Tuning in to Big Desire
One of the hallmarks of consciousness is becoming aware of our desires and how they influence us, our lives and those close to us. Moving from unconscious reaction, unconscious repression, through unconscious rebellion to conscious response require that we do more than simply follow every desire that beckons us.
When people are in a state of rebellion, they are very protective of their little desires while ignorant of their larger desires. They tend to merely follow their desire in the moment, without adequately considering how their momentary desire may be the result of conditioning and experiences that they are only dimly aware of. How can we distinguish a true desire from a default pattern or a conditioned reaction?
It’s been helpful to me to tune in to my larger desires. When I’m aware of my larger desires, or “Big Desire” as I like to call it, I can see how little desires may not serve this larger purpose. An easy example is food: Often I may be tempted by the smell or sight of some food yet I refrain from eating it. I pause long enough to tune in….is this a true desire or a reaction conditioned by stimulation?
Going slow, breathing deeply and being calm in the present moment gives me a much greater degree of control over how I respond to various forms of stimulation. It’s important to distinguish this from repression. When in repression I’m full of judgment and anxiety and fear. When I’m in the mode of conscious response, I voluntarily choose not to pursue a desire without having to restrain or repress myself. I simply tune into my larger desire.
Often I am tempted by food late at night. If I’m alone and particularly if I’m not satisfied with some aspect of my life, I may seek solace in food. Especially rich, creamy foods that are reminiscent of nurturing mother’s milk. Fat soothes and dulls the mind and calms the nervous system. At night, if I’m aware enough, I may realize that my desire to eat is not from physical hunger but from non-material needs not being met.
Eating is one of the most basic ways we meet our needs for survival. It’s hardwired into our systems. The base or reptilian mind thinks: If you need something, go look for something to eat to put it in your body. It’s interesting to me that reptiles must continue to grow or they die. In people, our growth is non-material after we leave childhood. Our growth is in awareness, in consciousness, in our capacity to see and give to others.
When our natural desires are stifled at a young age, we learn to repress and our desires manifest as perversions. Whether the perversion is one of sexual nature such as a child molestor or a Wall Street criminal, the natural desires for love, connection, nurturing and sex have been perverted into something else. Why would someone who has $50 million ruin their lives or others to make more? Simply put, these people are mentally ill or more accurately, emotionally ill, as they do things they unconsciously believe will fulfill their desires.
Politicians are good examples of this. They lie, cheat and steal their way to the top. For what? To satisfy their desire for love and acceptance? To win a popularity contest one must have a strong desire to be popular and be accepted. Most politicians don’t accept themselves and thus seek external validation. Of course, the tragedy for them is that politicians on the whole are roundly despised.
So how can you avoid their fate and the fate of others who sacrifice their real needs and their big desires such as love, acceptance and connection for fleeting pleasures? First, I think it’s important to honor and love the inner teenager. Many books have been written about the inner child and the need to be in touch with our innocent, magical selves.
We also need to be in touch with our inner teenager, the part of us that wants to rebel, to assert our will, to play different roles, to be totally free and unencumbered by responsibility or consideration for others. This is a natural stage in life and the more it is repressed the longer it lasts.
Adults who were repressed and did not sow their wild oats are strongly re-stimulated by those who sow their wild oats and who follow their desires. If you are a parent, and you witness your child doing something dangerous, can you protect them without judging them? Can you give your experience and wisdom in a way that is received? Or is your strategy of control an indication of your own repression? Are you able to set boundaries with love?
When you are in tune with Big Desire, you can love someone no matter what they do. You are not distracted by what they do, you see who they are. When you are in tune with Big Desire, you can freely give of yourself without feeling a sacrifice. When you are in tune with Big Desire you can do what someone else wants with the joy of giving and without resentment. When you are in tune with Big Desire, you can choose to sacrifice without compensation.
But it cannot be faked. When we pretend to be more selfless than we are, we don’t satisfy ourselves or others. The simple truth is, you must go through a stage of following your desires before you can tune into Big Desire. The more you can follow your desires without shame, judgment or repression, the sooner you can move into the state of Big Desire. When you move into that space of Big Desire, you may know it by another name: Love.