What is desire? Anything that we yearn for. In fact the very yearning is an indication of inadequacy – a vacuum or emptiness that the mind feels must be filled.
The basic physical need of survival of any human is common across the globe. Which the vedic scriptures call it as Artha. This can’t be denied and is very much essential for the very existence of an individual.
But what the mind seeks most of the time is to fill a void. Why? In order to understand the why, we first need to understand the mind itself. What is it and how does it function. The scriptures define mind as a subtle matter with 4 functions – Emotion, Intellect, Memory & Self-Identity. The Self Identity defines me as an independent, different and separate entity from the rest of everything that I can perceive and can’t perceive. Memory is the bulk of ALL our experience of our sensory organs as we interact with this external world. Intellect incorporates reasoning, reflecting, rationalizing, postulating to make decisions. Emotion is the feeling that arises as we experience this world. Now it is better we understand the Intellect and Emotion are very much influenced and tainted by the memory.
Now that we have a little insight about the nature of mind, we can see why our reasoning and emotion are different when we come across something new. At times we don’t even know how to react or what to make of a situation, which in a way is very GOOD. That is one of the reasons we are able to be nice to a stranger – the innate human quality of naturally being in harmony with everything around arises.
Now if we really need to have an unbiased memory, it can happen ONLY during our conscious state as we interact with the world unbiased. This Buddha called this Equanimity. When someone operates with this mindset their conscious life and memory are not biased anymore. Now how do we develop this state of Equanimity?
This needs understanding of the world that we live in. What do I experience, how do I perceive this world? Right from birth I am forcefully filled with a set of beliefs about how the world SHOULD be perceived and how I should interact with the world. So honestly I HAVE LOST or have been ROBBED of my very own way of finding out the TRUTH for myself. That is the BIGGEST tragedy and it’s the reason almost the entire population is currently suffering and doesn’t know the way out. We have a social setup, cultural setup, economical setup, hereditary setup, so on and on, and every one of us has to follow “the rules” to fit in the BOX. And we all do this religiously. We never question things because that would jeopardize the setup we currently have, however terrible and painful it may be.
Now all these beliefs and our domestication set up the way I use my Intellect and Emotion. If I was filled with capitalistic ideas, I will seek power and money over the dead bodies of my fellow beings – that is the way my intellect is going to work, find a way to get to the TOP. If I was filled with religious ideas of heaven and hell, I will lead a life of fear and temptation in every moment of my life.
In the modern era of consumerism, Bigger is better, More and more for Less and less – no wonder the mind is feeling empty and void all the time. My emotions are so tightly tied to my experience it is a roller coaster ride every moment. If I lose I am miserable; if I gain I am ecstatic. NO mid-way point, balance or calmness. Always seeking and longing for more and more.
Now we understand that the mind is the KEY driver of our life and also how it can be manipulated. More than ever the corporations have 100% understood the TRUTH and they have the Holy Grail and use it on us consistently, too. Unfortunately most of us have handed over our power to them and allow them to freely manipulate us. Any wise person would not waste a moment of their life anymore and would start paying some attention to their Mind.
Time to time there are great Beings who broke these rules, got out of the “system” and found the light. They were able to see through the web of life, how mankind was caught up in it. The fundamental TRUTH to life is pain and pleasures are two sides of the same coin. This is a fraction of the TRUTH which when understood would help us get on the spiritual path.
NO matter what I seek I will receive pleasure and pain with it. In this modern era we are brainwashed to always strive to feel pleasure; almost no one talks about the pain that comes along with it. There is a fraction of sacrifice one has to endure. We as a society exaggerate our pleasure and underrate or even suppress the pain that comes along with it. There is no problem with pain; pain is an essential part of growth, but this misunderstanding and the desire to AVOID pain at any cost makes things worse. No one can ever avoid pain. This simple TRUTH will set us free at so many levels. Even our madness in seeking pleasure might be reduced a lot with this simple understanding.
Now that we know that the intellectual and emotional functioning of the mind needs some work, the first step is to detach it from external sensory experiences from time to time. This allows the mind to reflect on its own state. This is the greatest gift. Like I strengthen my arms by exercising my arms, the mind needs to mend itself. Here is where Meditation comes into play. When you sit with your eyes closed in a calm setting and withdraw the attention from external sensory organs to observe the mind itself, including its thought patterns and its nature, one will be amazed at the HIGHEST TRUTH. The real question is – who is observing the mind?
One comes to the foundation of ones being to understand: Mind, like any other external sensory organ, can be tuned and regulated. Like I can close my eyes and not see what I don’t want to, and I can block my ears from hearing what I don’t want to hear – I can direct my mind away from the thoughts that I don’t want to entertain. This revelation opens up a NEW paradigm and a New way of Life.
When Buddha stated, “Cut the chain of desire,” he meant we can cut off both pain and pleasure. Until we do that, we are slaves in shackles being ordered around by our unregulated mind which traps us in a vicious circle of pain and pleasure and suffering. Mind IS the saw that is meant to cut that chain. Use it and release yourself from your shackles forever.
May there be always light on your PATH as you seek higher and higher states within you…