The Roots of Desire
When it comes to desire and fulfillment, we are a lot like flowers growing in a shared garden – though we all breathe the same air and drink the same water, the majority of our personal reality is hidden beneath the surface where no one else can see it and where we ourselves often neglect to look. While our attention is fixed on what can be seen above ground; it’s in these deeper, hidden places that the roots of our greatest desires hide, and here also is where the secret to fulfilling them can be found.
The secret to fulfilling these hidden desires probably isn’t what you’d expect – the best way to get what we really want isn’t so much about setting goals, remaining focused, and having determination as we’ve been conditioned to think. Rather, it’s about being flexible and having the courage to let go of our tight hold on what we think we want. Though at first it may be difficult to accept, this timeless truth has the power to alter our inner and outer realities in profound and promising ways.
One of the biggest reasons that spiritual teachers often advise us to stop focusing so intensely on our desires is that most of the time we don’t actually want what we think we do. This means that, as long as we’re focused on our wants, we’re distracted from what’s really going on inside of us and will never find the true fulfillment we’re looking for.
The world around us is a mirror of the world within us. This means that the things we think we want are just distorted reflections of something deeper, more personal, and ultimately more important that’s hiding just below the surface. All of the external things that we crave – the jobs, relationships, titles, or things – are little more than symbols that are meant to represent our true desires. Those true desires are the feelings, sensations, or energetic signatures like love, happiness, peace, passion, or a sense of purpose and belonging, that underlie the external symbols that we tend to focus upon.
In today’s world, there are countless forms of marketing that are constantly competing with another for a moment of our attention. Once they have that moment, they tell us stories about how true satisfaction comes from having nicer things, hotter bodies, better entertainment, more sex, and lots of attention – and that their product can give us these things for a price. It’s no surprise that these are the things that we think we most often think we want, because they are in our faces and thus make great screens to project our true desires upon.
When our true desires – love, peace, purpose, etc. – remain unfulfilled, they create inner tension; and that inner tension rises up from the depths and projects itself onto things in the outer world. We associate an external object, place, or experience with an internal desire and then we assume that the external thing is what we want. This is why many of us want stuff after we’ve been through hard times like breakups, losing a job, or even just having a hard day. We fly after the external things that we’ve projected that love or happiness upon like an arrow whose speed and force is proportionate to the tension that propelled it into motion. Once we get what we were aiming towards, however, the tension doesn’t subside; it just builds back up as we set our sights on the next thing.
The Hidden Needs
The state of our inner world dictates the state of our outer world, much like the roots of a flower determine the beauty of its blooms. As long as we are busying ourselves with those external wants, we have no time or energy to devote to finding and fulfilling the true inner desires that they represent – it’s as if we were watering the petals of a flower but leaving its roots dry. If, instead, we choose to let go of our external wants, no matter how magnetic their pull, we free ourselves up to start working from the inside out.
Though many of us understand this basic concept, few manage to put it into practice. Most often, this is because our external desires are clear goals and it’s often quite easy to figure out how we will attain them and how we can measure our progress along the way, whereas our internal needs can seem like a long labyrinth whose inner treasure is difficult to identify and even harder to attain – but this is really just an illusion that keeps us from venturing inside and facing our own truths that are tucked away in there. In reality, what appears to be a dark and winding road from the outside looking in is a well-lit and friendly path once we dare to take those first few steps.
Once we choose to let go of our outer wants and venture within, we find that the way is easier than we thought. We need only follow the beckoning voice of our own souls to find the way. Sealed deep within each and every one of us is a bottomless well of love and passion, peace, and joy that waits only for us to find it. While we’re busy chasing after external desires, this well remains untapped and our inner needs unfulfilled. But once we make the choice to look within, the seal is broken – and the deeper that we go, the more that well will begin to overflow until it spills out into the world around us.
In this way, we truly are just like flowers. When we begin working from the inside out, we actually end up manifesting and attracting more and better things than when we work from the outside in. Satisfaction comes not from external forces pulling things towards us, but from using our internal forces to create things around us – because we don’t create bright and beautiful flowers by focusing intensely on their blooms; they arise naturally when we focus on nurturing healthy and well-tended roots.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cristen Rodgers is a spiritual Author and Blogger. She has devoted herself to using the written word to encourage other spiritual seekers, teachers, healers, and travelers as she explores the ups and downs, the hills, valleys, and bumps along the way on the path of spiritual development. You can learn more about her at CristenRodgers.net