A Streetcar Named Desire

I’m writing this blog in the room of my 3 1/2 grandson, Jude Love. My son’s house is full of children playing – five kids all screaming louder than the next. For some strange reason, I feel this is a good time to blog. It’s counter-intuitive, but I’m putting on my mental shield and tuning out the noise of music and voices and thumping up and down stairs and slamming doors and finding an inner stillness that allows me the freedom to express my desire to write a blog under the poster of The Beatles Abby Road.

The Beatles Abby Road

The simple definition of desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. But there is also a strong, underlying philosophical intent to the word desire. Emanuel Kant, the brilliant German philosopher (1724–1804), called any action based on desire a  hypothetical imperative, meaning that desire is a command of reason that applies only if one desires the goal in question.

Neuro-scientific research into pleasure and desire show that reward is a key element in creating both of these states. Studies showed that a chemical called dopamine is the brain’s pleasure chemical. Research also shows that the orbitofrontal cortex has connections to both the opioid and dopamine systems, and stimulating this cortex is associated with subjective reports of pleasure and desire.

It has been postulated by many social scientists and brilliantly successful people that desire creates a powerful energy that can magnetically attract better things into our life. What kinds of “better things” is purely subjective as we know. One man’s desire is another women’s nightmare. We desire but we really only have vagueness about what is on the other side of that desire. “I want that job but I’m not sure if that job is going to suit me perfectly.” That’s vague. So without the particulars about our desire, we might be disappointed and not get the experience we so desire but we may get simply a better sense of the experience. That’s a pretty good outcome in anyone’s playbook.

Is the streetcar named desire really enough to get us to a place of success? Probably not. Maybe we need a little something called belief. Still sounds vague? In theory, the more we believe in something the closer we get to what it is we desire. Each step toward belief is a confidence builder, which leads to more belief.  And belief is powerful. When we believe we intuitively know that something will eventually happen that will get us to our desire. A promotion, a trip, a relationship. That’s  the essence of awesomeness in our life, bringing us closer to peace and fulfillment.

In time we might come to understand that belief  is not enough to improve the quality of our life. What’s the missing element? It’s the knowing that provides the deepest level of success. After we desire and believe, we must know that we can do anything to achieve our goal. There can be no equivocation or resistance to the knowing. Our life is not merely maintenance – we don’t maintain joy or creativity or community. We live our life with full expression and intention.

We are taught in yoga to move with small intentions and not to focus too intensively on the goal because often a goal doesn’t have the specs all set up.  Without specs the goal is illusive – way out there in the universe – perhaps too far away to have an emotional impact.  And we need some emotional impact to keep riding the streetcar named desire.

Maintaining the vision for personal and professional success resides in the daily intentions we make toward our desire and then understanding that the desire and the experience are not separate entities but one in the same. Each intention builds on who we are, what we desire and how our belief impacts our journey. This mental paradigm – this new mindset – is a subtle shift in thinking, rewiring our old neural patterns and it is a critical one. Small changes in how we break down the thinking process makes a difference in the outcome we desire to achieve. It’s a conceptional understanding in which the eventual object of our desire will come to us naturally. We may not be aware of it, but what we are doing is stretching our mind with the fluidity of our impactful thoughts.

Sounds like a little bit of the law of attraction, doesn’t it?




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