THE POWER OF
Episode 18: Desire. It's one of the most powerful forces on the planet. And yet, so few of us truly understand what it is—or how to control it. In this episode, we'll be taking our first steps to taming desires of all kinds: from subtle impulses to the out-of-control cravings of addiction.
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Desire, by whatever name, be it craving or urge or lust or yearning, is one of the most powerful forces on earth. But is it a force for good—or bad?
Welcome to Real Yoga, a podcast dedicated to helping you use yoga's ancient wisdom to unlock your life of radical happiness, connection and meaning right here, right now. I'm your host Eric Walrabenstein, and I'm glad you're here.
The truth is, desire can be used for both
Sometimes it works for good.
Like the desire to save the planet from climate change, for instance.
Or the desire to help those less fortunate than you are.
Or, even the desire connect with spirit or source or God.
But sometimes, quite often in fact, desire can also work for bad…
Like when desire causes us to engage in behaviors that ignore the needs of our health
or when it drives us to buy or spend in ways that create financial problems.
Or even when desire leads us down the path to actual addiction.
Yes, desire, unmanaged, it can be one of the most destructive forces on the planet.
But here’s the strange thing: as important of a role that desire plays in our lives, and our world, you’d think we’d sit up, pay attention, and really get a handle on exactly…
What desire actually is.
Where it gets its power.
How to harness it for good.
But that’s something that very few of us have done.
And that’s why, this month inside the BrightLife Yoga Collective, we’re exploring desire.
So, this week, we’re kicking things off with what desire is, and how it gets its power.
Let’s start with what exactly desire is.
In the most fundamental terms, desire, in all its forms, is a pattern of sensations felt in the body.
And that’s true for the mildest impulse all the way up to the most severe of cravings or urges. Desire is just a pattern of sensations—and more importantly, with no real power of its own.
So, if it has no power, why then can does it seem to have such immense influence over us?
Well, that goes back to Mother Nature’s design.
You see, from the beginning, Mother Nature, realized that if she wanted the human race to survive, she’d have to be able to get us to do certain things.
She’d have to get us to eat, She’d have to get us to mate, She’d have to get us to run away from danger. And on and on…
Otherwise, our next stop would be extinction.
So, she needed to create a way that would allow her to reliably control our behavior, without undue force, to get us to do the things that are biologically necessary for the species to survive.
And she came up with an ingenious device: An aversion to discomfort.
You see, Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, has baked into each one of us a deep and powerful aversion to discomfort. When we’re uncomfortable, we’ll do pretty much whatever it takes to get relief from that discomfort.
Why would she do that? Well, because then she could use discomfort, in the form of uncomfortable feelings, to get us to do what she wants. Which, when you look to your own life and see, is exactly what she does.
I mean, think about it, everything that Mother Nature wants you to do in order to stay alive is driven by uncomfortable feelings.
The uncomfortable feeling of hunger prompts you to eat
The uncomfortable feeling of thirst prompts you to drink
The uncomfortable feeling of loneliness prompts you to seek companionship
The uncomfortable feeling of fear prompts you to run away or fight
And on and on it goes…
It can all be summed up in three words: Discomfort Drives Action.
That means anytime we’re faced with significant uncomfortable feelings our *instinct* is to do whatever we need to do, to get rid of those feelings—and get relief.
And this means, that it’s the instinct, not the desire that has the real power. It’s just that the discomfort of desire happens to *use* our instinctual reaction for its own benefit.
So, you may be asking, what’s the practical takeaway here?
Does it really matter whether it’s the instinct or the desire that has the power?
In short, it does matter.
Because when we are able to see exactly how we’re being driven to act, via those simple patterns of uncomfortable feelings, we become empowered. Instead of being powerless victims of an indomitable monster called craving, we become able to, not just fight unhelpful desires, but outsmart them.
And, yes, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is true of desires and cravings and urges of all sizes and shapes—even those created by addiction.
How we do that will be the focus of our lessons and practices inside the BrightLife Yoga Collective this month—and I’ll be sharing some of that with you here.
As always, if you’ve found this helpful, please do me a favor and hit the like button. It will help more people interested in living happier, more empowered lives to find it.
And if these kinds of teachings are something you’d like more of in your life, I invite you to join us inside the BrightLife Yoga Collective for even deeper explorations of truth and happiness…together with yoga practices you can put to work on you mat, and in your life.
And, finally, these teachings are made possible solely by the generosity of listeners like you.
If you’d like to support my work, and get some of my best yoga and meditation practices in the bargain, head on over to my Patreon page to learn how you can help. It would mean the world to me.
Thanks for being here and I’ll see you in the next one. Until then, breathe deep, smile often, and remember, you’re amazing!