Desire. We know it. From movies, stories, and our own life, how powerful force it is and how it can affect our life, relationships, and course of destiny. Religion and moral compasses of the world have tried to tame it. All the systems existing in the world, all the institutions, are there to tame desire. Through taming it, it has become an underground stream that is hiding and is stigmatized by shame, blame, and agony when not channeled in some ways.
The strongest of all is of course super-magnet-sexual-desire, seamlessly interwoven into the basic desire to be loved and appreciated, held, and cared for. As a suppressed force, it just grows in volume and power in its underground streaming. It is easy to tame it or keep it in a latent form if there is no object (of desire). But life is there to unveil the truth about ourselves, once a crack appears through a drama – for example when you meet a certain person with who you can play out your desire (or have an illusion that you can). Once in drama, we go into trance or delusion and usually behave in an unwise and erratic way, especially if the desire is forbidden fruit and morally inappropriate.
Now, you might think it does not really happen to you, or it will not really shake your reality, you think you have it all under control. But this is just because your seeds of desire have not reached the fruitful ground where the drama of desire can play itself. According to Patanjali Yoga Sutras, all kinds of seeds or receptacles of mass of karmas or subtle programming of the mind are floating in a karmic cloud (karmashaya), ready to be downloaded into reality on demand of certain stimuli. Your seeds are floating like dandelion seeds, swept by the winds of prana or energy that follow the mind. No one is safe. You can be part of it, or you can be hurt by it, any moment. Once it starts to roll, it will ultimately destroy what you thought is reality. It will take away from you what you thought is firm ground and throw you into the chaos of despair, as the world you knew and believed in, will fall apart. You will either need to transcend or die (metaphorically). It is a big test, that not all people experience in its ultimate form, as we usually stop by re-directing attention into other components of human reality such as anger or frustration or blaming (the ones who have betrayed us due to their desires). This is where the dance stays mechanical - tapping on the stage of human drama.
But the drama is actually also here to wake us up, to realize the liquid form of reality, that everything is in flux, and reality as we know it exists just until the next awakening into another reality happens. And all the calamities, disappointments and despairs, shocks and sorrows can and should be used to transcend to another level of reality and awakening that includes those hurtful experiences as lessons, rather than denying those and staying in the mechanical matrix repeating the drama over and over and over again.
Yoga teaches that desire, raga, the attraction to objects of satisfaction, is steaming from the reduction of all the satisfaction of the universal consciousness into reducing it and focusing it on a certain object. Your endless, whole, happy and satisfied consciousness gets reduced and condensed into a component of reality constituting a human experience called desire, that can not manifest unless there is “the other” - a particular object, thing, or a person. Desire activates once it meets an object that corresponds or is moved by the energy of desire. Desire is a mechanical illusion, it reduces us, and gives us the feeling that we are not whole, and that we need something (someone) to feel whole, happy, or alive. We forget our true nature, whole and holly consciousness, and we enter the risky game with desire and its object (person). We find 1000 excuses to play out our drama and feel the desire, that makes us feel alive. In truth, it is a simulation of what enlightened consciousness is. Just like drugs, desire is making us addicted to the delusion of connection with the object (the other person). We go fully into the drama of subject-object dichotomy with all appointments and disappointments.
But why is all of this happening, what is the purpose of this descendence of consciousness into components such as desire? Why are we not abiding in our enlightened consciousness? Why bother, why all this suffering that follows every desire? Kashmir Shaivism would say, for the sake of play of consciousness. Consciousness descends to subject-object nature to be able to play, move, and dance. Just like the artist needs a partner to dance, colors to paint, or someone´s ears to hear a song– so the consciousness descends for the sake of variety of creation. The price is pain, pain, pain. Yeah, a lot of pain, Buddhists would say. And if we deny it, and say, “so what, it is worth it”, just live your life a little bit longer, truthfully, and once the truth follows you, this object-subject reality will fall apart little by little, often in the most tragic ways imaginable. All you believed in, will disappear. I know, it sounds dramatic, but life prepares you, and if you seek the truth, it will follow you, awaken you. Awakening, therefore, is indeed painful, and actually, it is much easier to stay in the mechanical reality of duality and enjoy the ride as much as one can. But if you realize it is a dream, and if you want to wake up to the truth, the painful process of it is indeed tearing apart the reality as you know it.
The good news is that pain is also part of that duality illusion. Buddhism teaches us that all conditioned things will pass away. Impermanence is inescapable, and so is, fortunately, the ultimate realization.
The residual pain that might be present is the pain of realizing how alone (empty) consciousness is, and how full (with variations and drama dances) it is.
Scriptures assure us, only then, we are able to live fully, dancing the consciousness without suffering. The desire as a component will stay in a seed form, or even dissolve fully, and the satisfaction of being conscious will override the mechanical impulse of looking for the objects, a process that Buddhists would call "chasing the peanuts". Being conscious is not that hard, although the process is painful. Chasing the peanuts and being in the agony of desire is what really is hard. But how would one know without awakening? Yogi, therefore, accepts every break with illusion as a blessing and an expansion of consciousness. And although pain and the feeling of disorientation and loss follow the process when the objects (of desire) are disappearing from one´s reality, there is also this huge sense of freedom that follows. And the circle of life is, only then, truly full (and fulfilled).
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu - Let all beings be happy and free.