There is a beautiful story in Hindu annals about a great saint, Valmiki. He was a robber, a murderer. He has written the story of Rama, one of the most beautiful epics in the world. He became converted. His conversion happened in such a way that it is almost unbelievable. He was a great sinner, but he went to a great teacher and asked him how he could purify himself of his sins. “Chant Rama a thousand times a day,” advised the great teacher. The sinner went to a solitary mountain and chanted and chanted, but in spite of his good will, he made a mistake and chanted Mara instead of Rama. It happens that if you chant Rama Rama Rama fast, you can get messed up; it can become Mara Mara Mara. That’s how it happened: he was chanting so fast, and he had never heard this name. It was almost an unknown language to him. He tried hard to remember, but somehow he forgot, and for years he chanted Mara, Mara, Mara.
After years of chanting he went back to the great teacher who immediately realized that the man was now pure — not only pure, he was enlightened. “Did you sing the sacred name?” the teacher asked. “Yes, great one,” the ex-sinner answered, “for ten years every single day, thousands of times I have chanted Mara, Mara, Mara.” The teacher burst into a laughter that shook the mountains. As his laughter, like a pebble in the lake, vibrated farther and wider into the cosmos, the great teacher took the ex-sinner into his arms. “Your will to good, to do good, has saved you,” he said, “even though you chanted Mara, Mara, Mara, millions of times: the name of the devil.” Rama is the name of God; Mara is the name of the devil — but if the desire is there, the thirst is there, then everything is okay. Even the name of the devil will do.
Just his intention, just his tremendous passion for God, to purify himself, for ten years, day in and day out, thousands of times he was continuously chanting Mara, Mara, Mara. Even a wrong technique will help if the desire is intense, and even a right technique will not be of much help if the desire is impotent.
Spiritual longing for higher consciousness is beyond one’s will power; it’s an unconditional arising within.
To achieve something in any field of endeavour in order to make it; as the expression goes, ‘I want to make it. I want to get that.’ You develop enormous will power that is really an enormous desire to get there, to enhance yourself.
In most cases, if you look closely, you will see what is behind that is enormous ‘desire power’. So, what is admired as will power is really an enormous desire to enhance oneself. And so the question, refers to a different kind of will power that is to do with true spiritual endeavour. This needed to be clarified because many people are trapped in a seemingly positive exercise of will power that really, sooner or later, brings about more suffering. But it does not fulfil you. It does not give you what you want, which is ultimately yourself — God, Self — and no matter how much will power you use on that level, it will only take you into suffering.
How is desire power connected to spiritual endeavour?
Now the higher consciousness, when it arises, sometimes expresses itself as the longing for liberation. Even spiritual practice, if rightly practised and not as a need to obtain something, can help. There may be the need to sit still for a period of time every day; there may be the need to go out into nature for some time; there may be other needs that suddenly arise. Not because you want to add something to yourself, but because something is already arising in you and that changes something in the way you behave; in the things that you feel drawn towards. That goes beyond will power. It is not imposed by an external force, nor is it self-imposed. It arises from within, as presence.
The unconditioned emerges; that arises from within yourself and there is no inner conflict between some part of you, so to speak, imposing something on another part by making yourself do something. That is never true spiritual endeavour.
True spiritual endeavour arises when you simply do it, because you cannot do otherwise.
Learning from the story Desire Versus Technique: Desire Enhances
What we want to achieve through desire? Whatever we desire to achieve, at the end we want happiness, joy.
A Secret to Happiness:
Many people who choose to seek the spiritual path do so because they are unhappy, unfulfilled, or desperately miserable. They have lived a life that lacks meaning, feels empty, is filled with anger or anguish, or is emotionally excruciating. Whether mild or severe, pain itself is a great motivator when it comes to choosing to grow psychologically and spiritually. And it can be said that this is one benefit that pain and suffering offer to human beings.
Emotional pain and psychological suffering often are felt as depression or unhappiness. It is human nature to desire happiness and a life that feels full, satisfying and alive. When there is a gap between that desire and the reality of our life, we may feel keenly interested in finding out what will bring us happiness.
There are two steps to becoming more happy.
First, we must understand why we are unhappy. In a nutshell, we are unhappy because we are trapped in the small, limited confines of our ego personality – identified with a false self that is not who we really are. The ego is endlessly preoccupied with past and future, which are also false realities in the sense that neither are ever happening NOW. The less we are experiencing ourselves and life in the present moment, which is where reality exists, the more unreal and false our life is and the less happy we will be. Understanding this will begin to help liberate you from ego and its trappings and live increasingly in the aliveness of present moment.
The second approach to becoming more happy is contained in a little secret that is very simple and very potent—accept what is.
Whatever is happening in this moment is OK, neither good nor bad. It just is.
The secret to happiness is letting go of judgment and resistance to the way things are. When we accept and align with what is, we are not resigning ourselves to a fate we may or may not like. We are empowering ourselves with peace, tranquility and a sense of clarity that will allow us to make wise, non-reactive choices about our conditions.
When we befriend the present moment with acceptance and non-resistance, we will feel more peaceful and be less torn by what we like and don’t like. To be more happy, make friends with what is.