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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Don’t postpone intelligent living anymore

What is yours? What is mine? Everything is so transient.
What is real, true, untouched, eternal is the soul. This concept is so simple and a part of every scripture. But this Truth is lost in the maze of religious brouhaha and communal theatrics. Another reason is that its espousers are all people who have renounced the world, and have taken to wearing orange or maroon or white or black robes, grown flowing beards or matted hair and sit in inaccessible, distant, lonely locales. That too is a way to attain the eternal and to encounter and internalize this Truth. But a simpler, easier, practical way, is TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD and yet BE ABOVE IT.
Enlightenment does not require you to be seated under a tree nor does it champion abstinence, renunciation and running away! Enlightenment requires awareness, it asks for you to open up your soul so that the light can illuminate your Life. And the soul is not some unseen metaphysical dimension to your Life. It is a presence. It is you. It is who you are. Have you seen air? But don’t you believe that there is air in this Universe? Similarly, you must believe that there is a soul, yours and everyone else’s. That everything, including this body of yours, will eventually perish. But the soul, like Life, will go on.
Subhashini Kaul, 43, a former IIM-A professor realized this when she was in her late thirties. So did her husband. Resultantly, both of them gave up their lucrative corporate careers. And decided to find meaning in their lives. While her husband roams railway stations across the country, preferring to be a fakir, Subhashini, has become a ‘sadhak’ (seeker). Her religious views are that the ‘Truth is One’! She’s on facebook and stays connected with like-minded people. “It’s not because of any incident that I turned a sadhak… but I started feeling that all the effort one puts in the materialistic world to get ahead isn’t worth it…God directed me to another way of Life. That was a monkey world where everyone was in the rat race to get ahead. But I blame no one for the happenings in my Life. I have pulled out from all relations. Now, I dance when I want to and sleep when I feel like it. An atheist earlier, now I feel closer to God,” she once told the Times of India.
The God she speaks of, to me, is the One within. The Truth. We don’t have to take such a dramatic step, as Subhashini and her husband took, to renounce the world. We can continue to have our Ferraris, our Single Malts, our First Class Seats….the only thing we must give up is all attachment to any of these. Because attachment brings grief. And detachment is bliss! What happened to Subhashini in her late thirties I believe, happened to me when I was 35. Over time, my awareness has helped me to accept whatever comes my way in Life – unconditionally. You too can get there if you don’t impose conditions on the Life you have.

But please don’t postpone intelligent living anymore. Because, as the Buddha reminds us, “The problem is that you think you have time!”