Thoughts on managing desire, hmm, over a glass of whisky! :)

Every time you desire something examine whether you need it or you want it
Photo Courtesy: Internet
I usually don’t drink on week days – but indulge on most weekends! But, yesterday, although it was a week day, I sat in front of the TV nursing a glass of whisky. My daughter gestured to me quizzically – meaning “What’s going on?” – when she returned home from work. I so love my Royal Challenge – given that I can’t quiet afford Scotch whiskies or exquisite Single Malts. And when I do have a drink, I have a few of them and thoroughly enjoy myself!
But my daughter’s expression led me, besides indulging, to reflect on why we desire something. Did I not desire the whisky in the first place, even before I had it?  Is desiring wrong? Can desires be avoided by resisting them?
Every scripture in the world will tell you that desire is at the root of all our unhappiness. But it is also intrinsic to human nature that we desire. And obviously it is not about my whisky alone. As human beings we desire anything and everything – from cars to new phones to sex to revenge! So, is there a way we can understand how to control or, at least, manage our desires.
Yes, there is a way. I have learned from experience that the way to deal with desire is to not resist it but to understand it, appreciate it and make an intelligent choice – every single time. Desire cannot be dropped. Because desire is an energy. And energy cannot be destroyed. When the energy, the desire arises, go it its root and understand it. Do you need what you desire or do you want it? If you need it, go for it. If you want it, you can still go for it, but absolve yourself of all guilt. Make a free choice by remaining alert, being mindful and by practicing awareness.
I lean to Osho, the Master, for a better understanding of the anatomy of desire. Osho says the energy behind desire and the energy behind creation, existence, are one and the same. He quotes from the Eastern scriptures where legend has it that God had a great desire. To expand beyond himself. And so, in order to grow from one to many, he let his desire create us__humans. So, fundamentally, all desire is about expanding oneself because we are all an offshoot of the same creative energy. Fighting desire, therefore, means fighting with ourselves. No desire is bad unless you succumb to it and it starts to enslave you. And nothing must be succumbed to. And nothing must be allowed to enslave us. We must not capitulate but we must choose freely. When a desire, let us say to smoke, to drink, to eat an additional gulab jamun, to have sex, to get angry, to feel frustrated, to be jealous, whatever, arises, look at the desire not as if you are desiring it but as a third person. As an observer. Understand the desire with your awareness. Where there is awareness, there will be prudence. It is only when we are blinded that we succumb mindlessly to our desires. When we stay alert, we will always be able to deal with the desire intelligently, effortlessly __ perhaps, even overcome it by letting go of it; or perhaps, choosing it consciously.

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Beat “maya” with M.A.Y.A

Life is but an illusion. A seen between two unseens__of the time of the soul before death and its time after death.This is the big teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. This is the essence of being in this world and yet being above it.
When we realize that whatever is happening to us__fame, success, defeat, pain, loss__is not happening to the real us, that all this is a perception, we will be able to stay detached. Life is like going to the movies. When we go to watch a movie, we see the entire story play out in front of us, on a giant screen, we get involved sometimes with the characters, but never attached. When the movie is over, we get up and depart. Life is that movie, and you, the real you, are the spectator, the watcher. Your journey on the planet in a human form is like the stint of the movie-goer in a movie hall__you arrive, you witness, you depart. And a movie is just an imagined story, a perception of reality, really not the reality itself.
In Indian mythology, and in Indian scriptures, this whole illusionary experience of Life is called maya. So if we are to assume that everything we know or have ever known is only an illusion, then what is the point to it all? That, the Gita explains, is a good question. Krishna asks Arjuna: “Why do we find sorrow in this truth that the attachment to all that is unreal, and only a perception, is pointless?” But there’s a way out from this entrapment__from this illusion, from maya. And that solution, I have read somewhere, is M.A.Y.A.The cure for mayais M.A.Y.A, which is to be Mindful, Awakened, Yielding and Accepting! In being Mindful of the now__focusing on whatever is happening than focusing on what happened or will happen__we will be Awakened to immense possibilities and opportunities. From that Awakenedstate we will see value in Yieldingto__and not resisting__Life. When we Yieldwe reach a state of Acceptance. In Acceptance, and only in Acceptance, do we find total bliss. And only in bliss will we find our true, real, Self! So beat maya with M.A.Y.A. Be Mindful, Awakened, Yielding and Accepting __ always!

Be mindful to rid yourself of all that which controls you

To get rid of habits that have taken over your Life, just become more aware, mindful and be conscious of the present.
Anything that controls your Life is not worth it. You have been created to be free. To live in absolute joy! But are you joyous when you are in the throes of a debilitating, ruinous habit?
Some weeks ago, a few of us got together for a few drinks. One of the friends smoked several cigarettes through the evening. We tried counseling him. But he dismissed our advice with defeatist logic: “Guys, let’s talk about something which can happen logically!” What he didn’t state but expressed with his refusal to consider our advice was: “This habit is something that I am unable to rid myself of.” Actually, quitting a ruinous habit is not difficult at all. All my friend needs to do is become more aware. If he starts focusing on each puff of his cigarette, and meditates as he inhales and exhales, he will become aware of the destruction he is causing himself; he will be conscious of the meaninglessness of his pursuit. What does smoking do to you? It doesn’t satisfy anything once it becomes a habit. Ask any smoker and she or he will say they loathe themselves. When it becomes a habit, smoking makes the smoker guilty, fearful and depressive. So, he or she will smoke more. And then more. That is how it becomes a suicidal cycle. The idea is not to cure a smoker because we can save that person from dying. All of us have to die someday. But the idea is to make the smoker live fully, blissfully, as long as she or he is alive!
I have been there, on that ruinous path and I know how it feels. I used to chew 20 packets of gutka (a chewable tobacco product) a day. It is now over 10 years since I quit that habit – so, consequentially, I also know that giving up a destructive habit is possible. My perspective comes from my own experience.
This perspective, interestingly, can be applied to any habit. Anger, sorrow, jealously, self-pity, depression, hatred, suspicion, all these negative emotions, are habits too, that we have developed over years of living mechanically, without awareness. They are as dangerous and destructive as smoking or drinking as habits are. Anger, for instance, cannot be avoided. Anyone can and will feel angry when expectations are not met. The difference between an awakened and aware person and an unaware one is that the aware will KNOW that anger has arisen within her or him. This awareness will help that person make a conscious choice to not allow the anger to control her or him. The awareness will replace the anger with tolerance or with forgiveness or with just letting go. Awareness, mindfulness can be learnt through continuous practice. All you need to do is to start LIVING in the now. That’s all. When you are here and in the now, you don’t look back, you don’t look forward. Do that in every single moment of your day today. And see the difference for yourself.

The same approach, the same logic works for any habit. Just don’t try to stop smoking or getting angry or feeling lousy. Because if you try to do that you will replace one ruinous habit with another. Instead start being in the moment. Start being aware. Being mindful. That, and that alone, will help you rid yourself of all that which controls you and keeps you nailed to the ground.