I reached in experience the Nirvana which is unborn, unrivalled, secure from attachment, undecaying and unstained. This condition is indeed reached by me which is deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, tranquil, excellent, beyond the reach of mere logic, subtle, and to be realized only by the wise.

~The Buddha, on attaining enlightenment


The Buddha is sometimes quoted as saying that desire is suffering. A more accurate translation is that selfish desire is suffering – in fact, the source of all suffering. But desire itself is simply power, neither good nor bad.

Without the tremendous power of desire, there can be no progress on the spiritual path; there can be no progress anywhere. The whole secret of spiritual transformation is turning selfish desire into selfless desire, transforming personal passions into the overwhelming desire to attain life’s highest goal. This is not repression; it is transformation. 

~Eknath Easwaran


I’m starting to feel that I’m not really writing blog posts at all. More I’m just cribbing off someone else’s notes. Even worse, writing about Eknath who is in turn writing about the Buddha can start to feel like academic literary commentary: “Believe you me, I have something utterly profound to say about Russell’s review of Coleridge’s essay on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night!”

Well, anyways. The note I wanted to make for myself was that right now, where I’m at, I don’t feel like I have much desire at all. The desires I used to have – to be a millionaire, with plenty of status, and well-liked too – don’t have much pull on me anymore. But new desires for selflessness and service and enlightenment haven’t yet sprung up in their place. I just figured they would come naturally once I quit lurching after success. Now I suppose they need to be cultivated and practiced like anything else.

The one desire I do have right now, though, is that the way I feel now will simply be a lull; a transitional phase between old desires and new. I’m picturing a yo-yo that right at the bottom of it’s throw stops just for a moment before coming back up. Hopefully this current stopping of desires will be temporary at worst.


About Graham Lettner

My wife and I recently moved from Zambia back home to Alberta. I'm lucky to have been asked to be a guest blogger for the Localize Project. I love writing stories, and when the subject is food -- something that connects us to the planet and to each other -- the stories are endless.
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One Response to Desire

  1. Sounds like you are on the right path… The key is to let go. Find space in your mind and surroundings and live within the gaps of thoughts. Let go of all this anxiety and anticipation of enlightenment that has yet to spring forth. Once you make space through meditation and mindfulness, clarity will arise. We all go through lulls, just remember that there is always blue sky behind those clouds. Also remember, the ego will always be there tugging and trying to pull you back. Be mindful of that abrasive feeling – that lull… It means you are taking power away from your false-self – energy and enlightenment will emerge as that is your true nature. JCB

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