Saturday, July 18, 2009

On Desire

I found this book online one night, and downloaded it to read on my iPod. I didn't expect much, really, but found it both provocative, and profound. I was surprised to realize how little I understood, or have even thought about desire. We talk about emotions being what make us human, but I kind of wonder if desire has much more to do with our humanity. Desire is at the root of everything we do -- without it, nothing makes any sense. But at the same time, it is insidious, and can easily destroy us. This book made me understand desire, and the wheel of Samsara, as they say, much better than I ever have before. Not to say that he book makes everything clear -- in fact, I was somewhat disappointed with how shallowly the author deals with some important subjects. For example, he boldly states that the goal of life is not really happiness (a fleeting emotion), but tranquility. And on some level, this feels true. But he spends precious little time talking about what tranquility really is... and this is terribly important. Thinking on it, I suspect that it is not simply a lack of desires, or "nothing", but rather something different for every person. We each seem to have a path, and a purpose -- tranquility, I think, is when you are flying along that path unencumbered, with no snags, no distractions -- living your life perfectly, as only your life was meant to be lived, fulfilling the purpose that only you know, deep in your heart.

Anyway, this book doesn't have all the answers, but it pointed me to important questions that make me feel like I've broken through to a new understanding of the human psyche.

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