Monday, January 21, 2008

Desire and "Temptation"


Previously, the strength, wisdom, and power of releasing excess desire has been discussed. In much of Christian writing through the centuries, much has been said about the terrible power and corrupting influence of "temptation."

Temptation is founded on desire. In fact, by definition, it is a desire-- for something spiritually harmful. Temptation takes many forms:

For many, it is found in food overconsumption, leading to obesity and several body-weakening diseases.

For others, it is sexual. These people suffer from low selfesteem; not considering themselves worthy of any real Love, they try to overcompensate by quick, shallow, Lovefree, frustrating sexual experiences. For still others, the major temptation of this life is money, and all the things that it can buy. But, as the old cliche reminds, money cannot buy happiness. And, as the old song says, it can't buy you Love. Others are tempted by power, position, or fame; these also suffer from abysmally low selfesteem, hating themselves. They are always trying to compensate.

These are only a few of many "temptations" found on earth. What they all have in common is that most people consider them desirable. The enlightened person might well enjoy, and be grateful for, sex, food, and enough money to survive and feed her family. But she does not become the slave of any of these needs. For she draws the line between need and desire.

The fool does not do this. She has no valid or strong boundaries.

She has a knack for "going with a flow," but it is not the Flow of the cosmos, cosmic Love. For a person who loves herself does not want to be in utter slavery -- to tobacco, good food, alcohol, pot, money, sex, ideas, or any of a hundred other cruel and false masters. The good things of this life are wonderful servants; but they make horrible and intensely cruel and tortuous masters.

So, as enlightened people, we are completely free to want anything. But a conflict often arises between want and Love. When wants are expanded to become our "masters," the conflict always appears. This is where practical "renunciation," completely rejecting "over-desire," comes into our lives as an aspect of enlightenment. For the only one who cannot be "tempted" is the one who does not want anything that is antiagapic (against Love).

Enlightened people know that desire is a path to pain and frustration if desire goes beyond need. It is fine spiritually to desire enough food to live; in fact, this desire is a necessary aspect of selflove. But it is when desires start to multiply, to run rampant, to get out of control, to resist selfregulation, that they become a "demonic" (very harmful) master. So, the goal is not to reject or renounce one hundred percent of all desires. This is an extreme, and we, as the people of Love, avoid extremes.

Instead, we reject over-desire, the desire that knows no limits or boundaries. For if you are always desiring, you are like a person who is always thirsty or always hungry; your desire makes you continually miserable! So, the modification of desire to minimal levels leads to maximum happiness and tranquility. For she who has minimal desire need not work as hard, or as many hours, to fulfill her needs. For she knows the difference between need and greed.

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