Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How To Realize Resolutions, Part 1: Burning Desire

The ongoing process of Self-realization may include converting inner ideas into outer appearances: realizing your dreams.  At the new year, many people make lists of "resolutions" that they say they wish to realize.  Yet many people get to the end of the year without making good on their words.

Unfortunately, every time one states a resolution or goal but fails to make the wish come true or at least make progress toward realization, one loses self-confidence.  Do this enough and eventually you would get to the point where you wouldn't believe in your own words.

Traditional guides to Seekers of Self-realization indicate that if you want to turn your dreams into Reality, you have to empower your resolutions and goals with Desire, Confidence, and Will.  Here are some thoughts on Desire; my next post will consist of thoughts on Confidence and Will.


If one expresses a desire to manifest something, but doesn't follow through, it may be time to check on the temperature of one's desire.  Sometimes people initially put on their lists of resolutions and goals items that aren't important to them at all, but were ideas from someone else.  The idea "sounds good" but if one is honest, the interest in realizing it isn't there.  Other times, one might find some interest in the goal, but not a burning Desire for it.

According to Yoga philosophy, the Seeker of Self-realization must have tapas: a burning Aspiration for Self-realization and freedom that enables one to cheerfully endure all manner of austerities in one's quest.  Without tapas, one will be derailed by the smallest hardship or delay.   In Thought Vibration, or The Law of Attraction in the Thought World,  William Walker Atkinson describes the degree of Desire one must have in order to manifest results:

"To succeed in anything you must want it very much - Desire must be in evidence in order to attract. The man of weak desires attracts very little to himself. The stronger the Desire the greater the force set into motion. You must want a thing hard enough before you can get it. You must want it more than you do the things around you, and you must be prepared to pay the price for it. The price is the throwing overboard of certain lesser desires that stand in the way of the accomplishment of the greater one. Comfort, ease, leisure, amusements, and many other things may have to go (not always, though). It all depends on what you want. As a rule, the greater the thing desired, the greater the price to be paid for it. Nature believes in adequate compensation. But if you really Desire a thing in earnest, you will pay the price without question; for the Desire will dwarf the importance of the other things. 
"You say that you want a thing very much, and are doing everything possible toward its attainment? Pshaw! You are only playing Desire. Do you want the thing as much as a prisoner wants freedom - as much as a dying man wants life? Look at the almost miraculous things accomplished by prisoners desiring freedom. Look how they work through steel plates and stone walls with a bit of stone. Is your desire as strong as that? Do you work for the desired thing as if your life depended upon it? Nonsense! You don't know what Desire is. I tell you if a man wants a thing as much as the prisoner wants freedom, or as much as a strongly vital man wants life, then that man will be able to sweep away obstacles and impediments apparently immovable. The key to attainment is Desire, Confidence, and Will. This key will open many doors."

These thoughts have led me to search myself honestly before putting anything on my list of resolutions or goals.  I want my list to only include things for which I am actually Willing to pay the price in action and sacrifice.  I ask myself "Do I want this as much as a drowning man wants a breath of air? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to Realize this?"   I find this test cuts crud off the list and helps me identify my burning Desire.  If the answer to both of those questions is NO, I just take the item off my list.

How can one identify one's most burning Desire?  Throughout Nature the foremost desire for every organism is Self-expression of native potential.  The acorn expresses its True Nature in an environment that allows it to unfold its potential to manifest an oak tree.

I believe that each individual has an innate Desire to unfold in Self-expression.  Every individual has talents, gifts, and interests that enable that individual to express and produce unique Goods that will raise the Quality of life for everyone.  The path of Self-realization involves discovering, cultivating, and expressing those Goods.

In some traditional philosophies, the word "desire" is used when one seeks ego-centered self-expression or material benefit, while "aspiration" is used when one seeks Self-expression through alignment with universal Goods such as truth, knowledge, benevolence, and beauty.  Aiming for ego gratification might result in lukewarm or fickle desire, like a child's brief interest in new toys.  So I ask myself:  What Aspiration will really sustain my Desire?

Its not always easy to discover one's burning Desire because it is often buried beneath the expectations put upon us by society.  Discovery of one's burning Desire may itself be a goal for a Seeker.

Self-expression requires Self-knowledge.  Every individual needs quiet time to listen to the inner voice of Self-expression.  Michael Bernard Beckwith suggests that one may uncover one's burning Desire by asking the right questions, such as: "What Good seeks to emerge in, through, and as my life?  What Good can I uniquely create and supply to raise the Quality of Life for Humanity?  What Service can I provide to enhance life?"  I have found these questions very useful.

Mechanical resolutions that aren't backed by passion and action can damage one's self-image.  When you make resolutions but don't follow through, you just weaken your word, your self-confidence and your integrity.  

Burning Desire is a necessary but not sufficient condition for Self-realization and manifestation of one's dreams.  One also needs to have Confidence and Will, which are topics of my next post.