Quotes for
the Journey:

Desire



One who knows that enough is
enough will always have enough.

Lao-Tzu

   

Moderate desires constitute a character fitted to acquire all the good which the world can yield.  Those who have this character are prepared, in whatever situation they are, therewith to be content and have learned the science of being happy.       -Timothy Dwight

   

When one withdraws all desires as a tortoise withdraws its limbs, the the natural splendor of the world soon manifests itself.       -from the Mahabharata

   

Each desire. . . causes us to act and think in ways that result in yet even more desires and cravings.  Like a dog running after its own tail, cause and effect chase each other around in circles.  "But," you may be asking, "don't we need to desire things?"
   It is certainly true that not all desires are equal in terms of how they create suffering.  Some desires, of course, are simply a matter of preference that might not really make much of a difference.  Wanting to paint your house pink instead of brown will not harm anyone--except maybe the fashion police.
   And yes, there definitely are many good desires.  For example, without the desire for food we would not stay alive.  It is when our desire becomes an unquenchable craving or obsession, or causes us to do harm to ourselves or others, that it creates suffering and unhappiness.  If you have ever been hurt because you tied your happiness or well-being to a person, place, opinion, self-identity, behavior, or goal, then you have firsthand experience of desire.    -Donald Altman

  
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.     -Epicurus

We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants.  Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.       -Donald Horban
   
Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.       -Epictetus
   
There's nothing wrong with desire; in fact, it's inherently wonderful. Desire causes us to work harder to achieve goals. But we must be sure that the objects of our desire are attainable, and if they're not, then we must admit that to ourselves. Sometimes those things that we desire are the things that turn out to be the most harmful to us and others. If you desire something unattainable or inappropriate, admit that desire to yourself, but also acknowledge that acting to fulfill that desire would be very inappropriate and harmful. If you desire something appropriate and attainable, go for it--and good luck in getting it.      -Tom Walsh
   
Welcome everything that comes to you, but do not long for anything else.       -Andre Gide
    
Every time you have a desire, in a certain sense you have a goal, something you would like to be, do, or have.  Some desires are merely passing fancies, but others stay with us and go deeper.  Our desires and our goals give us direction and focus.  They help point us down our path of action in our life.      -Shakti Gawain
   
It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most people live only for the gratification of it.  The beginning of reform is not so much to equalize property as to train the noble sort of natures not to desire more, and to prevent the lower from getting more.     -Aristotle
   
If one gives way to all one's desires, or panders to them, there will be no inner struggle in that person, no friction, no fire.  But if, for the sake of attaining a definite aim, one struggles with desires that hinder him or her, that person will then create a fire which will gradually transform his or her inner world into a single whole.      -P.D. Ouspensky
  

   
Understand desire, and you understand happiness and unhappiness.  If desire is the fuel, intention is the engine.  Intention is the strength of purpose and will that powers you up past the steep inclines and keeps you chugging along over the bogs.  Without intention to utilize your desire, the desire will pool in your mind, dormant like the gas in the tank of a car that sits idle in a garage.  And unless you periodically fuel your intention with desire, you'll sputter to a stop despite the best intentions.  The unabating desire for things of this world--money, sex, fame, name, people, beauty, bodies--with all their particular insistent requirements, keeps us revved up, falsely advertises the destination "Happiness," and keeps us cruising down those roads.  But when and if we ever arrive, we're never there.  At least not for long.     -Michael Goddart
  
There are many objects of desire, and therefore many desires.  Some are born with us, hunger, yearning, and pride of place, and some are the foolishness of the world, such as the desire to eat off silver plates.  Desire is a wild horse to be tamed.  Virtue is a habit long continued.  The taming of desire is like the training of the athlete.  Discipline is not the restraint but the use of energy. . . . When I forbid myself what I may have, no person is going to tempt me with what is truly forbidden.       -Guy Davenport
   
As you grow older you will find that your desires are never really fulfilled.  In fulfillment there is always the shadow of frustration, and in your heart there is not a song but a cry.  The desire to become--to become a great man or woman, a great saint, a great this or that--has no end and therefore no fulfillment; its demand is ever for the "more," and such desire always breeds agony, misery, wars.  But when one is free of all desire to become, there is a state of being whose action is totally different.  It is.  That which is has no time.  It does not think in terms of fulfillment.  Its very being is in its fulfillment.      -J. Krishnamurti
   

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Desiring another person is perhaps the most risky endeavor of all.  As soon as you want somebody--really want him or her--it is as though you have taken a surgical needle and sutured your happiness to the skin of that person, so that any separation will now cause a lacerating injury.     -Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
  
There are two tragedies in life.  One is to lose your heart's desire.  The other is to gain it.     -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
  
The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing--desire.     -Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark
  
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks
for another day of loving;
To rest at noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart
and a song of praise on your lips.

Kahlil Gibran
  
  
Never confuse desire with vision.  Desire has to do with what we want.  Vision has to do with what we need.     -Joan Chittister, Seeing with Our Souls
  
If I want to free myself from endless cycles of struggling with temptation, I need to keep rediscovering that the pain of the struggle is greater than the pain of the desire.  If I develop the habit of restraining myself, I'll enjoy the relief of feeling the desires pass, and I'll remember that desires are not the problem.  Feeling pushed around by them is.  I'll continue to have desires, of course, because I'm alive, but they'll be more modest in their demands.     -Sylvia Boorstein
  
One of the teachings of Eastern religions is that our biggest problem is desire.  Sadness comes from the disappointments of unmet desires.
   Eastern philosophers say the problem is having the desires in the first place.  They suggest we put our energy into eliminating expectations rather than satisfying them.
   Somewhere within each of us is a balance point between expectation and satisfaction.
   What are your expectations?  Trace where they came from.  Ask yourself why you have them and what is in them for you.  Are these desires built on your needs or someone else's?
   People rarely question their expectations.  Instead, they question their personal adequacy.  Evaluate what truly brings you satisfaction and peace and let the rest go.     -Jennifer James, Success Is the Quality of Your Journey
  
Never, never underestimate the power of desire.  If you want to live badly enough, you can live.  The great question, at least for me, was:  How do I decide I want to live?     -Marya Hornbacher, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  

    

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