May 31, 2012 § 12 Comments
“When there is no desire, all things are at peace.” Tao te Ching, Chapter 37
The Tao tells us, again and again, that we must lose all desire.
Yet I cannot imagine a life without what we think of as desire, a life without passion. The longing, the feel of the passionate embrace, the electricity of another’s presence. Also the passion for art, for moments of intense experience, for life itself. To lose all sense of desire and passion would be to feel numb and adrift. It is for me an unimaginable form of existence.
And so how can I reconcile the Tao teaching with the indispensability of passion in my life?
The “desire” that the Tao would have us lose is the desire for some thing or some outcome. Simply wanting sex or more money is this sort of desire. This desire is present when we seduce another or when we feel “driven” to achieve some outcome. It is this kind of dualistic thought and scheming that the Tao counsels us to set aside.
When we feel the passion that is not wrapped up in outcome, we are fully present and engaged, simply existing in our passionate moment. We may be in the arms of another, or standing before a transcendent work of art, or simply feeling the sting of the salty air whipping across the sand. In such a moment, we lose all sense of separation, no time exists but that moment, we seek nothing beyond what is right there, right then. This is what we live to feel- the passion we must never lose.