Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Words inside square brackets are, I assume, modifications of the text by my dear Heidi. "We live in a society where people are able to have more and more material things. The net result, however, has not been to make us perfectly happy. Quite often what lies behind affluence is a spiritual void. This doesn't mean that wanting to have [a good income, comfortable things, and a lover] is wrong or shameful. The spiritual void wasn't created by wanting things. It was created by turning to externals and expecting them to do what they can't do. Externals can't fill spiritual needs. The saying that a rich man has as much chance to enter heaven as a camel does of passing through the eye of a needle isn't a condemnation of wealth. It simply points out that money has no spiritual value. Money isn't the gate to paradise. The wizards have always taught that desire must be seen as a path. In the beginning, desires are about things, like pleasure or survival or power. But in time, the path of desire leads beyond these gratifications. They are not baser desires, but earlier ones. Just as a child outgrows toys at a certain age, the desire for more and more will eventually lead a person into a natural phase where the desire for god becomes all-important. "Don't worry about becoming a seeker after god," Merlin said. "You have been a seeker since birth, only at first the god you sought was toys, then approval, then sex or money or power. "All of these you worshiped and wanted with great passion. Rejoice in them when they are the desires of the moment, but be prepared for them to fall away. The great problem you will face will be not desire but attachment, holding on when the flow of life wants you to let go." The exercise for this lesson is a pure thought experiment. Imagine the thing you want most passionately right now. Perhaps it is a certain car or a life of wealth or some kind of love. Try to pick something you're still pursuing so that you can feel how powerful the pursuit of desire really is. Now, back up to a desire or wish in the past, one that has already come true. It might be your last new car or successful project. Compared with your current desire, this old one will feel different. You won't feel so keenly the hunger to pursue the old desire because you've already tasted its fulfillment. What you are experiencing in this contrast is how life pushes you forward. Yesterday's desire had its own impulse for fulfillment, which has now shifted to today's desire. This forward-moving impulse isn't random. It has carried you from an infant's wants to a child's to and adolescent's to an adult's. If a positive model of desire is established early, then the baby will grow up with natural desires that match its true needs. A psychologically healthy person, in fact, can be defined as someone whose desires actually produce happiness. But if the baby is imprinted with the opposite notion, that its desires are shameful and are only grudgingly met, then desire won't develop in a healthy way. In later years the adult will keep searching for fulfillment in externals, needing more and more power, money, or [lovers] to fill a void that was created in his or her sense of self as a baby; the person's very sense of being is judged to be wrong. In extreme cases desire becomes so distorted that its need turns into a need to kill, steal, commit violence, and so forth. These desires can cause untold harm, both personally and socially. yet no one knows, seeing a murderer or thief, where his or her values went astray. To a wizard all desires begin in the same place, at that point where life simply wants to express itself; it is the obstruction or condemnation of desire that creates the problem. Unhealthy expressions of desire simply reflect unhealthiness in a psyche that desperately needs to know itself, just as all of us do, but has--at least for the time being--failed. Therefore, it is vitally important to come to terms with the nature of your desire, to realize that in the divine plan all your desires are meant to come true. God isn't blocking you from having anything and everything you want. It is you who believe deep down that you don't deserve anything and everything. Such self-judgment creates blockages in the natural flow of life, but once they are removed the path of desire becomes a joy, because is is the shortest and most natural way to god. No desire is trivial, because every desire has a spiritual meaning. Each is a small step leading to the day when you desire the highest fulfillment, which is to know your own divine nature."