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Blog Post

The Deeper Desire

Published June, 2024

The Call to Practice

As we approach practice, it is key to continually return to the deeper desire: to remember, and through remembering touch the moment when we knew we had been called. Eros, creativity, and the Mystery do not respond well to demands. Duty, obligation, and the forcing of oneself that often denotes a rigorous practice are approaches that simply do not work in this realm. We will find ourselves in a space devoid of meaning going through the motions, locked out of the Mystery, and at best, chalking up time. We are practicing in order to touch, interact with, and be filled by Eros, remembering that what activates Eros and opens her door is desire. Integrity, respect, and following rules matter little to Eros. Not because Eros lacks a system of order or is messy or chaotic. Quite the contrary. Integrity, respect, and rule-following are simply what we default to when we are not guided by something deeper. Those are imperatives that must be maintained by the will, the notion being that without them we would become slothful or cause harm. The problem with this reasoning is that when our limited rational faculty is driving, we will always be “performing” things we do not want to do, even when they are beneficial. Desire, on the other hand—a power we all share just as we all share human suffering—asks us to live from a deeper drive. Desire wants more for us than a life where we merely follow orders and comply with a particular idea of how to conduct ourselves. Instead, we are invited into a level of Erotic adulthood where we must learn experientially by trying things out and facing consequences. Should we accept, we come to know the deeper truths for ourselves. We live them out and are fortified with the experiential “why” of higher-order truths, rather than being forced to rely on what an external authority would tell us so that we are absolved of the responsibility of our own knowing. More importantly, we must prove ourselves willing to hold the weight of our desire. We want intimacy with life, and this is the key.

Embracing Desire

We may act as though it is not our desire to enter into this relationship and that we are merely in servitude, going through the motions in order to satisfy some demand or burden that has been placed upon us in a dramatic display of martyrdom. The practice of Eros is extraordinarily challenging, demanding, and complex, but in admitting our desire to take on this endeavor, we forego our parent/child relationship with practice. We are admitting we do it for ourselves simply because we want to. The difficulty is precisely what makes it great. The fact that it is so black-and-white in how it works is what moves us to our edge. If we give everything, Eros arrives. If we do not give everything, we can get everything except the one thing we are there for.

The Choice of Eros

Eros is entirely impersonal amid all of our mental back doors, reservations, holdouts, stratagems, and anything-but-thats. We are welcome to hold on to whatever we are protecting. There is no external dogma or discipline to say we cannot have the things we would hold out for. However, Eros is very clear: “Those, or Eros.” If we put Eros first, those things may or may not come. If we put those things first, Eros will not come. And while we may even have those things, we will not find the gratification in them that only Eros can bestow. Eros drives a hard bargain, but in the long run, it is a relief to have such incredibly clear instructions and feedback. Eros is not a middle path but a path of dynamic tension born between extremes. Eros is in no way about moderation bell-curve spirituality. Extremes are not excluded here. Eros holds that no “truth” is self-evident. Instead, all truth is earned through experience: the interaction, the working with, the coming to know life on its terms. “Integrity”-based truths are empty; they are ideas devoid of the content of experience. They are a way to avoid trouble, not a way to know life.

The Illusion of Safety

We can maintain a safe distance from an objective relationship with life when we merely offer it respectful distance or dutiful response. Eros says this is not enough and will leave us to our safety and intellectual understanding. We will be left with a formula (not creativity), propriety (not relationship), and discipline (not practice). We will not have practice because what we are practicing is devoid of this intimacy with life, with its extremes and intensities. It is an experience of humility to recognize we must show up on life’s terms, not try to have it show up on ours. These performances of integrity, discipline, and respect disguise the fact we are not giving Eros the one thing it wants: us. And until we do, we can spend our lives in what we may call practice and never touch the instrument. We may be able to intellectually describe and even instruct others on practice and never actually touch it. We might fool many, but we will always know.

The Power of Desire

So we return to the only force that can melt us down enough to be moved in practice: desire. We allow ourselves to feel, to admit how we yearn to touch, to know, to be changed by contact with Eros, with life. Rather than dragging ourselves to practice with a self-congratulatory martyrdom, we let desire draw us through our resistance into the only place we want to be. We do not perform being good and kind and generous. We do not “set boundaries” and defend. We instead allow this force to draw forth our goodness, to so finely tune our senses in order to detect the perfect resonance and find the boundary that naturally exists. We have no need for discipline when we admit we want to feel good, and that this desire is the vehicle that will drive us there. Discipline is extra, but desire will forge us into joyous rigor. What we discover is that desire wants more than any human standard could ever ask of us in terms of morality. Morality is far too low a bar. Desire wants a generosity of love and attention from us, an openness and availability, a sensitivity and response, a natural expression of genuine care. It trains us to grow toward these behaviors, positively reinforcing us through greater access to Eros when we exhibit them. There is no cheating desire. Any attempt to pass off performative behaviors as the real thing interrupts the feedback loop. Desire desires good, hard work, hyper-focus, and the most exquisite care of not just other human beings, not just of all living forms, but of all things. It desires not the checklist of integrity but the clarity of congruency. It wants us to work life with our own hands.

The Essence of Practice

A practice left in the hands of desire will work us out harder than any finite discipline ever could. And we will not be left with the consolation prize of self-respect but with the gratitude that we have been liberated from the limitations of mere self. To truly begin practice, one admission is required: that we want this. We want it bad. We want to dive in and give ourselves over. Until we do, we are just biding time. We may as well do it now. Or if we can, we should do everything in our power to leave the path of Eros. Anything in between is just being caught in the breakers.

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