​Does desire free me?

Commentary by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

Desire tends to get a good press.  You hear it said that desire is understood to give you life and that it gives you motivation, a desire to fight for something.  It is even said that “I have no desire to live”, which could also be seen as a lack of motivation or desire in general.  In short, it seems to give the impression that a life without desires is either unknown or is worthless.  In other words, that a life full of desires, would be a life that is fulfilling and intense.  We might also recognise that desires are the ‘carrot’ that impels us to seek to achieve something: studies, possessions, family, partner, house, cars, prestige, social position, money, admiration, respect…

But what conjures up this ‘carrot’?  Perhaps we consciously choose the carrot?  Is my life more than just pursuing carrots?  I do not mean by this that you should not set yourself goals.  The illusive nature of desires is that they provide us with a fleeting satisfaction, because, after achieving one, the need quickly arises for us to attach ourselves to another one that promises us some new satisfaction.

So we pursue tangible or intangible things, with the ultimate goal of fulfilment.  It seems that we are scared of standing still, without desires, or rather, without future successes and their corresponding fulfilment.

Maybe we seek lasting satisfaction, but we do not know how to, so we settle for the crumbs that achieving desires offers us. 

Does desire free me or shackle me to a continuing process of new desires?

When you desire something intensely, ask yourself if it is a need or if it is simply a desire.  If you were alone a desert island, would you desire the same thing you desire now?  If you listen to yourself, if you pay attention to what you feel, you will appreciate whether it is a new ‘carrot’ or if it is really necessary.   Often we spend our time pursuing carrots while real life passes us by unnoticed and empty.  It seems that we seek satisfaction while, at the same time, we are fleeing from something.

From what?