The Compass of Desire
A compass is a direction finding tool. It’s a navigational tool. It consists of a magnetized pointer free to align itself with the Earth’s magnetic field. It helps us find our way from “here” to “there.” In many instances it is a physical tool, small and portable, we can hold in our hand. And when used with a “map,” it can be a really handy aid, not just a convenience, perhaps even a life saver. And when misplaced it can sometimes feel like a real inconvenience. Like, “Where do I go now? What do I do now?”
Is there a compass available for use on our so-called “spiritual” journey of awakening, where many times the journey is not from “here” to “there” but from “here” to “HERE”, the present moment?
Well there is a compass of sorts within us that can never be lost or broken and actually is one of many tools at our disposal to use or not use if it doesn’t fit our need. All it requires to use and access is a little bit of intangible attention.
The compass of desire operates intuitively to find and identify the “holes”, the “emptiness” we sometimes or often times “experience” in our lives. The compass of desire identifies our “insufficiencies”, real and imagined.
The magnetic North which the compass of desire aligns with is “desire”, “wanting” itself. If you observe “desire,” which in this story is our internal, ephemeral “compass,” the Southern tip invariably points to that which we don’t have. Or think we don’t have. Or don’t have enough of.
So we may find ourselves traveling in our individual Northern direction seeking financial opportunities, better health, friendship, love, awareness, bliss, serenity, enlightenment, sex, drugs, rock and roll and just plain old fun in an effort to leave our perceived arid Southland of not enough money, acid reflux, loneliness, unworthiness, ignorance, chaos, sleepless nights, shriveled up or dried up sex organs, no excitement, same old, same old going nowhere landscape.
On this journey, the compass of desire inevitably rams “desires”, “assumptions” and “beliefs” up against ephemeral “actuality,” and very often, if not always, “actuality” prevails. And when suffering, disappointment or disenchantment results, it doesn’t mean the compass is broken or in error. It’s working just fine. Its brought attention where it needs to be - abiding in presence in the present moment, where live is lived and not imagined.
The compass of desire identifies all the ways, big and small, we use to resist the present moment as it is. It identifies all the ways we want IT to be other than how it IS. By pointing to what we think we don’t have, and by willing to look in the opposite direction, mindfully using the compass of desire provides an opportunity to discover what we actually have – sufficiency diabolically camouflaged as emptiness.
It’s also very useful to see and appreciate the balancing still point at the center of the apparent North-South duality-pointer. So I encourage you to follow your heart’s desire, and remember to look both ways. You may discover that you want what you have, and don’t want what you don’t have.