“As a man’s desire is, so is his destiny. For as his desire is, so is his will; and as his will is, so is his deed; and as his deed is, so is his reward, whether good or bad. A man acteth according to the desires to which he clingeth. After death he goeth to the next world bearing in his mind the subtle impressions of his deeds; and, after reaping there the harvest of his deeds, he returneth again to this world of action. Thus he who hath desire continueth subject to rebirth.”~ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
I don’t really know that much about death or what happens after, nor do I know a whole lot about the various religious philosophies surrounding it, but I was really drawn to and struck by the above Upanishadic creamy, dreamy morsels of wisdom. This isn’t the first time that Hindu philosophy has garnered my attention. Those Indus Valley folk are fairly sharp, and I am often moved by the insights that come from that “other” part of our world.
This whole idea of Self-regulating justice is like, “Wow”. I mean, is this for real… that I am gonna keep trippin’ on this ride until my desires somehow run out? Hmm… me-thinks that I am in big trouble here. At least, if I have purchased the paradigm that this ride is not all that great, and there are times (not many) that I hold fast to that very idea.
My desire-produced karmic wheel of birth and death is receiving lots of impressions, and I don’t see an end in sight anytime soon. Good grief, I am all over the friggin’ place with desire. It oozes out of every single pore of my being and I was always certain that it would be the death of me, not the re-birth of me.
Well, how about that for a beautifully wrapped paradox?
It seems, then, that as long as I crave cheeseburgers and Snickers candy bars and martini’s and pretty dresses and traveling to far away lands and curling up with a good book and going to the movies and swimming in the ocean and looking at the mountains and dancing & giggling with my daughter Olivia and practicing and teaching yoga and on and on and on, that I get to live. I get to come back to this place that holds all of the sensory pleasures that I so crave. So, where does that leave me? Well, I guess that leaves me having a darn good time continuously manifesting in nature.
You have to understand that I am generally a “liver (and, I am not talking about chopped) of life to the fullest”. You know the type… always smiling and deriving unbelievable amounts of pleasure from the simplest of things. The one that says “why not?” instead of “why?” If I desire something, I just do. It doesn’t matter if I shouldn’t desire it or if it is bad for me or if it somehow just isn’t the correct desire to have. Perhaps, I shouldn’t have that espresso and a slice of yummy cheesecake. Perhaps, standing on my head at the beach isn’t way “cool” (yes it is!). Maybe, desiring to go a movie by myself appears “odd”. Should I not talk of loving-kindness and compassion because it is too “ooey-gooey”? Oh, yea… desiring another martini is totally out of the question because… well, it just is. And, shall I apologize for I desire NOT to have Botox injected into my 52 year old face (I mean, come on people, that is part of the problem not the solution… although, desiring youth is sooo tempting), how un-21st century of me.
And, on it goes.
So, you see, I am torn. For the most part, I like it here. On the one hand, I don’t want to stop desiring. I have become addicted to my personal desires and they seem, like it or not, to somehow fill me up. Forget the fact that they lead to even more desire and ultimately suffering (cause dang it, even the good things don’t last forever and then there is the craving and missing of that which you once had… ouch!). Now truly this is quite a pickle, because in the Yoga Sutras (one of the most respected works ever written on yoga by Patanjali a long, long time ago), the whole goal of practicing yoga techniques (which I do) is to ultimately surrender everything (desires included, and don’t get me started on aversions- like the Botox thing, ’cause that needs to be surrendered as well… is there nothing sacred?) in order to come into unity consciousness (samadhi, enlightenment, union). Go figure, cause I also deeply desire coming into unity consciousness. Hmm… another paradox, for The Yoga Sutras are quite clear… even the desire of unity consciousness must be given up. Whew, this is like totally making me sweat.
I desire, which is strictly taboo if unity consciousness is sought. Unity consciousness just so happens to be one of my desires. Unity consciousness requires that I become desireless. Desire-less-ness takes me out of the karmic cycle of birth and death. This would mean no more Hershey’s kisses or other seeming forbidden fruits. So, the conundrum continues because I really like chocolate. Argh… a little help here!
Perhaps I am making it way too complicated. I mean without desire there is no notion of desire-less-ness. Where would yin be without yang. And, certainly Sita (in Hindu lore she was elevated to equal status with the gods because of her undying love for her husband Rama, even in lieu of his rejecting her… long story) would have not been able to follow her dharma (what you were born to do, your path) without Rama (Hindu god and husband of Sita). And, the earth without the sky is nothing. I mean, no-thing without some-thing just doesn’t make sense, does it?
So, having desires is, perhaps, not so preposterous. And, in fact, seems to be a necessary precursor to desire-less-ness. Maybe, it is the clinging to the desires (and aversions) that is to be perceived as the doer-of-evil here. Watch the desires, even indulge, but beware not to get all gnarled up in them. No prime rib? Okay, give me eggplant instead. Now that is surrender.
Let’s go ahead and plunge head-on into our desires. After all, until we experience all there is to experience, we are not able to be done. And, being done is the goal. So, it would seem, if we really want to finally be done (manifesting, that is), we need to indulge our desires. What an insanely ordered conundrum! Let’s attach to it… hahaha.
Well, it seems that I am not dead yet. And, I am certain that I will reincarnate several million-bajillion more times.
Okay. I am good with that. Eventually, my desires will run out. And, until then, I can patiently watch them come and go. I can savor the notion that you cannot know and become that which you are in the absence of that which you are not. So, I am, at my deepest, innermost being, not my desires. But, without them, how can I ever really know what I truly am?
Did someone say pepperoni pizza? Count me in.
Jeri is on the merry-go-round of life and ain’t gettin’ off anytime soon. Her main goal, at this point, is to be standing on her head or doing splits when she is placed in the nursing home someday by her children… seriously.
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