The Dharma of Karma 3 – Desire

As I sit here in my sunny room, doors and windows open, looking outside at the grass greening, the blooms beginning to open and a few clouds scudding across the sky, a nice breeze on my cheek, I find myself drifting back to an old desire. I guess no matter how good we may have it on any given day, there’s always another desire waiting in the wings. And I am very proficient at having both conditions present in the same moment. I am content, but there’s that other thing I want that would make even a day like this, seem better.

Dharma – Law. The established nature, character, peculiar condition or essential quality of anything.

Karma – Action. From, kri, meaning ‘to do’.  

The Dharma of Karma – The law of cause and effect: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

As a yoga practitioner, this would be an excellent opening for a discussion on how desires keep us bound in ignorance, but I am of the opinion that suppressed desires have a way of becoming the most powerfully domineering desires of all (we talked about how that works before).

Anything that we suppress becomes hidden from us—that’s the whole point of suppression. This includes thoughts and feelings, but hidden desires have a foot in both worlds (mind and emotion) and they drive us to try to force life, even though we may not realize it. Hidden desires relentlessly drive us to get them satisfied. They dominate our lives. We adjust things to meet their demands, and we turn into raving fast-laners or couch potatoes. Some of us wonder why we’re so stressed or depressed and what we’re doing wrong. Some of us blame someone else, preferring to try to control the people and things around us to practicing a little self-honesty and looking inside. But inside is where the solution lies.

I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t have what you want. What I am addressing is the problem of those pesky hidden desires and what you can do about them, not to mention the ones you do know about—you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones you’ve tried everything possible to get to come to fruition and it’s just not happening no matter how hard you try, no matter how many affirmations you do, no matter how much you try to stay positive.

Incidentally, it is a smart move to watch out for this insidious type of suppression: “Oh well, I really didn’t want that anyway, what I really want is _________,” or “All those affirmations I’ve been doing must be working, just look at that parking spot I just manifested!” These tactics just push away from you the very thing you’ve been wanting. They are evidence that you are still in a state of want, whether you admit it to yourself or not.

Want, or desire, is an affirmation of lack that reinforces the thought-idea that you don’t have what you want. This negative affirmation stops the manifestation of the object of desire. Tricky, isn’t it? This principle is what is behind the teachings of ancient sages who tell us to abandon desire—not because desire is bad or wrong, but because it doesn’t work. Not only does it not work to nurse a desire, it has the opposite effect.

Desire is a negative affirmation of lack.

The key is self-honesty and bringing hidden desires to the fore. You won’t succeed in this without self-honesty. It is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever undertake to do. It can be down right humiliating, and even scary. But if you want to make improvements in your life, you really must practice self-honesty. It has a way of creating profound shifts of a very rewarding nature.

What does all this have to do with karma? Well, I’m thinking about how self-honesty allows for the opportunity to avoid creating more karma. I’m also thinking about the difference between the presence of a desire, which doesn’t of itself create any karma, and acting on that desire, which does create karma. Our karma is what binds us, limits us, so who wants more of that? More bondage, less freedom.

Riding the Desire

While you’re practicing self-honesty and waiting on The Big Shift, here’s something else you can try: Enjoy the desire itself. Ride the desire. It’s already there and you didn’t put it there, so why do anything with it? It is enjoyable in itself, so enjoy it, don’t avoid it—that would be doing something (= karma).

Desire: don’t drive it … ride it !

That’s what I was doing this morning before I started writing this to you. I was content, but when the desire I spoke of surfaced, I just enjoyed the desire itself. I didn’t try to do anything about it because I knew that trying to do something about it would ruin the contentment I already had, and just create more karma.

I’ll close now, and wish you happiness and the effortless fulfillment of all your desires.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You Really are),
Durga Ma


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Desire and the Mind, Part 2

The content of the mind always gets used for a purpose, hence the term ‘desire.’  

Seed Mantras

We are so conditioned to believe that an active mind is such a great and wonderful thing that it seems ridiculous to consider it to be anything other than the means, rather than an obstacle, to reaching the highest state. The Perfect Ones tell us that it is the still, inactive mind that reaches the Divine. How is it possible to have a still mind?

How many times have you heard a guided meditation begin with something like, “Now empty your mind and don’t think of anything.”? Can you do that?  I can’t do that.  I don’t know anyone who can do that. This is absurd. The moment you try to stop your mind you are using your mind—which means your mind is active: you are doing something with your mind. Because you have the desire (there’s that word again) for Truth, you’ll try anything! Naturally, you feel you must do something to get this to happen—that’s the way the mind works.  But everything you do, ‘do’ being the operative word, causes the mind to become active and makes a meditative state impossible! Now, if a meditative state is the key to what you’re looking for, how can you achieve it?

Desires are related to the cores of chakras. For instance, there are innumerable desires in the mind associated with the need for love; the desire for love is the core desire of the heart chakra.

Seed Sounds

The essence, seed or foundation, of desire is expressed in bija [seed] mantras.  Seed mantras are sounds, represented by Sanskrit letters, that produce vibrations resonant with the cores of chakras. They are generally practiced by recitation. Their repetition eventually relieves the mind, even if only temporarily, of desires associated with the core desire of a particular chakra. This happens as a result of the sound vibrations having a direct effect on conditioned neural pathways in the brain and nervous system, causing them to be interrupted. For this reason, reciting mantra aloud can be more effective than doing it mentally.

During the neutralization process caused by the recitation of mantra, if mantra continues long enough and is practiced often enough, the core desire along with any distortions associated with it, get stirred up. As with most forms of progress, this has the potential to cause upset. The trick is to continue anyway. A breakthrough is inevitable if you persevere.

From Living the Mysteries, Copyright ©1999.

° ° ° ° °

When we have a mentally based desire, we are announcing lack. We are saying that we do not have it. This is a statement of agreement with unTruth, for we do have it. We think we want it because we cannot access it, see it brought forth in the form we imagine. The reality is that everything is already done, there is nothing to want.

A desire states our sense of separation from the Real. But we are all One with the Divine, in which all that exists already is. In regaining this Knowing of our Oneness, even for a short moment, we are, for that moment, without want (The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want). This begins with samadhi, not just some mental construct that is different from the desire, created in order to upstage it.

I realize that this is not very practical information and that many of you already know this, but I wanted to relate it to this business of being taught by religious teachers who tell you that you shouldn’t have any desires. There is truth in this teaching, but it is not what it seems. When this knowledge becomes practical and “it is already done” has become a given, we are enlightened as to this Truth, and desires that crop up in the mind are simply noticed and passed by as echoes of the past, and irrelevant to the present.

Reaching this ‘desireless state’ is accomplished through deep meditation, samadhi. Even though this will not last in the beginning, once it is experienced you know what it is and have something to go by, something to look forward to, something that assures you that you are already One with the Divine. You know this not because you have brainwashed yourself into some belief, but because you have experienced it for yourself, directly. The simplest and most efficient means of accomplishing this is through Surrender Meditation, a natural, spontaneous, experiential meditation.

It is always best not to try to do the last thing first.

Durga Ma

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Desire and the Mind, Part 1

The content of the mind always gets used for a purpose, hence the term ‘desire.’  

There are two important things to consider regarding mentally based desires: …Referring to desire as ‘mentally based’ implies that there may be some other type of desire that is not mentally based and is either not an obstacle to samadhi [equanimity, fulfillment] or gets evolved out of existence. The idea of abandoning desire in order to achieve union with the Divine has an unfortunate tendency to bring up guilt or a sense of failure or unworthiness, which in turn becomes yet another obstacle. Most people who are conscious and self-honest probably know that they haven’t managed to overthrow these desires. In fact, the more conscious a person becomes, the more self-aware and self-honest, the more obvious it becomes that these desires, patterns, programs, and conditionings, have been running their lives. It seems almost impossible to overcome them—they’re the devil incarnate…

A desire is a want. There are only two kinds: the ones you know you have and the ones you don’t know you have. Desires have ‘programmed’ foundations that are almost impossible to unearth; they run on automatic pilot. I gave up long ago on trying to make them go away. We can consciously choose to acquiesce to a desire or not, so the first step is to know when one is operating. The second step is to make a conscious choice to give in to it or not.

I don’t mean to suggest that not giving in to a desire will make it go away. It won’t. Some people believe that indulging desires fulfills them and makes them ineffectual. I am inclined to think this approach reinforces them rather than dissipates them. It’s probably more important to know what’s going on and not let these desires be the cause of the way you live your life.  That would be letting your desires run things, in which case your life is really a result of your programming.

If you want to become more conscious of your hidden desires and what is orchestrating your life, start by just noticing what motivates your actions.  You’ll get better and better at this with time and practice. But don’t judge yourself—you didn’t put those desires there, and you don’t have to bow down to them.

Early in life, we engaged in mental activity, consciously and unconsciously, in order to survive and to avoid pain. A desire as fundamental as the body’s desire to survive influenced the development of patterns in the neural pathways of the body and brain very early on. Other events associated with survival created more and more complex patterns. Such patternings had a purpose at one time but became obsolete when the body grew to adulthood. Even so, they continue to become activated by circumstances to which they have developed an automatic response, and we feel compelled to continue acting accordingly.

Because most of this goes on without our being aware of it, it is very difficult to develop an ability to discriminate between the reactivity caused by these patterns and valid intuition, pure emotion, or logical reason in current circumstances. Most beliefs are based on these conditioned patternings.  In fact, the patterns themselves could be called ‘beliefs’; they are the beliefs of the body and the brain.

Mental activity is the result of desire. The mind is automatically used, activated, in trying to figure things out in order to get things to be the way we, or these patterns, want them to be—to fulfill desires, in other words. It is for this reason, not because desire is inherently evil, that the ancient Perfect Ones have said that it is necessary to abandon desire in order to attain liberation. They wanted us to achieve this and were trying to tell us how to reach it. I do not believe that they meant that we could just decide to give up having desires and they would obediently go away. The writings that have come down to us from these Perfect Ones have a way of going straight to the point and leaving us to work out everything in between.

During earlier times, there were oral traditions associated with teaching lineages to make things clearer.  It was through these oral teachings that the ‘in betweens’ got filled in. Nowadays, teachers, preachers and gurus have become suspect, and many people are afraid to take a chance on one of these people, so they try to boot-strap their own way. When we rely exclusively on written texts, or even personal experience, without the aid of a teacher from a lineage with an oral tradition, we may not get all the information and guidance we need. After all, the purpose of a teaching lineage is to protect and preserve correct teachings about Truth, not to control people or start religions.

From Living the Mysteries, Copyright ©1999.

Durga Ma

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