The Power of Desire [Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club]

Via Chanti Tacoronte-Perez
on Oct 22, 2011
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Chapter 1: The Power of Desire
Let’s Define Desire

We read the word desire and our eyes light up for different reasons. Desire can mean many things. Webster’s defines desire as “a conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.” Desire can be interpreted in different ways; the desire to make money can be looked at as greed or success and a desire for physical pleasure can be related to lust or longing.

Desire defined in the reading precedes your every action, is the seed of every thought, and there is no end to it. We are here because of desire. The quality of desire(s)that we will be talking about are those that are known deep in our hearts. The kinds of desires that change the course of our destiny and those that are worth sacrificing what we are for what we can become. If desire is here to stay, let’s make the best of it and use those desires of the soul to reach our fullest potential.

The soul’s four desires are:
dharma– the desire to become who you were meant to be.
artha- the desire for the means to help you fulfill your dharma.
kama- the desire for pleasure of all kinds.
moksha– the desire for freedom and connection to the Eternal–to lead your best life.

What are your first impressions of the souls four desires?



About Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education.


33 Responses to “The Power of Desire [Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club]”

  1. ARCreated says:

    I loved that definition of the two types of desire — fulfillment through acquisition and through internal satisfaction. BOTH are needed to experience lasting happiness.
    Again I am so excited to have more tantric awareness in the yoga community so we can maybe stop judging this materialism is not spiritualism duality nonsense and seeing there are several paths. Ultimately if we are living fully and it is coupled with a spiritual nature wouldn't we all be happier?

    For me the four desires just make sense — what do we want, how do we get it, how does it make us feel and how does it lead us to fulfillment.

  2. Paula says:

    I really enjoyed learning about the four desires, as I see how these encompass a fulfilled life. The connection between the four is also very interesting to contemplate. I can already see how the desires I consciously have may not be balanced, and discomfort in one area can lead to wanting to overcompensate in another, but ultimately leaving me dissatisfied.

    LOVING the book and the discoveries so far… interesting to recognize that if we are not getting what we think we desire, there is probably an unconscious desire that is driving our lives… incredibly eye opening.

  3. Chanti says:

    Hi again ARCreated,
    Thanks for your comment. We will have to post it again next week with the two kinds of fulfillment entry!!!

  4. Chanti says:

    Hi Paula,
    It will get even more eye opening when you start doing the exercises!!! They are coming up!

  5. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    I LOVE this.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  6. Julie says:

    My first reaction to the 4D was that they are the TRUTH. In big bold letters, right? I love the summary that Chanti gives: sounds like a warrior! 🙂

  7. I'm so into this that my new smart phone is the HTC Desire.


  8. garuda65 says:

    I'm just soaking it all in right now. The definitions make complete sense and I'm just letting the words and concepts seep in. I look forward to seeing how we start putting this knowledge into action.

  9. Patrick says:

    This book has changed my life in so many ways; peeling back the layers that need to be examined ; sort of like an internal Spring cleaning of sorts. 🙂

  10. Patrick says:

    I LOVE the exercises….I am at the point now where I am having to write / discover my Vikalpa(s)….

  11. Heather says:

    Defining desires into four categories is challenging for me. I find there is a grey area where a desire – for example, to have shelter to survive, can be over laid with Kama – the beauty and comfort of shelter one desires. In the end, it is probably not that important, except to recognize whether it is serving the ego or one's higher self. I think the one hardest to nail down is dharma because it is so obscured by our conditioning. But just thinking about it is freeing. And looking back at each day and being curious about what desires left me feeling fulfilled on a deep level is very helpful for me.

  12. Dorothy says:

    What I appreciate about the 4D's is the way that Rod weaves in examples. This makes the book, ancient wisdom and tradition come alive in today's world. The opening story inis chapter about Dean is amazing and inspirational. It makes me think about ways that I refuse to be fully alive and present in my life.

    The second ahha moment for me is when Rod was quoting his first teacher, Mani Finger " A person can achieve almost anything, can surmount any difficulties, if they can harness their power ". What a rallying cry. I find that for me and most people I know of, they are comfortable in their current state. I wonder does the desire to change mostly come from pain? I see many people who are living with a low level of constant pain but that doesn't seem to be enough for them to want to change. The opening story is an example of this. Would Dean have woken up so much if he didn't have such extreme pain?

  13. ARCreated says:

    hahah yeah when went back to the book I realized I had read ahead 🙂 sorry 🙂

  14. Chanti says:

    Hi Patrik!! A spring cleaning that keeps cleaning itself over and over again!
    It keeps changing my life too, welcome to the club!

  15. Chanti says:

    Me too garuda65, it will be nice to talk about how these principles will start influencing our daily life!

  16. Chanti says:

    Hi Heather,
    The beauty of this book is that (in the coming chapters) it teaches us how to identify each desire, all the way back to the "seed" or initial desire. We will discuss all the desires separately, and hopefully that will clarify each one. I agree, Dharma is a hard one, and (at least for me) the gateway to all the others.

  17. Chanti says:

    Thanks Julie,
    I agree that TRUTH is an excellent way to experience the four desires. Also when you speak the truth to yourself, then this process of the 4D becomes even more powerful.

  18. Chanti says:

    We may need to add just a "tech" desire, or just accept that it falls right into Kama 🙂

  19. Chanti says:

    Hi Dorothy,
    Thanks for your great input into this club! I think the most important idea to remember is just after the Mani Finger quote "the willingness to formulate goals and learn to direct your innate power towards achieving them." This is what we will learn to do as this book progresses. So would Dean have woken up if he wasn't in such pain? Not sure, but anyone could if they find a way to align your desires, with your goals. Sometimes, we don't notice that this is happening, or like dean, when he went to his yoga class, felt something different and went after that innate inner feeling, we all have.

  20. Great discussion here. I'm surprised no one brought up the fact that many Yoga schools, and even the Gita itself in parts, seems to be telling us to repress our emotions, and especially our desires, as opposed to celebrating them, like The Four Desires does.

    With regard to the Gita, just by chance, that happens to be the exact topic of this week's Gita Talk:

    Is the Gita Asking Us to Repress Our Emotions? (Gita Talk 10)


    The Gita does not, as whole, endorse emotional repression, even though it seems to be doing exactly that here. What the Gita asks us to do is be our human selves completely, feel deeply all our human emotions, but develop the ability to step outside ourselves and calmly witness those emotions in a completely non-judgmental way.

    Even though the text right here seems to say otherwise, the situation itself supports this idea. Think about it. Krishna is urging Arjuna to fight a battle to the best of his abilities. Does Krishna think Arjuna can can fight his battle (just make that a metaphor for whatever challenges we face in life) without emotion and passion?

    No, of course not. Even though the text isn’t clear on this, the situation is. Krishna is telling Arjuna to fight his battle with all this usual passion, but to be able, at the same time, to rise above it and objectively see that he is also a part of the infinite, unfathomable, wondrous universe, where these emotions hold no sway.

    Bob W. Editor
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  21. missmiapark says:

    YES, chanti really is a warrior!

  22. missmiapark says:

    bob – your'e awesome.

  23. missmiapark says:

    patrick, what a great message to share. this book has really effected many people & it's great to hear about it (read about it). thanks.

  24. missmiapark says:

    dorothy, this is a great observation. i came to a realization the other day that i sometimes let my stakes raise really high before i'll slow down to listen to myself. i got too used to letting things function at a certain level that i still sometimes forget that things can function slower and sweeter. let's wake up &, for me, slow down!

  25. ingelisse says:

    I love the understanding that these desires are our holy impulse to manifest the unmanifest in this realm. We must pay attention to our desires and try to understand them, as well as channel them within the context of a very clear sankalpa. Otherwise, we're like spoiled children running around eating candy and getting sick to our stomachs. With discipline and understanding and wisdom, we can delight in these desires and begin to weave a life of purpose and fulfillment. This is a very worthy endeavor.

  26. […] Chapter 1: The Power of Desire Let’s Define Desire […]

  27. […] Chanti Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal. Read other discussions about The Four Desires Instructions: How the book club […]

  28. Chanti says:

    Beautifully said!
    Thank you ingelisse

  29. veloyogi says:

    As far as having the discipline to discern desire of our soul from that of our ego, it's been my experience that when I *am* aligned with my dharma, to a T, the lessor desires of my ego fall away, they don't capture my attention so readily. When I am *on Purpose,* I am imbued with and live from that place, and the piddly desires become very, very quiet…!
    More good motivation for stepping with the Four Desires.

  30. Vanita says:

    I think the balance among the desires is delicate, but I also think many people are afraid to allow their true desires to form into a complete thought.

    The Charles Du Bos quote: Wow. It made me think of so many examples of people I know, in my own life, who cling to the status quo because they think that the discomfort of the known somehow trumps the discomfort of the unknown : People who complain that they don't connect with their families, but spend four hours a day on Facebook, people who complain about being unhealthy but eat donuts for breakfast every morning – the list goes on and on. The desire to be something different is strong, but not strong enough to give up who they think they are, now.

    I think we all experience it on some level in our dharma. What if who we are meant to be is not compatible with certain elements of our lives?

  31. Jayasri says:

    After reading Chapter 1 I was thinking that desires permeate this world or form, they sustain it, move it, break it down and build it up. even Rupert Sheldrake's morphic fields may just be fields of desires – that which causes mountains to rise up, buds to form & expand into leaves, and tissues to grow and heal. Desires are the driving force of creation.