This essay discusses Confronting Desires and Embracing Truth in Yoga. Since I began practicing yoga, I have found myself grappling with the truth, wrestling with my own deceptions and denial, I attempted to deceive the most significant person we can tell the truth: ourselves. These untruths leave an indelible mark on our hearts. I remember the moment, sitting at my desk, eagerly anticipating my astrologer’s reading. It was the start of a new year, and I yearned for insight into the celestial movements shaping my path. The reading proved enlightening, yet within it, she unearthed a painful truth, shattering my heart. She whispered, “Face the truth of your desires,” exposing a lie I had concealed since the tender age of 14.
I was raised amidst hydraulic cars, gold teeth, and hustlers. I witnessed impeccably dressed women and men, their hair slicked back, donning pristine white linen suits. I recall my father’s words, reminding me to always present myself at my finest, for one never knows when they may encounter the love of their life. However, when yoga crossed my path with its philosophy of detaching from desires, I endeavored to release my cravings for fashion, jewels, and the vibrant energy that thrived in the woods of Hope, Arkansas. It was Alan Watts who brought harmony to my soul, imparting his wisdom on scorning riches, as follows:
There is no wisdom in scorning riches simply because one is unable to obtain them, nor in despising the pleasures of the senses because one has not the means of fulfilling them. If the desire for these things exists, and if that desire is thwarted by circumstance, to add self-deception to frustration is to exchange a lesser hell for a greater. No hell is worse than that in which one lives without knowing it.
I turned against myself, consumed by the allure of carnal pleasures, succumbing to the grip of yet another entanglement. I attempted to deny the existence of those desires, but in my denial, I grew increasingly isolated as the years slipped away. The yearning for connection, affection, wealth, influence, and liberation intensified, driving me to deeper depths. As Alan Watts suggested, there is one crucial question we must ask ourselves to unravel our desires:
If you know what you want, and will be content with it, you can be trusted. But if you do not know, your desires are limitless and no one can tell how to deal with you. Nothing satisfies an individual incapable of enjoyment.
I observed American spiritualists striving to embrace asceticism, but over time, they grew disillusioned and resentful. These individuals transformed into provocative spokespersons or flamboyant figures flaunting ostentatious jewelry, trying to make up for lost time, and even engaging in fraudulent practices, resembling those flashy pastors cruising in Cadillac coupes while their congregations yearned for a mere touch of divine grace. Our country parades wealth before us to such an extent that when a millionaire takes their own life, we simply remark, “Hmmmm, with all that money.” Hence, the American spiritualist must embark on the initial steps of the pilgrim’s journey, as articulated by Alan Watts:
The first step of the path is to know what you want, not what you ought to want.
This essay explores the personal journey in practicing yoga and confronting the truth about our desires. Through the lens of astrology, my personal concealed lie is exposed, leading to a deeper reflection on the influence of upbringing and societal expectations. Drawing inspiration from philosopher Alan Watts, I examine the dangers of denying desires and the importance of understanding and embracing them. Observing the pitfalls of asceticism and the allure of material wealth, urging individuals to honestly examine their wants and find contentment in their pursuit. The essay emphasizes the need for self-awareness and authenticity in navigating the complexities of desires and spiritual growth.
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