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Relationship Advice

Desire and Giving

Eknath Easwaran:

The Buddha is sometimes quoted as saying that desire is suffering. A more accurate translation is that selfish desire is suffering – in fact, the source of all suffering. But desire itself is simply power, neither good nor bad.

Without the tremendous power of desire, there can be no progress on the spiritual path; there can be no progress anywhere. The whole secret of spiritual transformation is turning selfish desire into selfless desire, transforming personal passions into the overwhelming desire to attain life’s highest goal. This is not repression; it is transformation.

I would say, that it is best if your desire is to give. And the real trick here is to give selflessly. I read recently about true giving, which is the process of learning about what is needed, and trying to give that. So often, we give someone what we want to give. We give what we would want to have. True giving is more interesting. I think it is tricky for people in our culture because we tend to live our lives in peer groups. If everyone is mostly like us, where’s the mystery as to what we need to give? But ask a parent, and they can tell you its pretty obvious that your personal needs differ from those you love the most. You give children what they need to grow.

As we practice true giving, then we don’t have to be as concerned with our own selfish desires. We have friends, family, lovers, who want to know us enough to provide what is needed when it is needed.

And when we lack for these people, we start with ourselves.

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