Skip to main content

At the Post Office, Don't Ask for Directions to the Post Office

| Nirmala | Desire

At the Post Office, Don't Ask for Directions to the Post Office

Published on
15 July 2011

Q: Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean by “Desire flows from the essential joy and love within our hearts.” Always? Desire, for me, feels like more of a compulsion for something that I think is missing, that I lack, and would feel more complete having. Joy and love, for me, have no neediness in them. Intrinsic in Joy is no thought of something to internalize or possess. It’s more of an outflow than a missing something. Maybe it’s just semantics I’m having issue with. Can you sort this out for me?

A: Every perspective that is put into words is just a piece of the puzzle. If a particular piece is helpful in expanding your understanding, great. If not, then just notice that that piece doesn’t expand your view in this moment.

That being said, here is how I see it: Our Being is limitless and full of infinite potential. It is like an energizer battery that can never run out! Joy is an expression of that infinite potential. It is like one form of current that flows out of the battery. Desire is a thought that shapes or directs that current toward a particular outcome. So in this view, desire is a thought filled with the current of joy. It is a limitation and distortion of the pure joy to be flowing in the form or shape of the particular thought or desire, but the current still comes from our essence or Being, and the current is still made of joy.

I point to the joy in a desire in order to direct someone’s awareness to this current of exuberant essence that is already here even when you are desiring something. Often we are hypnotized by our desires into focusing all our attention onto the object of our desire. We feel this inner current of joy and think that if we get what we want, we will feel it even more. When we do get something we want, our wanting relaxes, and that allows us to feel more of the natural joy and happiness that is always available. Feeling happier after we get something we want reinforces our tendency to believe that getting what we want is what is most important to our happiness. There’s nothing wrong with getting what you want, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with the happiness you feel when you get something you want. But the mistaken belief that the happiness you feel comes from getting what you want drastically limits the amount of happiness and joy you can experience in life. It means you tend to only notice this inner joy when you get what you want.

I point to the joy that is already here when someone is wanting something to hopefully bring that person to a realization that you don’t need to get what you want to be happy. You just need to become more curious about the energy that is fueling your desires. If you get in touch with the energy that is fueling your desires (joy) then it doesn’t matter so much whether you get what you want or not. It is such a simpler way to be happy! Pointing to the joy that is already here in your desires avoids any possible internal conflict created by making desire bad or wrong, or by suggesting that you have to get rid of desire to be happy, All that is needed is a more complete experience of desire as it is. The joy is already here even when you want something a lot!

This is not the only way to point someone to their essence. If someone is already experiencing their essential joy, then they don’t need this particular kind of pointing. When you are already at the post office, you don’t ask for directions to the post office! When you are already experiencing an abundance of pure joy, then any desire or idea about desire will naturally be irrelevant. Or if desire arises, it might be such a complete desire that you desire everything just as it is. We call this kind of desire “gratitude.” Gratitude is another channel that essential joy flows in, but it is a much wider channel than a specific desire.