Sunday, May 5, 2013

The gift of desire

Many of us are working on developing presence, attention; trying to be more in the moment.  What we may not realize is that the things we struggle with, the things we want but shouldn't have, provide a golden opportunity to achieve presence. As Salzmann writes in The Reality of Being: The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff, "We need to remember that the struggle is FOR and not AGAINST something, particularly in relation to what we call "desire" -- the wish for pleasure or some other satisfaction. 

The illusion of desire arises from images recorded in the memory with pleasure or pain.  Although the desire leads to fragmentation, it is not getting satisfaction that is bad, but the fact that I am absent, unable really to satisfy or not to satisfy it.

At one moment, for example, I may experience a wish to indulge a pleasure like smoking or eating.  Either I immediately give in to the idea and have no contact with the desire, or I refuse and create conflict, again without contact because I have dismissed the desire.  And everything that arises in me proceeds like this.  The desire is life itself in me, extraordinarily beautiful, but because I do not know it and do not understand it, I experience frustration, a certain pain, in giving in or in repressing it.  So the struggle to be attentive, to be present, to be in the moment, is to live with the desire, not refusing it or losing myself in it, until the mechanism of the thinking no longer has an action on me and the attention is free."

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