What I learned from wanting more in my career and life (the wisdom of desire)
Most of us have trauma around wanting things. As life goes on, we accumulate experiences of frustration and “failure” that can replace youthful enthusiasm with cautious cynicism.
Along my journey, I’ve noticed that my persistent, frustrated desires have been my greatest teachers.
Today, I have the honour and privilege of working with service-driven, high performing professionals who, after much conventional achievement, start to feel that something more is possible. Like I did. Like Dr S, one of my current clients, who shifted her trajectory from a purely medical career to building her dream travel, photography and coaching business. She inspires a rapidly growing audience of over 18,000 on social media to reach for their own dreams - something that was but a frustrated desire a few months ago.
Which brings us to the distinction between:
“Wanting more” versus “wanting more”.
“Wanting more” is when our desire for something intensifies so much that it turns into an unhealthy obsession. It feels like our happiness depends on having THAT job, or THAT relationship or THAT physical appearance. It has a grasping, craving quality. In Buddhism this is the root cause of suffering.
On the other hand:
“Wanting more” is the development of an unconditional acceptance and intimacy with our desires, so that they both deepen and expand. It’s when we tend to our desires with our sincerest attention. Then, we begin to understand their nature and grow with them. We start to see that desire stems from a need; that the need arises from an impulse towards wholeness and that the experience of wholeness gives us peace, joy and contentment – the place that all desires are trying to lead us to, ultimately.
As one Indian sage put it: “The problem is not that you have desires but that you desire so little. Why not desire it all? Why not want complete fulfilment, joy and freedom?” – Nisargadatta.
As you accept your desires and develop a healthy intimacy with them, you realise that peace, joy and contentment are available to you at any time, provided you give desire the space and attention it needs to reveal its message, its wisdom.
From this sense of empowered desire (rather than fear of it), you feel an expansion of the possibilities available to you. From there, you can go about choosing which desires to playfully materialise in the world, and you are able to do so from your greatest resilience, resourcefulness and inspiration.
If you chose to live this truth, what would be possible for you? If you knew your greatest desires were already fulfilled, what would you do with your precious life energy? What would be your next step, today?
Compassion ~ Courage ~ Wisdom