It is painful to be suspended in unfulfilled desire,
Continually searching for satisfaction.
- Chogyam Trungpa
Our desires are as natural as life itself. All of us have basic needs for food, shelter, protection, and closeness with others. Our desires are based in our need to survive, to succeed, and to satisfy ourselves, particularly in ways that give us comfort and pleasure. As we grow we learn that we can’t have everything we desire, but that doesn’t mean that we desire it less.
We learn that desiring helps us to improve lives. Desiring to get good grades teaches us self-discipline and self-control, which helps us as we grow. Civilization is based on people desiring to have things better than before. We call this progress. We are constantly reinforcing that love, attention, friendship, comfort, social status, and progress are all associated with the consumption of pleasures and the accumulation of things. Thus, we learn that comfort through eating, buying new clothes, toys, gadgets, etc. should consume so much of our life’s energy.
Meeting our basic needs is essential. The problem comes when we forever want reality to be just the way we want, always wanting it to be different than it is right now. As Buddha stated, the root of human dissatisfaction and suffering is endless desiring.
Cite: Losing the Weight of the World: A Spiritual Diet to Nourish the Soul by Jonathan Kramer, and Diane Dunaway Kramer