Desire to be generous ... to generate. Sounds a bit paradoxical, doesn't it? We usually equate desire with taking -- I want! I want! -- rather than giving or bestowing. Desire can extend, though. Desire reaches out. Desire opens us towards something before we grasp it. In that instant of extension ... we are open.
Generous desire beckons as it bestows.
"Desire turns us into idiots," writes Scott Spencer. Yes, it does. It can also turn us into sages. Said another way by Imam Al Ghazali,
"What do you want?" ~ What's it like for you to ponder that question? How might it be different if instead of asking, "What do I want?", you were to look into a mirror and ask the face there, "What do you want?" What arises in you ... and from where does it arise? Where does desire emerge from in your body?
We itch for something ... our soul itches, and we usually just scratch it, quickly, impulsively. Scratching extends the itch, and sometimes deepens the itch into a wound. We so easily wrap ourselves around our wounds ... Some would say that we become addicted to them. We need to balm an itch, salve it, ease its distress ...
I think of mosquito or horsefly bites. Whoa, do they itch! We want to scratch and scratch the welts that arise. ENCOUNTER is one of the keywords that describe this Principle of DESIRE ... and we can't mistake an encounter between a predatory insect and our skin. The encounter is brief -- a piercing sting -- and off the insect goes to attack another. We're left bitten ... and we start to scratch.
Desire's like that. We're left bitten, and we start to scratch. Trouble begins to brew under the skin -- whether it's the body or the psyche -- and something that was here and gone has left its mark. The traditional elemental image for ENCOUNTER is Wind blowing under Heaven, "never staying long but always moving from one place to another" (trans. Jack Balkin). An element of instability enters the larger picture, bending it out of shape with a subtle power that lasts. As Stephen Karcher writes, one encounters "an ambivalent new possibility for change released by a decisive shift in position."
Temptation enters the picture here. The itch is the chaotic force that spurs us. "Temptation," writes Jack Balkin, "advances on us because -- whether we realize it or not -- we meet it halfway." We are tempted to either corrupt: to keep itching until we've wounded ourselves more than we have been wounded -- or to complete: to tend the itch, to salve it, soften it, ease the sensation of pain. Perhaps a bandage as a cushion against further injury. Itch or ease -- which will it be?
An itch is a sign of irritation ... and it's an invitation to tend, to bring mindful and quieting awareness to whatever's gone antsy.