“There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”
– George Bernard Shaw
When we do not get what we desire, we are left feeling frustrated and empty: if only our desire had been fulfilled, surely happiness would be ours and all would be well.
Yet when we get what we desire, we are again left feeling frustrated and empty: somehow the fulfilment of our desire has not given us the happiness and satisfaction we had hoped for.
The root of both these “tragedies” is desire itself.
From the spiritual point of view, it is not desire which is the problem, but rather attachment: our attachment to the fruits of desire, and attachment to desire itself.
Desire is neither good nor bad, but neutral like water. Water can be coloured or flavoured according to what is added. A few drops of poison can render water deadly: attachment in a desire can blind our judgement, destroy our happiness and cripple our will.
Attachment in desire will always lead to frustration, pain and suffering, for the moment we grab hold of desire with one hand, from our other hand spills our freedom and personal sovereignty. We vainly imagine we possess a desire, while that very desire secretly possesses us. Desire promises to empower us as master; instead it makes us its slave.
Desire is delusion founded upon falsehood. The delusion is that desire can and will lead to lasting happiness. The falsehood is that happiness and fulfilment are to be found elsewhere than our own being.
This fundamental falsehood of our age, which spawns the delusion which inspires desire which punishes us with endless suffering, can only be illumined and eradicated through inner discovery – through sincere, eager, patient, persistent meditation.