Your body is a living ecosystem. Each cell is alive and breeding. Its major parts all depend on one another, but when broken down smaller, the faculties of unity become less explainable. Just what is it that constitutes the unitive principle responsible for your existence? Is it will as Schopenhauer thought? Is it Darwinian selection? Is it simply the need and never ending thirst of these various components? Even clinging to various parts of your body are bacteria which invade and break down what encumbers them, and which can become overactive and wear away at you if not kept in check. The body itself is the site of a war. Your consciousness is something which only happened late in the stages of that careful accretion that is your being.
And to what degree do you control your consciousness? You tell yourself it is time to eat after your organism becomes aware of it. You stave off relieving yourself. You breathe without noticing. Your consciousness would seem to be powerless before these forces, these various conglomerates which all act in and through you.
Where does your desire breed? Does it arise from the depths of your being, or does it prick you like so many barbs? Is it a tool of your destiny or is it your God? Do you worship it from below, ready to sacrifice everything for it? Do you throw all the best of you and your mind into that hollow, hungry cavern, in the hopes that it will one day vomit up the riches of your heart's craving?
Do not think that this craving, this seizeless yearning, is any kind of measurement of value… You empty each value one by one like a wine skin slit at the bottom and drained of its contents, but you save one last one, one precious one for yourself which you hold onto until the end of your life which you claim nothing can touch.
It is an illusion. It is not one thing, but mere wind you continue to dress up in new costumes.
There are those who believe that if only we could all fulfill our desires, we'd all be living in a Fourierian utopia, rushing into the garden at night to pick cherries in between sleep and endless libations. They forget the insatiable night side of desire; the distant, tortured scream of a De Sadean nightmare in which all pleasure is only had at the expense of the Other.
But this is just the secret: your own desire is already at your own expense. The raw need, the sense of want, is always there. It creates being out of thin air-it gives the gift of life to your fears, to your worries, your guilts, hatreds and anxieties. Desire is not the condition of your deprivation, but rather, the wet, swampy realm where your desire grows. The dog, whimpering for scraps of food, conditioned away from running into the wild to catch his own prey-this image can be likened to the desirous.
But can I disparage desire completely? After all, isn't wanting to be rid of desires simply a new desire on top of the others? When most people speak of detachment, they speak of it precisely in these terms-if only they could just find that one numbing agent, that one high or buzz for which they could throw out all the others… They fail to realize just how much more they've affirmed their desires through their ‘detachment.' Always pushing them away, covering their eyes and plugging their ears, they think only of their desire. They don't realize just how large the chasm is between possessing desire and being possessed by desire. They have failed to discern this truth: it is not by closing your eyes in the presence of desire that you earn power over it, but rather, by looking straight at it, by becoming more aware of it.
Awareness is enough to cool any desire. Your very gaze will stop its unruly motion. You will be able to discern its parts and realize, ultimately, that your desire is not an end, just as your desire itself is not a cause. Your desire is only a means to more desires, each of them caused, each of them never ending, providing opportunity for more and more fragmentation of your being. You must point your desires in a different direction. Realize that they have no end, that there will never be some final object to possess. Rather, it is reality before you naked and complete, which you must possess. There is no one act, no one gesture or ideology which will grant you access into this holy temple. You will only get there by awareness. An aware action is a pure action. When you are aware, you no longer have desires as ends but as means; that is if you even notice them at all. With a newfound awareness of reality, you will bypass the need, the endless craving of life through an immediate engagement with the demands of reality. An aware person will also create conditions, rather than seek out opportunities to end conditions. In this way, you yourself become a cause, rather than one whose actions are always caused.
Notice this about the desirous… Are they not always trying to qualify their desire with added features which are not natural to it? Constantly trying to possess objects, they try to conquer them forever in the name of successors so that all might enjoy what has been given to them. They mistake the flux, the impermanence of everything, for their own deprivation, and therefore, their own need. They create all kinds of social and political causes for everyone around them. They act under the banner of egalitarianism, of love, but they might as well be waving flags for their inflated egos. They don't live freely, but are trapped in their own small prisons which they spend their whole lives building. In order to perpetuate the conditions which granted them the free gift that was the object of their desires, they turn the possession of that desire into a ‘right,' a ‘moral good.' In this way, they feel they are escaping the death of everything that is happening each moment. But there is life birthed each moment too! They miss it, mired in a single moment which they have used to define the whole universe.
One must offer up one's engagement with reality as a gift. Your awareness will allow you to pick and enjoy the best fruits of life and scatter the seeds in the most harmonious place. If you have the mind to let the wind carry the seeds, then so be it.
Don't become mired in the memories of unsustained pleasure or pain. Take up your seat in the absolute center of yourself, where you can observe all and arrest those alien conditions before they have a chance to lay claim to your being. Those who would tell you to arm your desire should be given credit for their honesty. But it is by their very desire that they will become owned by another every time.
If you cannot learn to make your spirit free even in a prison cell, you will by no means be granted freedom in the wilderness of chaos. It is not a matter of suppression, but rather, of changing positions. One cannot err where one acts out of love, and love is the marriage of the cause and the condition. The act which fulfills itself leaves no room for need.