The Quality of Desire
. . . What happens if you do not condemn desire, do not judge it as being good or bad, but simply be aware of it? I wonder if you know what it means to be aware of something? Most of us are not aware because we have become so accustomed to condemning, judging, evaluating, identifying, choosing. Choice obviously prevents awareness because choice is always made as a result of conflict. To be aware when you enter a room, to see all the furniture, the carpet or its absence, and so judgment -- is very difficult. Have you ever tried to look at a person, a flower, at an idea, an emotion, without any choice, any judgment?
And if one does the same thing with desire, if one lives with it -- not denying it or saying, "What shall I do with this desire? It is so ugly, so rampant, so violent," not giving it a name, a symbol, not covering it with a word -- then, is it any longer the cause of turmoil? Is desire then something to be put away, destroyed? We want to destroy it because one desire tears against another, creating conflict, misery, and contradiction; and one can see how one tries to escape from this everlasting conflict. So can one be aware of the totality of desire? What I mean by totality is not just one desire or many desires, but the total quality of desire itself.
You see a beautiful sunset, a lovely tree, a river that has a wide, curving movement, or a beautiful face, and to look at it gives great pleasure, delight. What is wrong with that? It seems to me the confusion and the misery begin when that face, that river, that cloud, that mountain becomes a memory, and this memory then demands a greater continuity of pleasure; we want such things repeated. We all know this. I have had a certain pleasure, or you have had a certain delight in something, and we want it repeated. Whether it be sexual, artistic, intellectual, or something not quite of this character, we want it repeated-- and I think that is where pleasure begins to darken the mind and create values which are false, not actual.
What matters is to understand pleasure, not to try to get rid of it -- that makes no sense. Nobody can get rid of pleasure. But to understand the nature and the structure of pleasure is essential; because if life is only pleasure, and if that is what one wants, then with pleasure go the misery, the confusion, the illusions, the false values which we create, and therefore there is no clarity.
. . . I have to find out why desire has such potency in my life. It may be right or it may not be right. I have to find out. I see that. Desire arises, which is a reaction, which is a healthy, normal reaction; otherwise, I would be dead. I see a beautiful thing and I say, "By Jove, I want that." If I didn't I'd be dead. But in the constant pursuit of if there is pain. That's my problem -- there is pain as well as pleasure. I see a beautiful woman, and she is beautiful; it would be most absurd to say, "No, she's not." This is a fact. But what gives continuity to the pleasure? Obviously it is thought, thinking about it. . .
I think about it. It is no longer the direct relationship with the object, which is desire, but thought now increases that desire by thinking about it, by having images, pictures, ideas. . .
Thought comes in and says, "Please, you must have it; that's growth; that is important; that is not important; this is vital for your life; this is not vital for your life."
But I can look at it and have a desire, and that's the end of it, without interference of thought.