What Do You REALLY Want: Desire vs. Craving

Odalisque Bleue ou L'Esclave Blanche, Matisse

Originally posted May 15, 2011

I often get strange looks when I say that usher people into their orgasm and desire.  Some are fearful. Some are wary. Some are really excited, then get embarrassed after their effusive expression. Others have this painful look that says, “I wish I could live that life, but ____ won’t let me have it.” And then there is the inevitable righteous NO: Desires are bad. We should all aspire to be desire-less. Giving into desire is weak, drains you of energy and make you lose focus. There is no spirituality in the realm of desire.

However, I believe most of these people are confusing desire with craving. I agree that desire is a powerful force that brings up a lot of stored emotions, including fear, anger, jealousy and other emotions that we label “negative.” But this is just the debris that sits upon our power. Craving is a “quick fix” that keeps us from doing the dirty, hard work of digging through that debris to find the desire-treasure at the bottom.  

Below you will find my “Top 10” list comparing the characteristics of desire and craving. This is by no means all-inclusive, so feel free to add your thoughts!

1. Desire generates more of your energy, whereas craving steals it.

2. Desire brings you closer to your authentic self, whereas craving disconnects or numbs you to him/her.

3. Desire is internally motivated (i.e. comes from the need to express a personal value within), whereas craving is externally motivated (I have to have this thing so people will think I am a good person or won’t see my vulnerabilities).

4. Desire leaves you nourished and gratified, whereas craving leaves you bloated and hungry (the gourmet meal vs. Chinese take-out comparison).

5. Desire is motivated by courage and faith, whereas craving is motivated by fear.

6. Desire reveals itself as your life purpose, whereas craving reveals itself as addiction.

7. Desire encompasses the full spectrum of possibilities whereas craving looks like a rat hitting the same lever for the same food pellet.

8. Desire feels alive and organic, whereas craving feels frozen and static.

9. Desire is the bridegroom of orgasm (your infinite power source), whereas craving is in a co-dependent relationship with resistance.

10. Desire brings you to a state of empowerment, whereas craving has you feel like life is yanking you around on its leash.

How do we learn to discern the voice of desire from the voice of craving? The best way is to start to listen to your body. Your body has no judgments or shame about what it feels. It simply wants what it wants. Listen to the little hungers and notice what emotions come up for you when they speak to you. Another great way to tap into your desire is through OM, a 15-minute sexuality practice based on stroking genitals and simply feeling the pleasurable sensations in the body, without the goal of going somewhere or acquiring anything. Getting a coach that can help you unearth some of your lost dreams and discover what has value in your life is another powerful step.

Be grateful for your desire. It’s your ally, your friend, your one true north on this sacred journey. Do it now.

So…what’s one thing you are going to do for your desire tonight?