A person always has to live with something. Live for the sake of something, have a goal, a cherished wish or a wonderful dream. And the majority of people live with just this – wishes, dreams and hopes for the future. Hope is the main narcotic of the mind, enabling it to perceive its situation not quite normally or even quite abnormally, and to believe that everything will sometime become better in some mysterious way. On the whole, people live differently in form, but by essentially similar things. One strives not to experience fear; another strives to possess everything on the earth, but the essence of the matter does not change from this. Both fears and desires are connected with the world, and the world is where they are realized.
The seeker at first also is moved by desire, and it is desire that became the source of energy for performing practices and changing something in one’s life. Of course, at the same time the pressure of other desires is present, and hence as much as the desire for God, Truth, emancipation or enlightenment become stronger than all the other strivings, so a person may invest more heavily in a spiritual search. Any person begins his search from the darkness of desires, and the goal of all seekers without exception consists essentially of attaining light – clarity, understanding, peace and inner freedom.
Even “spiritual” desires can contradict and oppose one another, if, for example, they have through their sources ideas extracted from various teachings. And of course, the fulfilling of worldly desires often enters into serious contradiction with the goals that a person wants to achieve in the spiritual realm. And the poor seeker inevitably must divide his desires into “good” and “bad,” battling some and trying to achieve the realization of others. The main problem connected with “spiritual” desires is that their realization requires a very long time, whereas many worldly desires may be realized right in the here and now.
Of course, it is possible to renounce the worldly in favor of the spiritual and on many ways, just such a decision is proposed. Even so, the seeker must store within himself rather a lot of energy which would have been spent if he had gone the way of satisfying desires. This energy cannot suddenly disperse without a trace; it will lay in the internal space of a person, creating obstacles and blocks in him. If work is not done with suppressed desires, it will be impossible to come to a state of completely cleansed interior space, and that means becoming completely conscious will not work, and the more or less serious impulse of the Grace of God will not have the slightest place to enter. In other words, refusal to work with suppressed desires (and fears also, what is more) closes the road for a person to serious achievements on the spiritual Path. In fact, it is possible to hope for a miracle – so to say, the Lord will grant me the impulse of Grace with His Will, and then I will immediately attain all spiritual and mystical heights. Hope, as I have already said, is the greatest narcotic, maintaining a person’s unconscious state.
That is why where it is suggested that people suppress their desires, they practically never attain God. They have not lived through what they must live through; they left inside themselves the seed of desire, even if so heavily suppressed that they themselves forgot about its existence. They left inside themselves a hidden striving for the world; desire which holds them on earth like the most heavy anchor. Thus, in some traditions, a person is proposed to at first obtain life experience, to realize his worldly needs, and only later, after their relative satiation, to turn to a spiritual search. An ordinary person lives with desires, and to hope that you are for some reason constructed differently is very stupid. Therefore, you must begin with desires, and the chief task of the seeker at this stage is work with them. And internal unity must become the result of such work, a situation in which remains only one main wish, and all the rest are either subordinate to it, or exhausted. Then the situation becomes balanced, and work with desires is possible without detriment to the achievement of your main goal.
With further development of desires and growth in awareness, the seeker comes to a vision of what moves him in fact – to awareness of his necessities. Confusion in the mind, which is present in those who do not deliberately work with it, does not allow for the separation of need from whim and habit; therefore questions of necessity are not recognized at all by many. Often, people cannot distinguish vitally important things from secondary things, because it seems to them that the need for the secondary things is even higher than for the main ones. This, too, is the consequence of suppression of desires which, constantly restrained, acquire particular force and blind a person; here, also, is the disruption of the system of valuations in modern society, where consumption is cultivated as the highest value and achievement.
The seeker – to the extent of his work with desires – begins to distinguish true necessities from imaginary ones. If he works correctly, then part of the desires formulated even before the start of his search have already disappeared, and he does not produce new ones, aiming all his nearly-received vital energy into the channel of his main desire, connected with spiritual transformation. Thus, step by step, he moves from desire to necessity which gradually begins to live. His vision is purified, and he himself is cleansed from all kinds of suppressed energies and may distinguish subtle nuances in his reactions. He begins to understand that the Lord responds to true necessity, and gradually necessity becomes what sustains him in life, and life in him.