The Union Path Podcast
"The Most Common Desire"
I talk a lot about wanting, I talk a lot about desire. These things seem to come up over and over and over again. For me, these things seem to come up over and over and over again in what I talk about, what I think about, what I think is important, what I think really matters, because that's the truth that I believe, wanting, desire matters. I believe it's critical. Actually, I believe one of the best ways we can know ourselves, one of the most enriching, invaluable ways we can really know who and what we actually are, is by knowing what we actually want, truly want, deep on the inside. And, of course, this takes myriad forms and any given day, any one of us can want a multitude of things, from the small to the big, from the now to the later, to the near term, to the long term. But the truth is, desire is an intimate part of our life. It's inescapable. We can't help it, we can't stop it. Desire is always happening. In my opinion, desire is the prerequisite, is the genesis, is the beginning, is the origin of growth, of change, which is life itself. Life is measured through growth and change. We measure our lives through growth and change, through what we experience, through what happens to us through what we do with that information, for how we change. When we think about our lives, when we think about time the time we spend on earth, the time we spend in our lives we measure that time through change. We apply meaning to change. And so, when it comes down to thinking about what do we really want? I would say there's one desire that is more common than any other, and that's the desire for love, that's the desire to feel love, that's the desire to express love, that's the desire to live love in our lives, to live a life we love. That ultimately, when we break it all down, we kind of get to the root of what we really want. I think that's it On one hand. That's all it is. On the other hand, that's everything. It's both big and small, it's specific and general, it's micro and macro. It's the thing and it's everything.
So when we think about our lives, when we think about what we really want, we really get down to the core of what we really want. We really want to love our life. That our best life is our most loved life. But unfortunately, so many of us experience such an absence of love in our life that nothing can make our soul more weary than the absence of love, than living a life where love just feels absent, feels like it's gone away, it feels like it's not happening. Maybe it even feels like it's not for us, it's for other people, it's for other people who have earned it, it's for other people who are lucky.
But in my opinion anyway, we can really enrich our life by coming to these kinds of fundamental conclusions, these kinds of big ideas of really honing in on, really zeroing in on what do we really want? In the easiest way, at least in my opinion, to identify this, to acknowledge this, is to figure out and to know what do we love? And then the next step how do we bring more of that into our life? How do we experience more of that? Because, like anything else, in order to be felt, love has to be experienced. It can't just be an idea, it can't just be a possibility, it has to actually happen, it has to actually be real. And one of the unfortunate things that we do, especially when times get hard, especially when times get scary, is we quit joy, we quit what we love because we have other things to do, we have other responsibilities, and sometimes this is absolutely true.
Sometimes there are things that need to be done that we may not necessarily love, may not even like, but just needs to be done. But typically when this happens, it happens over the short term, and the problem is when we develop these strategies as habits, when our go-to is to quit joy, when our go-to is to let go of what we actually want, because we are the ones who are choosing what we do, we are the ones who are choosing what we include in our life and especially when things like responsibility, practicality, expectations arise, joy can be one of the first things that we jettison. It can feel frivolous, it can feel optional. And again, sometimes this is true, sometimes this is the best thing we can possibly do, but it also isn't a very healthy and enriching long-term strategy. It definitely isn't the thing we should always do all the time, because, ultimately, our life is what we cultivate, our life is what we value and we get to choose. We get to choose what we prioritize, we get to choose what we pursue, we get to choose what we value and all too often, especially with this busy and hectic and complicated as so many of our lives can be, we can miss out on these fundamental wants.
We can let go of things that actually detract and diminish our experience of life. We can choose to be involved with and endure in situations and maintain situations that we don't actually want to be in. They don't really do anything for us. We can watch our lives get chiseled down and just get smaller and smaller and smaller, more grim, more bleak, because we ignore or eschew opportunities for joy. We can do things that we actually love, opportunities to express love to others, but we can reorient ourselves Again. We're the ones who choose. We're the ones who choose what we center our life around. We can re-center our life around what we actually want, around our core desire. By inhabiting and expressing that energy now we can practice joy. We can practice love by practicing appreciation, by practicing generosity, by practicing kindness, by practicing gratitude, and not only to others but ourselves as well.
Living life for the benefit of all involved, ourselves included. Not elevating and overvaluing others, but not elevating and overvaluing ourselves either, not diminishing either side, living in equality, living in unity between self and other, because if the most common want or the most common desire is love, then our creating that for others matches their desire as well, and vice versa, because when love is absent, when it feels like it's gone away. It changes us, it changes our life experience, for sure, but we can find ourselves changing as well. We can find ourselves getting harder, we can find ourselves closing down. We can find ourselves becoming more negative and pessimistic, more cynical, more focused on what isn't than what is, more focused on what we're not getting than what we already have, more focused on others' experiences and missing out on the full awareness and appreciation of our own that it's an ineffective strategy over the long term to quit joy.
There are unintended consequences. Our life becomes a reflection of our inner state and oftentimes, to create change in our life, to live a different life, to have a different life experience, it's our internal experience that must change first, that must shift first, that must reorient. And sometimes we become overly negative and overly pessimistic and feel just kind of off, just feel not right, just feel kind of bad a lot of the times because we're not actually treating ourselves very well. We're driving ourselves too hard, we're being too critical of ourselves, we're trying to do too much. We're trying to do too many things that don't really actually matter all that much to us, don't really make us feel good, we're including ourselves and maintaining and persisting in relationships that actually make us feel bad. We're choosing to do things that are net negative, that are a drain, that are a tax on our life, on our soul, that we come out of our life experience depleted because we're choosing to do things that are inherently depleting for us, because the thing about living a loved life, doing what we love, is it's the exact opposite. It's not depleting. Love is the soul's nutrition, but it's so easy for us to starve ourselves, it's so easy for us to go on diets in our life before we eliminate what we want, we eliminate what we enjoy, we eliminate what we love for other reasons.
I guess all I'm asking, all I'm advocating for, is awareness on how is this actually working? How is this actually impacting and affecting my life experience? Is this actually leading to the life I want? Am I doing a lot of things because I think they'll be good some day somehow? But in the meantime, I feel terrible when I find myself getting into patterns like this, when I'm trying to gain my honor through suffering or I'm trying to gain joy through misery. I try to bring my awareness and kind of cross check this, bring a little bit of critical thinking, critical awareness to how things actually are. And does this actually work? Is joy found in misery? Is honor found in suffering? Are these ideas actually true? Does this actually work? Or are these other people's ideas? What's actually true for me? What's actually real for me? How does my life actually work? Because I'm the one living it.
I'm the one who has the ability to have full awareness of my experience. I can't be fully aware of anyone else's experience. I don't know truly what's going on inside or outside anyone else, completely anyway, when I guess I'm just looking at things through my lens. I don't know really how anyone else truly feels about anything, because I can't feel that, I don't have access to those feelings. I don't know and I can't know, and so I do myself a favor, I do myself a service by really getting in touch with how I actually feel, how things actually are for me. But I build my own self-awareness which gives me much greater awareness that I can apply to my own life, because my own life is mine. It's not anyone else's. No one else is going to live it. I'm the one who has to live it and I'm the one who gets to experience it. Of course, our lives are lived in relation and interaction with countless others, but at its core, our lives are our own and we get to choose how we live them. We get to choose what we do and what we don't do. That's our freedom. And we get to choose what we orient around. We get to choose our own diet and thus we get to choose our own nutrition.
And it sounds kind of funny, it sounds kind of obvious, but sometimes the missing thing, the reason why we don't feel good, is because we can't feel good, because our bodies don't feel good. We really haven't been treating ourselves very well. We haven't really been showing ourselves a lot of kindness. We haven't really been showing ourselves a lot of nurture and care. We don't eat right, we don't sleep right, we do things that frustrate us and agitate us. We consume media that's upsetting. We involve ourselves in gossip, we involve ourselves in rumor, we criticize, we make fun of, we bully, we involve ourselves in negativity. And we get to experience that negativity as a felt sense, because we all know it. We all know when we're being a jerk, we all know when we're being unkind and we know how that feels. And, of course, none of us is perfect. We're all going to be a jerk and unkind Eventually, probably lots of times.
The point isn't perfection, the point is intention. The point is aligning our existence with purpose, doing things intentionally. And we can choose to intentionally value love and joy. We can choose to choose these things. We can choose to value these things. We can choose, if these things have been absent in our life, if we've let them go away, to invite them back in, to re-extend the welcome for joy in our life.
And I can start with just entertaining the idea. What do I want to do today? What would feel good, what would be enjoyable? Then ask ourselves well, how do I feel now? And if I feel kind of crummy, if I feel kind of off, is there anything I can do to make myself feel better, to make myself start from a baseline, more of feeling good than feeling bad, to make it so I don't have to climb such a tall ladder to get from feeling like garbage to feeling good. What if I could just start out feeling okay or feeling pretty good? That would be such a head start, that would be such a shortcut to feeling good. And then think about entertain. What do I really want? What do I really want today? What do I really want in the future? What do I really want my life to be like? What do I really want to do? How do I really want to interact in this world? What kind of relationships do I really want? What effect do I really want to have on other people?
That we lead ourselves to a loved life by acting in a loving way now, with all the opportunities that we have before us, letting go of our pessimism, letting go of our cynicism, letting go of our negativity, and just being kind because it feels good, just being grateful because it feels good, just being appreciative because it feels good, just spreading love and joy around us because it makes us feel good, for no other reason. We're not giving it a job, we're not trying to make it make us be something else, because we already are it. Love is at the core of our being. It already is who and what we really are. That we connect with ourselves most deeply and most fully when we're most deeply and fully in a loving state, when we're expressing it or when we're receiving it.
And I really believe it's that simple, that that's all we want, because I think, especially when we look out into our world and it seems like everything is so negative and it seems like if we go out in the world with kindness, we're just kind of a sucker or a Pollyanna, that we're overlooking the reality, the truth. But haven't you seen? Everything is terrible. Why are you so happy? We get to choose. We get to choose what we believe, and we are certainly absolutely positively free to believe that everything is terrible, or we can believe the opposite. It's up to us. Ultimately, it doesn't really make any difference to anyone else and for me anyway, I'd rather make the choice that feels the best. If it doesn't really matter, I might as well choose to feel good, I might as well choose to do good, I might as well choose to assume good, and of course I keep my awareness grounded in reality. Of course I know that terrible things exist. Of course I know that bad things happen.
It's not about that. It's not about some kind of spiritual bypass, of pretending things are different than they are. But it's also not about assuming things are different than they are, assuming things are more negative than they are, assuming things are worse than they are, because life tends to reflect our inner state. And when my inner state is positive, when I'm going out into the world with a loving attitude. It tends to be what I get back.
When I smile, other people smile. When I'm kind, other people are kind. When I'm generous, I get to experience other people's generosity. It just seems to work that way that in my experience that is demonstrably true and that there's kind of a funny belief that I've run across a few times that being kind, being generous, is somehow depleting, that if we give too much away, we won't have anything left for ourselves, or that we'll be taken advantage of. I don't think this is true. At the very least, this isn't absolutely true. Of course there's plenty of people that will take advantage of us, but it doesn't take that much awareness and discernment to be able to identify that.
And usually, when we get taken advantage of, we're the ones who are coming in need, we're the ones who are desperate to get something. We're the ones doing in want. That's a completely, it's a wholly different experience to give out of fullness, to give, not needing anything To give, not because we're going to get credit or kudos or congratulations or rewards. We're just doing it, just to do it. The act is enough. We don't need anything else, we don't need a witness, we don't need an audience, we don't need credit. We do the good because it feels good, and if we do enough that feels good, we have a good life. If we really don't think it's much more complicated than that, at least over the long term.
That kindness and generosity are not depleting Quite the opposite they are enriching, they are energizing, they are supplying, they are nourishing, and even more so when we do it from a place of fullness, when we do it because we're expressing our true nature, because this is what we are in the inside, when we give up our negativity, when we give up our needs of trying to get something from anyone or anything else, and we are, when we just be ourselves, our true selves, our real selves. We are kind, we are generous. That's what I believe in. At our core, we're all the same. Of course, lots of us have stacked layers upon layers and upon layers upon layers on top of our core, which completely refracts and distorts our expression, but at our core we're all the same.
We're all united in this idea that, ultimately, love is all we really want, because it's what we really are. It brings us home, it connects us with ourselves, it makes us feel full, it makes us feel like the fullest, truest, most real version of ourselves, because we're connected with ourselves at the deepest possible level. At our core, we've found our center and we live the best life through living through and with our full selves, who and what we really are. We live our best lives pursuing and endeavoring after and experiencing what we actually want, what we actually love. From a practical perspective, doing this is optional, but from a qualitative perspective, doing this is vital.
To live the quality of life we want, we need to love our life. To love our life, we need to do things we actually love. To live a loving life, we actually need to experience and express and receive love. That, to have the life we want, we actually have to do what we want and our life gets more and more rich, more and more nourishing, more and more meaningful when that want comes from the deepest possible place within us, from our core, from who and what we really are. That when we strip away our personality, when we strip away our material wants and needs, when we strip away our self-centeredness, when we strip away all of our base desires of greed and vanity, what's left, what's still there, that's what we really are. That's it when we get underneath the superficial, when we get underneath the material, when we get underneath the psychological, who are we at our core? What are we really? Do we know? Have we touched it? Have we experienced it? Have we been it?
And I'd make the argument anyway that we achieve this connection, we achieve this union with who and what we really are when we're living a loving and loved life. So if we don't know what we want, we can ask ourselves what do we love? And if love has been so absent in our life, we can start with well, what do we like? If we don't even know that, then we can start to be aware. We can pay attention to our energy. We can spot what we love through how we feel when we go into an experience. How did we feel before that experience versus? How do we feel during versus how do we feel after? What actually enriches me, what actually nourishes me, what actually makes me feel greater, what actually makes me feel better, what actually makes me feel joy, what actually makes me feel whole? That's it, because even if we don't know, we can always feel, and through our feeling, through our awareness of our own feeling, through our life experience of how things actually make us feel of what it does to our inner state. That's how we know, because so many of us pursue things that we think we like, or we think we love because we did or because we should or because we're supposed to. Love is self-evident. We either do or we don't. We can know it by how we feel.
The onus is on us to be honest about how we actually feel, to feel our lives fully, to feel after our lives fully, and be honest with how things actually are. Connect with the truth, because we're willing to know the truth. We want to know the truth of what do we really love, what do we really want? And then how do we orient our life around the pursuit, the inclusion of those things? How do we live life? Where we live in the community of love, where we get to receive it and give it, where we get to exist in this virtuous circle of doing what we want and giving other people what they want. That's amazing. That's awesome. It feels fantastic, and it feels this way for a reason.
Our feelings aren't here just to torture us or torment us or deceive us. Our feelings are real. Our feelings tell the truth. Now, sometimes, our feelings tell us the truth that we need to know something, we need to change. But at our core, when we connect with a feeling like love, we know it and we know it because it grounds us, it centers us. We know it's fullness because experientially it is a full experience and we're fully in love. We don't really need anything else.
A lot of times everything else just kind of goes by the wayside, but a lot of our wants and needs just can kind of seem to just melt away because we've connected with what we actually want and need. We've gotten to the mother want. We've gotten to the core want that our life is made complete through the expression and the receipt of love. We can choose to pursue it, we can choose to include it, we can choose to value it, we can choose to honor it. We can choose to let go of our fear. We can choose to let go of our pain and still acknowledging that fear and that pain is real. But we don't have to let it cause us to abandon ourselves, abandon what we really want, abandon who and what we really are.
We can move forward with and through our fear and our pain and still live fully. We don't have to let it stop us. We don't have to let it hold us back. We can feel our fear, we can feel our pain and we can heal and ameliorate both. We can let them show us what they need to show us. We can let them teach us what they need to teach us. We can let them deliver whatever message they have.
We can learn and grow and move on, but ultimately, a full life is lived fully and we connect with the greatest, most enriching fullness. We connect with love and we connect with what we love and we allow ourselves to express love in our life. We exist within the circuit. We have this transmission be both ways, sending and receiving, living in the confluence, the community of love, living life fully, living a loved life, but living a loving life.