driving force behind the entire theogonia, the unfoldment of thought, the liberating agent who releases and activates the creative process of the mind. It is Eros who awakens the ego to its true nature.
In the Kabbalah, will or desire (Ratzon/Keter) is the first expression of Ain Sof in the creative act, for in order to create and sustain creation, God must will or desire to create and sustain creation. The will or desire is the underlying foundation for all the proceeding levels of existence; the initiating principle of creation. It is an emanation of the bornless spirit of God, which although made distinct in the lower levels of existence, is completely inseparable from the infinite or the eternal. In essence, the first emanation of God’s presence and power is the will or desire to create, which precedes creation itself, and that will or desire is what is called Logos and Sophia – the word (the pattern that connects) and wisdom of God.
The richness, the mystery, almost a sense of adventure is what initially attract us to a particular domain of interest. This sparking of interest is instinctive, intuitive. – rich with possibility, endless nuances “chaos of delight” Charles Darwin – Beagle DIARIES
As above so below. If act on a desire we set in motion the creation of future events. If we truly want to find what connects us to the rest of creation and beyond, the past and the future and the eternal, then we must follow the golden thread of desire. In isolation our lives have no meaning. The force that binds us is indeed also the force that liberates us and is the divine spark within us. When our lives have meaning, they become part of a larger structure. Meaning links the individual to the universal. A lack of meaning means that parts of information does not link up with the matrix of the whole of your consciousness, or with the greater world beyond you.
Without desire life looses its meaning, for we no longer have the pattern that connects us with the whole.
I stared to write this blog with the desire to explore the meaning of life and it has indeed led me to the unexpected. When you follow a desire it will also lead you to a place where you will meet an obstacle that will make it seemingly impossible to proceed, and it will feel as if you have indeed lost the desire itself because the obstacle appears just too great. However, if you look into the depths of yourself you will find that the desire did not actually die, that in fact the yearning for that which initiated the desire has become even greater. Now however, it is time for that desire to enter a time of transformation and out of the dry spell will be born something much greater than you could have imagined.
Following a desire is like entering a romantic relationship. Thomas H. Green describes in his book “When the Well Runs Dry” that there are three basic stages of interior growth which correspond to the stages of growth in any romantic relationship. These stages I found to be true in my own spiritual life. The spiritual life is after all an intimate relationship we forge with the Divine and intimate relationship is born out of an initial desire. As with falling in love we strongly feel that destiny has led us to that particular chance meeting; like finding a needle in a haystack. Perhaps even the analogy of using a magnet to find the needle will not be inappropriate, the magnet of course being our personal resonance.
Once we have fallen in love, the three stages will kick in and we must decide whether we want to take it further. The first stage is getting to know the beloved; getting to know that which you desire.
To proceed in a relationship we must first purify our hearts and souls of all that blocks love, thus sacrifice those feelings and emotions that are not of a loving nature. If we decide to proceed with the relationship we will then spend perhaps several years to get to know the beloved before we can move from falling in love to being in love. At this stage in a romantic relationship, we will feel that the passionate feeling have disappeared and we might feel that there is something wrong with the relationship, perhaps we might even feel that we made the wrong choice and end the relationship in search for a better one, or perhaps even abandoning the quest completely having lost faith altogether. This is when the relationships have reached the second part or as Thomas Green calls it; “From Loving to Truly Loving.”
He explains that the love we felt in the beginning, may be but a pale shadow of the genuine love which we discover in the drought, in the dark night” of both a relationship and in our spiritual relationship with the divine. It was good to move from the head to the heart, but now we must learn by experience that “heart” is an ambivalent word; it involves our emotions, but it also involves our will … love which is strongly emotional is essentially self-seeking, concerned with its own pleasure and delight. It is this kind of ‘love’ which makes for intense courtships and short marriages, since the well of emotion will surely run dry.
Perhaps for all of us, the biggest challenge we face in life is finding who we really are; distilling our essence. When you know your true desire, you will know your unique essence. When you know your unique essence, you will operate from a point of integrity, it is simply no longer possible not to. I am not talking about thinking about who you are, but to know who you are, thus to have gnosis of yourself. This is akin to the difference between Theology and Theosophy. Theology means “thinking about god” and Theosophy means “God’s wisdom.” Yet, in both cases we are trying to fathom the unfathomable. In regard to Theology we are trying to reason who are, and in regard to Theosophy we are trying to experience who we are.
Through life’s experiences combined with knowledge, we begin to gain a perspective into who we are, yet, we will reach a stage when we find ourselves in a state of confusion, as one experiences in the Dark Night of the Soul, and you have to admit that who you thought you were, you not really are. What we thought we desired is not truly what we desire.
Going within, we must go deeper still, into the depths of being, the heights of being, passing beyond to enter into the inmost part of the soul, that holy sanctuary of the unique essence .
Rudolf Steiner likened destiny to a hunger: “The human being, when he is born, hungers to do what he does, and he does not give up until he satisfies this hunger.” When we feel a physical hunger, it dominates our choices. When we long for the fulfilment of sexual desire, an appeasement of hunger, there can be no denial of our orientation. Real spiritual desire is a raw as these. We are born with a hunger of some kind that needs fulfilment. It is this hunger that steers our destiny.
One could then see destiny as comprising out of three elements; will, word and becoming or internal desire, expression of that desire, impression of that desire on the external world. “Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being Who knows but that which seems omitted today Waits for tomorrow? Even your body knows its heritage and Its rightful need and will not be deceived. And your body is the harp of your soul And it is yours to bring forth sweet Music from it Or confused sounds – Kahlil Gibran
The hunger becomes the ‘intent’ because it directs the awareness (the focus) as well as the activity. Focus brings into awareness what you choose to experience. This automatically makes your awareness selective, to fulfil the intent. It is only when we understand the underlying laws of cause and effect that we can achieve any kind of freedom. In the world we live, we are constantly reminded that ignorance of the law does not free you from the penalties you have to pay for breaking it. So logic would have it that the more knowledgeable we are of the laws, the more freedom you will have. The laws of transformation, that demand that we do indeed grow, govern us all. Whether we do it consciously or unconsciously The degree of our freedom depends on the level of our consciousness.
When we blame the external for our challenges,’ just fate, bad luck’, we put ourselves at the mercy of the external, in the hands of fate. If, however, we except responsibility for all that happen to us, we can become the masters of our fate. Freedom comes from inside of us, from the seeking of self-mastery through self-knowledge.
“Self-evolution converts fate into freedom… From a spiritual mind’s eye, history is far from being a random interplay of individuals, societies, and events. Deep below its chaotic surface runs a subterranean river of evolving, ever transforming consciousness, It is this rhythmic, flowing stream which carries humanity from egoless primitivity through cultural complexes towards higher stages of individuality. Thus the sovereign self dips itself time and time again into this river of becoming, continually cleansing the past and adding to its treasure of experience and planetary participation… The I is incontrovertibly committed to its own progress and the world’s evolution – … Time and time again we are free to attract and grasp experience as we ascend the ladder of being and convert potential into actual, imperfection into perfection… Human biography is the transformation of experience into psychological and spiritual growth… Our corporeal body is the magnificent instrument by which soul and spirit express the themes of our destiny. Could Rudolf Nureyev dance in the body of George Bernard Shaw, or Sarah Bernhardt speak through the larynx of Madam Curie? Destiny… is the process whereby we gradually fill eternity and make it personal. Moment by moment, we select for action some of the possibilities swarming out of the future…” William Bryant – The Veiled Pulse Of Time (Life Cycles & Destiny)
Whatever our personal interpretation of fate and destiny, one thing we can be sure of, that in the present lies our freedom to shape our destiny. The patterns of our past will shape our destiny if we allow it. In the present we have the opportunity to change our ideas and therefore the effects of the past; and to change the future by changing our current patterns.
What secret thoughts
threads my dream?
Soft flowing moonlight river
flowing from an unknown distant past
Thoughts leaping like salmon
A haunting desire
calling me back
to the spawning pool
of my ancient source
where time again arises
a dream of a perfect future.
Swim salmon of my dreams
Let your desire and skill
knowledge of the reverse current
that flows secretly
beneath the surface current
take you safely to the place
of your distant birth
dreams of the beloved
daring you to defy
all the dangers
that awaits along
the arduous journey
When you reach
that sacred pool
leap high and catch
the nut of secret wisdom
and awake to new wonder
by the banks of that sacred river.