Is Desire a Bad Thing? 3 Steps to Deal with Desire in a Spiritual Way

I only ask because Buddhism, which I agree with spiritually and philosophically on certain tenets, says that yes, desire or wanting causes suffering so it is to be avoided.

I understand that Buddhism is actually renouncing craving and being attached to forms of this world that are not permanent, which leads to suffering. But that leads me to ask if desire in every form is wrong. 

Of course, there's greed and then there's desire.

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Greed is having enough and taking more than your share. Greed is saying I have what I need, and maybe even what I want, but I'm not going to share it. And I want more always. I can never have enough. 

Greed comes from a place of fear, a place of lack. It is a dysfunction of the human mind. And it is dangerous. Because greed will step on top of anyone to have more.  

But when it comes to desire? Where would we be if Einstein didn't desire or want to learn about physics? Where would we be if the millions of artworks and inventions were not desired into their physical forms? Where would humankind be if we did not desire each other?

Desire paints and colors and enriches and propels this world. So it goes that urges are not evil until they are. 

So whether you want more money, more sex, more beauty, more life, more people, more fun - whatever it is, your desire is not sinful. It is not un-spiritual. It is more like a signpost telling you where to go. It is telling you what you are capable of. 

3 Steps to Dealing with Your Desire

1. Know the source of your desire:

This determines its righteousness.

And there are but two sources for desires: love or fear.

When it comes from fear, it will always be a dysfunctional desire. 

Why do you want it? (For simplicity purposes, we will call our desires "it"). What could it possibly do for you? What is it for? Is it real? What will be the results of this desire? The answers to these questions (true and deep answers) will determine where it comes from. 

When it comes from a place of fullness, this means that the desire comes from within. Because you have an unlimited source of love within, it is this love that is guiding the desire. It is love that is taking you where you need to go to give the gifts you are meant to give. 

Some desires are actually the power of love telling you what talents and abilities you currently possess. This is functional desire. This is righteous desire. 

We know the desire comes from a place of fullness or love within when it feels good. Depending on the level of your awareness, you will notice a higher vibration to the wanting. You smile, you feel good, you feel a sense of enthusiasm on some level when you think about your desire and there is no desperation involved (because it's already inside you). 

It is just something inside you that needs to be freed, in other words. Waiting on the right circumstances to come forward. 

For example, like most of the other 7 billion people on this planet, I desire more money. Is this a bad thing? Is this greed because we already have money? Am I less spiritual or conscious because of this?

I've come to the conclusion that no, this desire something wanting to come forward; it is a motivation to share my gifts, and I've noticed that latent in this desire is another desire to give of the money I make. I want to feel the freedom of being abundantly generous. I also want to feel freedom in general. 

And loving generosity is a quality, THE quality of the Spirit. Freedom is also a quality of Spirit. No, that desire is a functional desire, and the source of that desire is love. Love for me, love for my family, love for my community and the world.

How do we know when the desire is from fear? 

It is quite simply a lower vibration. There is unease and perhaps, if you're open to feeling it, a little guilt involved. This desire comes from outside of you. Its source emotion is fear. Fear of not fitting in, fear of society's standards, fear of dying, fear of not being good enough. 

Most often, this is something the mind has taken from the appearances of the outside world and through a dysfunction of the mind, has made a new desire from this fearful perception of the world. 

For instance, I am pretty vain. I always have been a little vain. And lately, I've been thinking about some beauty treatments that I want. But my question to myself is this: is this based on love for myself? Or am I fearful of becoming irrelevant to society? Because society places such favoritism on being young and beautiful. 

Since I have questioned this stuff and have felt a little guilt around what I want - I know that it's a dysfunctional desire. 

I have to try to get to a good place about this desire if it really is for me. But I'll keep looking at it and staring it down in the meantime. 

2. Desire what you have.

No you don't have to forget about the things you want, but you should be grateful for the things you have.

There's no power in the world like love and in my opinion, gratitude is one of the foremost expressions of love.

Gratitude can bring the tightest connection with the Source of it all: the generosity of Spirit. 

We should never come to a place where we are blinded to everything else in our lives but the vision of our desires. Certainly, it is gratitude that is the great multiplier. Loving what you have will bring more of what you love. 

It is just resonant truth that you don't deserve the good things coming for you if you don't enjoy or even see what you already have. It is possible to desire what you have. It is the noblest of desires. See for yourself. 

It is surely a sad thing to have everything and not know it. It is the stuff of tragedies. And we all have everything we need, even if you don't think you do. You do. Just look around.

I created something to develop a practice of gratitude and ended up turning it into a challenge for my online community:

Free 30-Day Beautiful Gratitude Challenge:

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This challenge, if you implement the practices and truly participate in it, will change the way you experience your life. 


And then it will transform your life in the most gorgeous ways. You will feel it in every area of your life.


  • This challenge is built so that you spend 15-20 minutes tops every day on the fun stuff I have created in this free email course. The rest of the goodness just seeps into your everyday life.


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     3. Roll in the feeling and forward momentum of your desire.

    It's all about the climb, said Miley Cyrus. And by joe, she was right. 

    The first action is to study where your desire comes from.

    When it's from the right place, then you must accept the call of your desire. Accept it and move forward. Let the feeling of having or being this desire shoot you forward. Even if it's money, even if it's losing weight. Even if it seems like it might be a shallow desire. 

    Once you accept this want, your job now is to enjoy it as the gift that it is. And then feel the love of it. Move forward with that love.

    When you do anything with love, you add to the progression and awakening of the world. And that is such a beautiful thing to be a part of. You must go for it. You must imagine and dream and enjoy the desire of it. 

    Be grateful for your desire. Lots of times, people don't understand why they are unhappy after they get what they want. This is because the joy is in the doing and wanting and creating and running and climbing. 

    The joy is the work that desire brings, even the suspense of whether they will be strong enough to get it. This is where the fun is. 

    Read The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris GuillebeauAfter reading that book, there's no way that you'd be able to tell me desire is a bad thing. 

    Enjoy your desire - not the object of it but the feeling of the actual urge. It is a direct communication and nudge from Spirit. 

    Life is built upon desires. Desires drive the world. The desire to love and be loved reigns queen over all others. Serve that one first. 

    Comment below if you have any thoughts, questions, Buddhist stuff to say, anything at all!

    Related: How to Change the Quality of Your Life for Good: 7 Best Ways to Choose Love over Fear [+ free Love vs. Fear Cheat Sheet]

    Please share with the buttons below! I'd be forever grateful for you (the desire to have your post shared is not a bad one by the way).