Advertising and industry have encouraged a lifestyle in which every desire should be fulfilled. This premise, that desire is not complete without fulfillment, places emphasis on desires that can be fulfilled immediately by a product or service. Immediate gratification becomes the primary driver for choices and actions, readying disappointment when fulfillment lags, and leading to disillusionment about life when these disappointments stack up. The world of immediate gratification devalues experiences where wanting itself is primary, and its fulfillment secondary and sometimes even unnecessary, or where fulfillment may take time and come in a less dramatic form of happiness, as is the often the case with longing or yearning. In other words, we’ve lost the joy of pure desire by banking desire on fulfillment.
Orienting to immediate gratification also creates confusion about which desires really matter and which are, or are not, worth pursuing and worth fulfilling. Trivial cravings obscure the deeper, more robust desires often hidden under the surface, that we may need to uncover, and that may take patience and dedication over time get to the goods. And this is where the joy of the journey is often as rewarding, or more rewarding, than the prize at the end.
A quest is the ultimate engagement with yearning because it invites a kind of intimacy with desire. The heart of questing is learning to dance with desire without snuffing it out too soon. The yearning at the core of the quest becomes your partner by journeying with you towards your star, helping you to find your ground, to negotiate your steps, to use your intuition, and to define your direction. You learn to live close to your yearning, breathing it in your body, holding it in your heart, attending its signals, however faint or urgent, and reading its cues, however cryptic or clear. When the destination is an answer to a burning question, your yearning is your guide. Without it, you are lost.
Photo, Prose, and Recital © NIck LeForce
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I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.
What do you long for?
How do you dance with desire?