In a spiritual context, an issue often raised is one that revolves around desire. Is this thing I desire for my highest good, or is it born out of greed and selfishness? On one hand, there are those who approach God as a great genie standing ready to grant them any wish they make. On the other hand, there are those who feel deprivation is good for the soul, that any desire we may have is a temptation that should be kept in check.
The perspective offered by an understanding of the complete soul can be helpful here. Does this desire advance a strength, or is its purpose to protect a weakness? In a broader sense, does this desire rise from my soul, or does it rise from my self-image? A soul-based desire involves the greater expression of life, love, power and intelligence. Desires that rise from the self-image are usually a reaction to some deep-seated fear generated by feelings of inadequacy.
You may recall Jesus stating that he came that others may have life and have it abundantly. He was interested in helping people become free of the shackles of spiritual ignorance. He desired to share the joy of his own inner freedom with others, that their joy may be as full as his. He empowered those who would listen with the understanding that the same innate intelligence that cared for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field would also care for them. Fulfilled from within, the bird erupts in the sweetness of song. The lily expresses itself as beauty and fragrance. As we draw closer in awareness to the freeing truth of God as our own spiritual source, we too become a conduit of inspiration to others. A true, soul-based desire will reflect this.
In contrast, a desire that rises from the self-image is usually fear-based. Fear of failure, fear of lack, fear of the future, fear of losing our health are but a few of the many ways fear manifests.
I once knew a woman who covered her refrigerator with affirmations for healing. As a child, she suffered from severe health challenges and she was deathly afraid of going back there. The weakness she was trying to protect was her fear of disease. Her affirmations were actually a reinforcement of this fear. Another man, who grew up in dire poverty, became a millionaire who was plagued with the fear of losing everything. His affirmations, while appearing to be centered on prosperity, were actually centered on his fear of poverty. The irony is that no amount of material wealth could eliminate the weakness of his fear-based self-image.
The motive behind our desires may not be so pronounced. We can, however, check our motive with a few simple questions: Am I looking for a way out of the life I am now experiencing? Do I see the fulfillment of this desire as a means of escape? If the answer is yes, I am probably trying to protect a weakness. If I understand that my life, just as it is, is the perfect environment through which I may let the light of my soul shine, then I am seeking to express a strength. Conditions that seem unacceptable at one level can become opportunities to express spiritual assets we did not know we had.
A cup held under running water will fill and overflow. A cup of water standing alone will eventually evaporate. When our desires rise from the soul, we are like the cup held under running water. If we are the stand-alone cup, our desires are centered around the fear of evaporation. The soul-based understanding of ourselves includes the continual flow of water. The self-image defines itself only by the water it has in the cup. To become something more, it must go out in search of more water. More money, stronger credentials, more friends, more control over others all become the means of addressing our fear of evaporation. Our treasure is in what we can acquire and where our treasure is, there our heart is as well. And because we can never get enough, our heart perpetually aches for more.
In most cases, it is not the thing we desire that matters; it is our reason for desiring it that makes the difference. We are either looking for ways to direct our overflow, or we are looking for ways to compensate for our fear of evaporation. It really doesn’t take a lot of thought to figure out which of these two we are doing. Like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, we too have a body with material needs. Why is the bird and the flower taken care of and we are not? It is because they do not have the ability to create a self-image perceived as separate from its spiritual source. Because we humans do have this ability, we have created a self-image that feels all alone. To compensate for this feeling, we obviously need to escape from where we are. In this quest to escape, we desire things we believe will help us get away from the life we are experiencing.
Though the inadequate self-image would love to have the wings of the bird, the bird does not use its wings to escape its life. And the lily does not use its beauty to trick others into taking it away from its boring circumstances. It blooms right where it is planted.
If we are confused about the nature or validity of our desires, it may be best to spend time releasing them all and exposing ourselves to that inner fountain of life that is our true source of fulfillment. When you can truly look at your life just as it is and see it as your perfect place for expressing the strengths and the beauty of your soul, your need to compensate for a spiritually weak self-image will vanish. This single desire to bloom where you are planted will put all your desires in harmony with the life that is now bubbling up from the depths of your being.