I am beginning to love the ancient eastern teachings of Vedanta. And this happened, because I was blessed to become a part of a year-long class, where we study some of the foundations of Vedanta. One topic which I really resonated with, was the breakdown on different types of desires and how we can overcome them.
I found this to be a powerful subject which you might enjoy as well. So I wanted to lay it out for you, by expressing my personal reflections on the topic of enlightenment versus getting entangled in the pursuit of temporary desires.
Before we begin, let’s address this question.
Are desires normal? If not, why do they exist?
For every person, our desires are just as unique as our stories. We all have something we seek or want in our experience, that simply pursuing brings life into us!
It is infact, a natural part of evolution, to want something.
Think about it. If we were too content, would we bother building a house or going hunting for food? Of course, we needed these things to survive, and so primal desires emerged, in order to keep the human race alive.
Then overtime, as we evolved, our desires shifted towards material gains and fame, as a means to get respect and be accepted into society. Ever since coming into existence, we have been moving up the ladder, always longing for more.
The whole idea of being infinite like the Universe has become so bizarre to us, that we have become fully consumed by our desires.
Desires are natural, but also a fuel for separation from Source, in our spiritual journey. Because when we have desires, it comes from a place of insufficiency and lack of contentment.
We seek outwards, believing that having something or someone will make us feel whole again. And yet, we are disappointed.
Then, what should we do? How do you clean your slate and become free of these desires so you can walk towards the path of enlightenment?
Let’s explore what Vedanta says about this.
Three Types of Desires
Desires are also called vasanas, in Sanskrit. And you can beautifully examine these vasanas, by the intensity with which they exist in your life.
These are the simpler and smaller desires that inspire us to take action. Kind of like bucket list things that you might enjoy doing once. And then once done, you feel content by the experience.
For some people, a light desire might mean saving up money for a great vacation in the Maldives. Or taking on a hobby class for the summer. These things may take up your time and energy, but eventually you are able to let go of them.
Reflection: These might not be the types of desires that need much effort to release from your mind. But if you do notice yourself getting sucked-in by a light vasana, think of the idea of “letting it go” by experiencing it fully, once and for all. Be as present as you can be in the experience, and see if you’re able to EXHAUST your desire for it.
These become a little more enticing because even though you’ve done them once, or a couple of times, you find yourself still wanting more.
For me, I have to admit that chocolate chip cookies were a huge weakness. It might sound funny, but truly, it was what brought out my shadow self – my addiction to sugar. Once I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop.
I would want my share of cookies every.single.week! And for months, that’s all I thought about every time my husband and I were picking desserts. Initially, it looked cute and I enjoyed the title of the cookie monster.
Until eventually, I started seeing how addicted I was and that it wasn’t helping my weight or my mental health to consume that much sugar. So then, it was time to substitute this desire, because it wasn’t light enough to simply let it go.
Reflection: When you aren’t able to let go of your need for something, think of what you can do as a SUBSTITUTION? Think along the lines of doing something of higher value to you in your journey. For instance, I substituted artificial sugars for more natural sweeteners in my diet.
This is the type of desire where you begin to lose touch with yourself, because you are so driven and triggered that you are no longer able to be your true self. You might get lost in vengeance, for instance.
Or you may have anger issues, and realize that you become unrecognizable when someone upsets you.
This tendency of ours, to be so fully consumed by a desire that we lose ourselves to it, is what we can see as lifetimes of baggage that we’ve been trying to let go of. However, this hasn’t been very successful in some scenarios, which is why, we feel disconnected from our true nature.
Reflection: The best way to overcome a heavy vasana, is to address it head-on and DESTROY your baser tendencies. There are many way you can work to heal your karmic patterns and evolve past these gripping behaviors.
Consider exploring journaling, inner child healing and taking support from someone you trust. And know that I am at your service, in whatever capacity you need me to be!
The different types of desires hold different degrees of control on our freedom. The more deeply persistent you are to get something, or someone, the more trapped you will feel in your own experience.
However, the most empowering thing about this journey, is realizing that we have a choice. Even for the most heavy desires, we have the choice to step away and say no more.
So don’t treat your desires like something that is in control of you and your life. Rather, start seeing the different types of vasanas as an opportunity for you to work on your wounds, and to realize that the fulfillment we are seeking is NOT outside of us.
Rather, it is within, and it is in the NOW.
Ready to take your healing deeper? Let’s talk about it! You’re welcome to setup a complimentary 30-minutes call using this form, and learn how you can set your spiritual plans into action. See you soon!
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