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Devotion and Desire: Day 4

Let me speak to you of Devotion and Desire – a self-imposed challenge for 21 days.

This day four of 21 in a row.  Each day of these 21, I get up at 7:00am and meditate.  Vipassana-Buddhist-mindfulness-watching-the-breath style, with some of my own Pleasure Expansion breath circulation thrown in from time to time.  Then a sensual practice, which I’ve coined the Pleasure Expansion Technique.  Then exercise – dance, yoga, the gym, or a walk up the crazy hill I live at the base of here in the beautiful, hill-rich city of San Francisco.  Also, no refined sugar and no white flour products, and generally a vibrant diet made mostly by the hands of me or my fiancee.  And the most important yet least  tangible element of it is doing each moment with pleasure and love; being pleasure and love.  How I’m being in each moment is just as important as what I’m working on or creating.  In fact, the two can’t be separated.

That’s the challenge.  Mindfulness. Pleasure. Desire. All senses alive. Love.

First of all, why cultivate Desire?  And second of all, why capitalize Desire, like you would a deity, a proper noun or an esteemed elder? Just so we know what we are talking about here, Desire is defined as a strong feeling of wanting to have something or  for something to happen; it’s also a strong sexual feeling or appetite.  It’s what we want that we don’t have yet, it’s connected to our sexual, creative energies.

Much of Buddhism says the key to liberation lies in our cessation of Desire, and here I am cultivating it.  Rebel meditator! I take a bit of issue with how this important point of Buddhism is interpreted.  To be alive is to Desire, it is to want what we don’t yet have:  our next breath, food to sustain us, to give and receive love, our next creative gift to the world.  To live and to grow is to Desire.  And we are all created from sexual energy; just like our very bodies are made up of the food we’ve eaten over our lifetime, each of us were created from sex, created with sexual energy. Sex is the most potent, creative life force there is.  Without it, we wouldn’t have been made, and without it, we have no urge to make and remake – not only babies, but the rest of our work, gifts, creative endeavors, offerings, etc.

You know that Law of Attraction stuff?  Well, Desire is the first step.  What do you want? What calls to your heart? What do you long for?  Without cultivating our heart’s longing, we are cut off from step one of this pretty potent force of creation.  (yep, there are 3 other steps to the Law of Attraction, but I’ll have to get to them later, since that’s not what this blog post is about… a little teasing never hurt anyone.)  But the point is, if we are alive, we need to Desire to keep on living and growing.

The key here, is that you are cultivating your Desire from a place of already being full, rather than from a place of lack or emptiness.  The mantra is like this: things are good, and we want more and better and higher; rather than: things suck and I want something to make it better.  The latter never works so well.

Desire goes hand in hand with Pleasure, two magical forces, greatly misunderstood by the cultures most of us swim in.  OK, some of us have created micro-cultures and sub-cultures that are Pro-Pleasure and that go against the grain of our larger cultures.  But we still feel it in the air, watch it in movies, see it on billboards and in magazines, hear it around us and on the radio, etc – Pleasure is for later, after you’ve worked enough.  Pleasure is amoral and will lead you to ruin.  Pleasure, you don’t deserve it.

But Pleasure my friends, is a directive and corrective force. I’m not talking about getting carried away in hedonistic bliss to the detriment of other people or things.  It is possible to be in our Pleasure and still be caring, considerate and responsible.  Cultivating mindfulness and awareness (read: meditation) helps a lot. Pleasure is spoken as a YES through the body, and boy, to we need to know when we mean YES and when we mean NO.  Pleasure is meeting the moment as it comes, not wishing it to be other than it is.  Pleasure is following the urge of our animal body, whose instincts are intact, like a plant leans toward the sunshine.

And what I also know is that we can’t separate the process from the product. Who I am BEING while I am writing this blog post can’t be separated from the blog post you are reading.  When I’m full of love, enjoyment and pleasure while I’m writing this, you’ll feel it.  My mojo gets in there, like it or not.

I’m working to step out of my own madness around working hard and suffering to get through, to be able to produce something (like a course or a blog post or a meal) in record time.  I suffer while doing it, I am tight, uptight, hard, brittle and worried while doing it.  My mojo gets in there, like it or not.

So, today, as with each of these 21, my work shall be imbued with a slightly quieter mind, all my sensual senses on line, an energized body, a pleasured body and a heart alive with Desire and Love.

Devotion?  Well, doing what I said I would do, whether or not I feel like it, day after 21 days, is a form of cultivating Devotion.  You bet your booty.  Devotion to my word, Devotion to loving even in the HARD spots, Devotion to my body, to what makes it most alive and most able to live and love well.

And when the 21 days are up?  I’ll let you know then – and a lot more about how it’s going along the way – but I’ll probably follow the advice of my great friend, Todd, from Orgeon: “Everything in moderation; moderation in moderation.”
Want to join me? What’s your version of this challenge?  Just want to expound on Desire, Pleasure or Devotion?  I look forward to your comments below!

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