Desire or No Desire?
“He attains peace, into whom all desires enter as waters enter the ocean, which filled from all sides, remains unaltered.” -Bhagavad Gita
The essence of Tantra is learning to use desire for your own benefit. Most yogic traditions ask you to become ascetic, to fast, to abstain from sex, to not be greedy for money and to suppress desires.
This is not entirely unreasonable as when people are attached to their desires they inevitably suffer. Unless you can control the environment and other people, you will inevitably suffer when your desire is out of reach. Since everything is impermanent every desire is also impermanent in its nature.
What Tantra says is, don’t deny your desires because they are a part of you. You can’t stop them. You can’t stop being hungry even if you fast and you can’t stop sexual needs even if you are abstinent. In fact, the more you repress yourself the more delusion and clinging you create in your subconscious.
Tantra says to allow desire but have awareness. When you are aware of your desires, through mindfulness and complete presence, something amazing happens. You begin to desire less and less on your own. You realize that every desire you have for something in your environment is actually an aspect of yourself that already exists within you in totality.
Then, you begin to cultivate an entirely new relationship to your desires. When things come you let them come, when things go you let them go. You begin to move in harmony with nature and realize that you don’t need the type of desire within the context of yearning and needing, but you have a desire that comes with detachment.
You don’t abstain from making love by force, but you accept when the opportunity is there or when it isn’t.
You don’t fast from food by force, but you enjoy when the food is there or when it isn’t.
You reach a state of neutrality and non duality which transcends desire.
Nothing in life has to be forced when you live with awareness and see that you are conducting the waking dream.