Hello dear readers! I’m emerging slowly from the cocoon of my extended sabbatical, during which I took a deep dive into the rewriting of a book I’ve been working on for quite some time. Its working title is, What You Want Wants You: Saying YES to Desire as a Path of Awakening, and here is the first chapter. It’s longer than a typical blog post, but I hope you’ll read and enjoy it.
Bow to Your Selfish Desires
It is the fate of every pure desire to be realized.
At the age of thirty, shortly after my unexpected divorce—and equally unexpected realization that I might have chosen a career that didn’t suit me at all—I attended my first holistic expo. I was there at the irresistible urging of a dear friend who had secretly ventured into the murky and dubious territory known as “New Age.” Its keynote speaker was an author whose understanding of life was far different than what I’d been taught—and far more appealing.
When she walked on stage I was transfixed. Never had I experienced in someone such a palpable, peaceful…presence. At that time, it was an experience without a label. All I knew was that she radiated calmness, kindness and wisdom, and I could feel it. I stood completely still, marveling at how palpable the feeling was.
And then, suddenly, I experienced an unexpected shift into an other-worldly dimension of expanded clarity. For one timeless moment, as I gazed at her and literally felt the energy of her presence, I knew with absolute certainty that I, too, was an author and a teacher. A clear and present desire was birthed within me to become what, in that paradoxical moment, I knew I already was.
As I shifted back into normal consciousness, the clarity of knowing I’d so powerfully experienced was muted. I understood only that something significant had happened. What I didn’t yet know was that the fervent longing to write and teach had come back through the dimensional shift with me.
I was a working as a certified public accountant at the time, and my analytical brain dismissed my newfound desire immediately; it was ridiculously improbable and completely out of line with the life I had planned for myself. Yet as hard as I tried to ignore or suppress it, it would not be ignored or suppressed. It kept nudging me to make different choices and explore different perspectives about life.
Those nudges eventually led to my transformation from corporate climber to fitness instructor to energy healer to transformational teacher, author, and personal mentor. Along the way I have developed a completely different understanding of who we are and why we’re here than I had at the start of the journey, one that keeps deepening and expanding. Yet at its core is something I found early in my journey of self-discovery—a sparkling revelation that ignited within me a resonant knowing and unfamiliar passion that changed the trajectory of my search.
This is the jewel I discovered:
The One desires to know itself in, through and as the many, giving rise to this Universe and everything in it.
This life-altering perspective that we are each individualized expressions of the same source, which I now refer to as One Source and I recognize as Love, dovetails beautifully with a complementary perspective that resonates strongly with me. Each of us has a Divine spark within that animates our very being, and the path of enlightenment is a journey of waking up to that glorious truth.
One perspective reveals the passion of the One Source to express itself through the many. The other reveals the passion of the many to know and live the truth of their Oneness—their divinity.
Together, they tell us that our uniqueness as individuals is a direct consequence of the Divine desiring to express itself through all of us, and that the embrace of our personal desires not only leads to our greatest personal fulfillment, it fulfills the desires of the One Source from which we come.
Imagine…One Source wants passionately to experience its countless brilliant aspects through and as each of us, and that wanting—that desire—is the very impulse of creation. It is the impulse of Love to express itself, and the movement of Love into form is Life.
In other words, we exist because of desire.
As individual extensions of Source, what we genuinely want is what One Source wants to create and experience through each of us. Can you feel the enormity of that? What you genuinely want is what Source wants. It is what Love wants.
Your pure desires pulsate with Life itself. They are always seeking expression, which is what generates the impulse to create. Desire is sacred and vital to Life itself, and it has a life of its own that wants to express itself through you.
What you want, wants you.
The Generosity of Being Selfish
As you consider desire from this perspective, it becomes apparent that the nature of desire is expansive and life-giving. Desire is the force that moves the Love of One Source into action, into Life. It is inherently and eternally generous, and it is the means through which One Source experiences its myriad qualities such as joy, harmony, beauty, abundance, balance, strength, grace, elegance, focus, organization, simplicity, artistry, precision, complexity, delight, and countless others.
Our individual desires to create things and experiences are the specific and diverse avenues through which One Source experiences those general attributes, which means that honoring our individual desires contributes to the ongoing expansion of the universe. Your personal desires, and mine, are literally multiplying One Source’s expression and experience of itself.
Can you sense the profound significance of that? Your personal desires matter.
Yet many of us have been taught that personal desires are selfish or at least subservient to the needs of the Whole. Our underlying unity is often interpreted to mean that we are more alike than we are different and that we all fundamentally want—or should want—the same things.
I see things very differently.
I understand that, as expressions of One Source, at our core we all want to experience the glorious qualities of that One Source. Who doesn’t want to experience vibrant health, harmony, creativity, beauty, abundance, or any number of those countless Source qualities? Yet my unique notion of beauty may be vastly different than yours, or I may be drawn to a life of simplicity while you are called to explore the richness of complexity.
And that’s the whole point: we are not all supposed to want the same thing. We are here to bring our unique expressions of One Source qualities to life. It is through our infinitely diverse individuality that the One Source continues to expand. This is the magnificent yet mystifying paradox of our existence. We are One in essence, yet many in expression.
Exploring the Paradox
There is growing awareness across all fields of learning of our connectedness with each other and with our planet. In companion with that growing awareness is a common belief that our connectedness is more important than our individuality and that to preserve it, we must in some way sacrifice or otherwise tone down our individuality, which often translates into toning down our individual desires. Many are forecasting imminent destruction if we don’t all agree on how to move forward in service of the whole.
It is powerfully and poignantly true that we are all connected with each other and with our planet, and that our ongoing growth and evolution are tied to an ever-deepening understanding of this truth. Yet in recognizing our commonality, it’s easy to lose sight of the value and purpose of our individuality.
This is because we often confuse our interconnectedness with our underlying unity, assuming them to be two expressions that mean the same thing when in fact, they do not. This misunderstanding can lead us to false conclusions about the nature of desire and our relationship with it.
Let’s go back to the paradox of our existence: we are one in essence, yet many in expression. One Source desires to know and express itself through and as the many. The medium of this expression—the creative medium of One Source, which is the vehicle of our interconnectedness—is energy. We are, as is everything in the Universe, vibrational in nature.
The properties of energy are such that, fundamentally, we are neither solid nor separate. We are patterns and fields of energy, translated by our senses into what we perceive as distinct physical beings with distinct physical parts. And unknown to many people, the nonphysical, experiential aspects of who we are—our thoughts, feelings, memories, beliefs, assumptions, perspectives, etc. —are also energetic in nature.
These nonphysical aspects of our experience are what I refer to as our consciousness. The energy of our consciousness is very real, although not generally perceivable through our physical senses. Utilizing more subtle sensory perception, clairvoyants, shamans, and mystics throughout the centuries have seen or sensed this energy, which may have been referred to as soul or spirit or aura. I refer to it as our personal energy field, or personal consciousness.
Because of the various properties of energy—or vibration—our individual energy fields are not separate, although they are distinct. Their frequencies interact with each other through attraction and resonance to form an aggregate energy field. This is what is known as mass or collective consciousness, and because of it we are connected not only through our economic, ecological, social, and cultural systems, we are connected at a more profound and formative level through our consciousness.
Paradoxically, we are also individuals, each of whom has free will. We are distinct centers of awareness and perception, with the creative ability of One Source to direct the creative medium of Source, which is energy, in ways that reflect our uniqueness. We effectively have control over our own personal energy fields, allowing Source to experience itself in countless diverse ways through our free will choices.
Singular Essence vs. A Collective of Multiple Expressions
Many people believe that the interconnectedness of our individual energy fields, which combine to form a single collective energy field, defines our unity. Yet there is a vast difference between the underlying unity or oneness of Source, from which all of life comes, and the surface aggregation of our individual human energy fields, or consciousness, into a collective consciousness.
To help illustrate this vital difference, imagine that each of us is a differently colored and uniquely pulsating light. The radiance of our individual lights is powered by the same perfectly functioning energy source, of which there is an infinite supply.
Imagine further that each of us gets to choose the degree to which that powerful energy flows through us. The smaller the degree, the dimmer our light becomes. When all lights are fully open to the flow of this energy source, the resulting kaleidoscope of light is a marvel of beauty, complexity and artistry. To the degree that some lights do not fully allow this source energy to flow, the kaleidoscope appears to be distorted, unbalanced or broken.
Although this image is a highly simplified one, I offer it to distinguish between the unity or oneness of the underlying energy source and the aggregate of individual lights tapping into that source, which form a single visual tapestry. The underlying energy source in this example represents the One Source of which each of us is an individual expression, and the observable kaleidoscope of light represents the collective consciousness of humanity.
What is vital to understand here is that our unity—our common source—is a given, a constant, an unchanging reality. There is nothing we must do or even can do to preserve this unity, because it can never be broken. It simply is, and the energy and substance of that One Source is available to us all. The essence of this One Source is Love, the ultimate reality, and from it the pure desire for self-expression emerges.
While we need not, and cannot, do anything to preserve the Oneness of Source, the incredible opportunity we have as individuals is to tap into it: to recognize its power and creatively use that power for our own self-expression, each in our own way and at our own pace. This is the essence of free will—the freedom of choice.
Our freedom of choice is so complete that we can choose thoughts and actions which may, or may not, be in harmony with One Source. Referring back to the lighted kaleidoscope metaphor, we can choose not to allow the source energy to flow, or to do so sometimes but not all the time. And so, the collective consciousness of humanity, which is an aggregate of our interconnected personal energy fields, reflects the vagaries of our individual perspectives. It is ever-changing, in contrast with the changeless essence of our One Source.
The only way the aggregate of human consciousness can change is through changes made by each of us individually, because free will exists at the level of the individual. This means that we can only make choices for ourselves. We cannot make them for others. Yet in making the most significant personal choice of all—the choice to align with Source—we can lovingly influence others to do the same.
To the extent that any of us are individually in harmony with One Source—to the extent we allow that source energy to flow through us—our personal consciousness contributes to the upliftment of everyone through our shared group consciousness.
I think of this dynamic as feeding energy into the grid. As I cultivate states of being such as peacefulness, joy, harmony, and clarity, I reinforce those qualities in the entire grid of human consciousness. Their increased vibrational strength makes it easier for others to sense and experience those same qualities uniquely through themselves, much as a tuning fork calls forth its corollary vibrational tone from a nearby guitar string.
The point here is that our maximum power as individuals flows through our personal connection with the One Source supplying all power.
Yet because it’s easy to confuse the aggregate of human consciousness with the underlying oneness of One Source, we often think that, to honor our unity, we should try to tune to each other rather than to One Source. And that often translates into trying to get everyone to agree with each other, which is fundamentally an unworkable strategy.
Agreement vs. Harmony
It might seem ridiculous to imply that trying to be agree with each other is not a good thing, so let me be clear: I’m not saying we should actively promote disagreement. I’m saying that the only way to create a harmonious collective is through more of us making the personal choice to come into harmony with One Source. As more of us tune in more of the time, we generate an ever-stronger vibration of collective harmony because One Source is always in harmony with itself.
That’s the key. Our unity is a given and a constant; we don’t have to force or manipulate it into being by trying to get others to agree with us, or by compromising our desires to agree with them. Source is always in harmony with itself, so when we are in harmony with One Source, we have access to a vastly loving Intelligence that guides us toward and through harmonious interactions with others.
When try to negotiate or even force agreement with others, we often lose our own connection with Source because many of the people we’re trying to reach agreement with are, themselves, out of harmony with Source. It happens all the time, in ways large and small.
It happens when your partner comes home from work in a bad mood, and you forego the warm bath you wanted because she petulantly demands that you watch a depressing crime show on TV with her—it’s the least you can do after the day she’s had—and you end up in a bad mood yourself.
It happens when you make a self-deprecating remark, so your friend will not feel envious of something wonderful you just experienced, and the comment reinforces doubts you have about your talent or abilities.
It happens when people in a group are outraged at an injustice and others in the group, who think they should be loyal to the group rather than to their own inner authority, join with the angry ones and say or do harmful things in revenge.
In these and countless other ways we try to force, manage, or manipulate ourselves into agreement with others, we feel out of integrity with ourselves. That’s our signal that the approach isn’t a healthy one. Trying to agree with everyone is neither possible nor helpful. Intending to be in harmony with Source is the only sane path toward harmony with others, because only One Source can inspire us with the ideas, impulses and synchronistic opportunities that promote the kind of harmony we seek.
Now let’s bring this back to desire and an understanding of why personal desires aren’t selfish in the way that word is commonly understood. Intending to be in harmony with Source is the path to our greatest harmony with others. Being in harmony with Source necessarily and essentially includes the honoring of our personal desires to create, share or experience what we genuinely want, because our genuine desires are the desires of Source to express itself.
We have now arrived at a whole new understanding of what it means to be Selfish:
Your personal desires are an expression of your true Self as an extension of One Source. They are vital to the expansion of the Universe and only you can honor them. As you do, your personal energy field or consciousness contributes to the field of human consciousness in ways that encourage others to be in harmony with Source. As more and more of us come into harmony with One Source, we naturally come into harmony with each other.
This isn’t Pie-in-the-Sky, it’s Practical
I had a vivid experience years ago that brought this truth home to me in a very direct way. I was on the leadership team of an organization that offered spiritual retreats on a regular basis, and the retreats were a significant component of its services. I had already hosted one very successful retreat and the founder of the organization, my boss, wanted me to host another one. A bigger one.
The only problem was, I didn’t want to host another retreat. It simply was not a genuine desire of mine. Yet I waffled internally with the usual seesaw of “yes, but” thoughts that commonly arise when we have been conditioned to ignore our genuine desires in favor of conforming with others’ expectations of us.
Finally, I gave myself permission to want what I really wanted, which was to say no to leading the retreat, and, ultimately, to walk away from that organization and reclaim my own business. I took the time to center myself in my truth before initiating our scheduled call to talk about the retreat. I reminded myself that my genuine desires were important and that, by definition, they served the Whole.
I made the call. And within seconds of our initial exchange of pleasantries, I felt myself shift into that dimension of expanded clarity I’d experienced before. I was still seated in my kitchen while talking on the phone, yet I was also somehow beyond that point in space and time. I could see the invisible hand of One Source, moving things around behind the scenes with great deftness, grace and joyful purpose. Every element was vibrant and sparkling as new places and positions were assumed.
As I witnessed that incredible display of complex yet effortless orchestration, I heard my boss telling me that someone else had volunteered to lead the retreat, in a geographical location she had previously targeted for the ongoing expansion of her business. She was clearly excited about the new opportunity and the volunteer was delighted that my boss had said yes to her offer.
Needless to say, so was I. It was a simple yet clear reminder that our genuine personal desires arise from our Oneness and are inherently in harmony with each other.
I realize it doesn’t always appear that way, which is one of the reasons I’m writing this book. I want to help dismantle the distorted view of desire created by our false beliefs about who we are. But if you can set aside your objections for now, see if you can intuitively sense the validity of this premise of harmony within the One Source. Open to the possibility that as One Source expresses its immense love, wisdom and power through each of us, an elegantly designed system is revealed:
What you genuinely want to express, experience and create is what the world most benefits in receiving from you or experiencing with you.
What you personally desire may or may not be something that others see as beneficial to humanity, such as replanting trees in the rainforest. Yet the deeper truth here is that it doesn’t matter how others view your desires. It matters that they feel genuine to you, because your genuine desires reflect the infinite intelligence and harmony of One Source. You are always doing your part when you are honoring what you want in your heart of hearts.
The ongoing process of nurturing true desires and bringing them to life is, in a very real sense, what life is all about. You could even think of it as your purpose for being here.
Why Desire Gets a Bad Rap
I believe desire often gets a bad rap, especially in spiritual circles, because many people—in falsely believing they are separate from Source and feeling an inner void as a result of that belief—think they can fill the void with material things. As they come to realize that the pursuit of material gain is often a hollow one, that realization can lead them to conclude that personal desires are immature or misguided.
But what’s easy to overlook is that the purpose of things we desire from a place of feeling separate from One Source is different than the purpose of things we desire from a place of alignment with One Source, even if those things appear to be the same on the surface. The problem isn’t with desire itself, it’s with the false belief in separation from One Source.
Desire itself is never the problem; forgetting who we are is the problem.
For example, consider a loving and confident woman who has joyful appreciation for color, pattern, texture, and style. She buys and wears clothes as an expression of her joy and artistry. Another woman, insecure and wanting desperately to fit in with others, buys clothes so that she’ll be accepted by those who dress similarly.
Both women are buying clothes but are having vastly different experiences – and feeding vastly different energies into the grid of human consciousness. The purity and life-giving nature of desire is fulfilled through the confident woman’s embrace of her unique gifts, and those qualities or frequencies are now strengthened in our collective consciousness. The insecure woman, doubtful of her worth and buying things to gain acceptance, is reinforcing thoughts of “less than” in the collective.
Into the Rabbit Hole – Forgetting Who We Are
In the forgetting of who we are as extensions of One Source, we falsely believe ourselves to be separate from the infinite love, intelligence, and power of One Source, and separate from each other. The belief in our separateness gives rise to a belief in scarcity, because we perceive only individual things and people, of which there appear to be a finite number.
The belief in separateness also leads to assumptions that we can be “less than” something or someone else, and that we are inherently vulnerable to forces outside of us. It fosters in many of us a deep sense of unworthiness and a whole constellation of related false beliefs about our talent, value and potential. In others it stimulates a perceived need to somehow prove their worthiness in order to earn their fair share of scarce resources, and the effort of trying to prove their worth—which is a given and therefore cannot be proven—is exhausting.
The false belief that we need to prove ourselves worthy of our fair share of scarce resources gives rise to a worldview of having to compete for them, which provokes a win/lose mentality. And where there is the possibility of loss, there is fear. There is also the need to judge winners and losers, good and bad, right and wrong. Fear and judgment walk hand-in-hand in a world where we’ve forgotten our divine heritage.
Fear and judgment, in their myriad forms, are the crushers of our life-giving desires. And yet it’s so easy to fall into condemnation of others, even for those of us on a spiritual path. For example, many people condemn what they view as overspending on material things. They attempt to shame or scare others into pulling back on what they want, arguing that there aren’t enough material resources on our planet to accommodate everyone’s desires (many of which have been judged as greedy).
In their condemnation of others, they forget that fear and condemnation can only exist in moments of forgetting who we really are, and that forgetting who we are is the cause of the problems we see.
They forget that what we focus on is what expands in our reality, and that focusing on what isn’t wanted creates more of it.
They forget that the very foundation of this universe is unending Love, and that individual free will is freely given. It is meant to be explored and understood, not punished.
They forget that the vibration of condemnation is not harmonious with the vibrations of growth, generosity and effective solutions. Condemning anything limits the creative expansion of All That Is.
Judgment can never dissolve judgment. Fear can never dissolve fear. Condemnation can never dissolve what is condemned.
In this example and countless others, the effective solutions we seek can only come to us through our connection with the infinite intelligence, power and love of One Source. They cannot be accessed from a vibration of condemnation.
The fact of our unity isn’t meant to corral us all into wanting the same things or to limit what we want. That is in direct opposition to the fundamental desire of Source to express and experience itself through and as the many.
Yet through the understanding and embrace of our unity with One Source, we become empowered to create the diversity of things and experiences we want—and to do so in harmonious ways, because One Source is always in harmony with itself.
As we commit more deeply to the full remembrance of who we are, the inherently powerful and life-giving nature of our pure personal desires for peace, abundance and fulfillment lead us into the creation of a whole new world—just as our distorted personal desires, arising from fear and judgment, have created a world we wish to change.
Where do we go from here?
In Chapter 5 we will take a closer look at how to recognize imposter desires that arise from the false belief in our separateness, and we’ll explore a deeper understanding of the nature of our pure desires and how we can invite them into our awareness.
For now, take a moment to read and reflect on our first Illumination Point. Give yourself the gift of further reflection when you can set aside more time to do so. Open yourself to it through meditation, contemplation, or journaling. Ask yourself, “If this is true, what else might be true? What might this mean for me now?”
I am a gloriously unique expression of One Source. My desires are the desires of One Source to experience itself through me, as me.