This morning, since I am no longer a locationally-bound hermit, I started a (free!) course at the Brahma Kumari centre on Positive Thinking.
I was really surprised how much this course has pressed my buttons, especially as I think of myself as a pretty tolerant non-button-pushed person.
The teacher lady spoke a lot about desire, and how desire is the root of all sadness and suffering – how desires trap us into being obsessional and ignoring all the good stuff.
Maybe because I am a witch, maybe because I am a bit of a messed-up feminst with women issues, but I’m really not very good at hearing that I shouldn’t have desires.
I asked the lady about it afterwards: “Do you mean, Fleecy Lady (she was wearing a white fleecey jumper, like all the other Brahma Kumari’s I’ve met – suspicious) that all desire must be subliminated? That all desire is suffering?”
She replied: “Not exactly – I think of it that there are regular desires that leave us longing and obsessing and wanting, and there are pure desires, like the desire for an end to world hunger.”
“So,” I reply, “Only selfless desires that “good” people have are allowed?” I’m thinking, I am not a noble person, definately not a “good” person. While I think it’s a great idea, I have never been personally comitted to desiring an end to world hunger other than in passing. I’m more concerned about rising CO2 levels in the oceans and being able to pay my rent next month. As I say this, I’m trying not to sound agressive (I know it’s an agressive sentence) because I don’t mean to be, but I’m not great when I feel that I’m being guided towards the persuit of somthing impossibly unlike me.
“Sort of – yes – not really” was her answer, or near enough. “How about for now you think about getting rid of all desire for a bit, and see if that works for you?”
In my head, there is good desire – you want stuff, but it feels good wanting it rather than desperate, and if it doesn’t happen you just accept it and are cool with it. Then there is dogdy desire, putting masses of effort into wanting and needing and focusing on how you don’t have something when you need it so bad, and when it doesn’t happen or you don’t get it it’s the stressiest crappest thing ever. That’s a very Abraham-Hickish way of looking at it, I know.
But I am going to do what the Brahma Kumari lady said, and try and keep an eye on where my wanting-energy is going and how it’s hanging.