desire

We Don't Want to Want

We Don't Want to Want

"We cannot receive love, however, if we are not open to the raw and tender experience of wanting it. Suppressing or denying desire shuts down our openness to receiving nourishment, and thus only intensifies our hunger."

~ John Welwood

How Little it Takes

Weeping European Beech, Topiary Park, February 9, 2014

Sabbaths 1999, VII
by Wendell Berry, from Given 

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.

With the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.

The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite.

What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowlyfalling, and is pleased.

The Myth of Spontaneity

Excerpt from "The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship," by Esther Perel, TED Talks, Feb. 2013:

Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. (Laughter) So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it's a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that...

Erotic couples...understand that passion waxes and wanes. It's pretty much like the moon. It has intermittent eclipses. But what they know is they know how to resurrect it. They know how to bring it back, and they know how to bring it back because they have demystified one big myth, which is the myth of spontaneity, which is that it's just going to fall from heaven while you're folding the laundry like a deus ex machina, and in fact they understand that whatever is going to just happen in a long-term relationship already has.

Committed sex is premeditated sex. It's willful. It's intentional. It's focus and presence." 

How Would You Really Enjoy Spending Your Life?

Excerpt from Do You Do It, or Does It Do You? by Alan Watts:

What do you desire?

What makes you itch?

What sort of a situation would you like?

I do this often in vocational guidance of students… They come to me and say, "We’re getting out of college and we haven’t the faintest idea what we want to do.”  So I always ask the question, “What would you like to do if money were no object?”

How would you really enjoy spending your life?

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of eduational system crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way.  Or another person says I’d like to live an out of doors life and ride horses.

When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him, “You do that. And forget the money.  Because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.  You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing!  Which is stupid!”

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what it is you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it.  And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.  So don’t worry too much.  Somebody is interested in everything.  And anything you can be interested in you can find others interested in.

But it is absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending your time doing things that you don’t like and to teach your children to follow in the same track!  See what we are doing, is we’re bring up children, educating them, to live the same sort of lives we are living.  In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children, to bring up their children to do the same thing!

Therefore it is so important to consider this question, “What do I desire?”


See also: Sing and Dance While the Music Plays