“Each one of us is a product of their own desires.”
What are desires, really? Well, desires are impulses that come before any action which we do. Without desires, we would not have made the step to start our spiritual life. Without desires those of you who are married would not have married. Without desires those who have stayed single would not be single.
Desire is extremely powerful! In fact, in the Bhagavad-gita Krishna makes it clear that this world rests on desires. And one of the Upanishads says: “As the person’s desire is, so is his destiny. For as his desire is, so is his will; as his will is, so is his deed; and as his deed is, so are it’s consequences, good or bad.”
It is interesting to note that once we know how our desires form, we can transform them. Desires first start on the level of thinking—either conscious or unconscious. From there they move to the level of feeling at which we attach an emotion to our thoughts. And finally, they come to the willing state, where we set out to fulfill our desire. For example, you first think about an Italian pizza with capers. Then you combine it with an emotion, “Oh, that pizza tasted like something out of this world.” And finally you make a firm resolve, call a friend and make an appointment for meeting at the pizzeria.
This is an innocent example. However, often we find ourselves harassed by repeated desires that are not really favorable for us. I think you know what I mean. The good news is: there is a way to transform your desires. This means to take the tremendous energy existing within a desire and use it for your advantage. How?
- Catch yourself as you are desiring something
- Take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this good in the long run?”
- When the answer is “no,” replace the desire with a favorable one.
I know this sounds almost too simple, and you ask yourself “Really?” But the magic happens when you actually make the choice and act according to what is better in the long run. For this you need to develop some inner strength. Yoga and meditation; spiritual practices like chanting and kirtan; reading wisdom scriptures; good, spiritual company; and leading a conscious and healthy lifestyle; — all form a favorable inner climate so that you can make the better choice. As they say, “Pain of discipline is great, but the pain of regret is unbearable.”
I myself have seen great inner transformation taking place in those who have taken up to the path of bhakti. This is so because in bhakti we are not dependent only on our own power to push forward, but largely transformation happens because of divine blessings.