|Posted by Kimaya Crolla-Younger on October 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM|
A Reflection on Desire
My own relationship with Desire has been somewhat ambivalent. And it seems I’m not the only one. I notice how friends and clients often struggle to voice their desires. There are many petals (and thorns) on the rose that is desire but for now, I want to focus on the following question “what do you desire and how do you know if this desire is from your deepest longing?”
The media often appeals to such a narrow band of emotions to trigger our desire, give us a quick fix, and perpetuate consumerism. But the desire that’s been touched in this way can be rooted in inadequacy, greed and lust. Today’s therapist/coaching culture can encourage us to give our power away to others and if the therapist is mindful, she will gently hand it back to you… And then what?
Sometimes we need others to be mirrors for our desires. I was presented with such an opportunity whilst on a workshop where we were in family groups. We were invited to take space and each ask a question that was up for us. The only question I had at that time was “do I want a child?” I asked the question to my ‘family’ and found myself getting irritated at their initial responses. I clarified further by saying it wasn’t a practical enquiry, but more whether my belly and heart held such a desire. Suddenly a woman said “I think you want one!” and these words reached into an inner landscape of longing, I so far hadn’t been able to access myself.
Some of our desires originate from unmet needs in our early childhood- what are yours? It’s useful to know, particularly when in the playground of intimate relationships; desire can be projected on the ‘other’. We are by nature receptive beings and our projected desires influence us. If one partner is feeling vulnerable in a particular area and the other says “this is what you desire,” they may fall prey to the strongers intention, and abandon their deepest desires in the process.
Desire rooted in our Cultural and Tribal Contracts
How do unconscious contracts that we inherited from our ancestors shape our current relationship with desire? A tribe is a social collective that is held together by strong social contracts. These contracts can be woven around shared social identities such as bloodlines or genetic lines, religious adherences, race, social and economic position etc.. While we all were born into some tribal identities, the formation of these can vary significantly. Let’s take bloodlines as an example. I am part Italian and this culture has a strong belief that family can only mean blood relatives. There is also conditioning to marry a fellow Italian (from a good family) and have children. A young woman in her late 20s, during a workshop I ran some years ago, realised that she had lived her life pleasing her father and his desires; taking a job, even marrying a man that wasn’t in alignment with her deepest desires. With this realisation, her challenge was to live her life from a truer place and face her fear of displeasing her father.
An Inner Knowing
From time to time over the period of my psychotherapy training, an inner voice told me that touch would be a part of my work; whilst I trusted this voice, knowing it was from the deepest part of my being, I was also confused as much seemed to inform me that this wouldn’t be possible: colleagues, teachers and other places of authority. But the voice wouldn’t go away. That was more than 7 years ago and my journey to bring this truer part of myself to my work has, and continues to be, an interesting one.
A question to ask around desiring is “am I using this to fulfil my need for love/self-esteem?” and if the answer is yes, then start to pay more attention to yourself and to being inside your body. Be responsible for your own desire, keep nourishing the pool of your own desire. Can you stand alone in your desire, to experience yourself as the source of desire?
Looking at the polarity of desire/fear within ourselves and seeking to bring it into balance can loosen any tendency to cling to one side. A way to resolve unconscious desires is to look for the ‘yes’ which resonates from deep within: if there’s something inside and it opens up your heart, a feeling of rightness, then you would be wise to follow it. Take some time to breath inside yourself. I would suggest the deepest place to connect down to is to place one hand on your womb/lower belly and the other on your heart and just start to feel your own energy, feel your breath, notice what is inside you. Sometimes we just stumble upon something and it says YES. What’s important is to listen to your inner voice that knows everything, and is often quiet. It knows whether it’s a ‘yes’, or a ‘no’. Are you willing to be surprised by what is revealed?
A Transpersonal Practice
One day, according to an Eastern story, the gods decided to create the universe. They created the stars, the sun, the moon. They created the seas, the mountains, the flowers and the clouds. Then they created human beings. At the end, they created Truth.
At this point, however, a problem arose: where should they hide Truth so that human beings would not find it right away? They wanted to prolong the adventure of the search.
“Let’s put Truth on top of the highest mountain,” said one of the gods. “Certainly it will be hard to find it there.”
“Let’s put it on the farthest star,” said another.
“Let’s hide it in the darkest and deepest of abysses.”
“Let’s conceal it on the secret side of the moon.”
At the end, the wisest and most ancient god said, “No, we will hide Truth inside the very heart of human beings. In this way they will look for it all over the Universe, without being aware of having it inside themselves all the time.”
The psychosynthetic technique of inner dialogue that I want to share with you, is that of writing a letter to the Self. Strange as it may seem, this is often an effective way of tuning in. You describe a situation or problem in detail, discussing the alternatives, your – and other people’s feelings about it, the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, and so on.
The answers in inner dialogue – whether it is carried on in written or visualised form, can come in various ways and through different channels. These are the principle ones:
- The message comes while we are doing the exercise or immediately after.
- The answer comes in a delayed fashion. Usually our expectations of a particular solution, or our anxiety to have one, obstruct the flow of insight. But the insight may arrive later, by surprise. It may also come in a most subtle, nearly invisible way, so that after a few days we realise that our outlook has become clear, or the issue is not a problem anymore, or we now know what to do about it, even though we may not remember any particular moment when a definite shift has taken place.
- The message reaches us through a dream.
- The response appears as an impulse to action, as when we suddenly feel prompted to do something which we previously were not particularly inclined to do or to consider worthy of doing.
- The answer comes through some element in the environment, such as the words of a friend, the title of a movie, a phrase read at random in a book, something on the side of a bus going past. I remember asking if I should make a trip to Australia. That same day, I was travelling on a bus, and noticed a man get on, chat with the driver and immediately get off again. As he slowly turned to alight, I noticed he was wearing a T-shirt with the word ‘Australia’ on. About half an hour later I was having tea with a friend in her flat, discussing my dilemma with her. I asked her “should I go to Australia?” Suddenly, a voice from somewhere outside, shouted “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”
If reading is your thing, here’s some great books I would recommend…
What We May Be, Techniques for Psychological and Spiritual Growth Through Psychosynthesis, Piero Ferrucci
A Desire of One’s Own, a paper by Jessica Benjamin (1985)
The Web of Life, Fritjof Kapra
Open to Desire, Mark Epstein