You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.
From the Upanishads (Indian religious texts c 800 – 500 BC)
29th July 2016
I saw this as the epigraph to a book and plucked it out, without quite knowing why. So let us kick it around and see what comes up. It’s been said before that we are what we think, and if you consider the worst kind of people that is unfortunately true. Say a man was obsessed with pornography, then the logic of this is that his deep, dark desires would become thoughts. Then they would become ‘will ‘ and drive him to seek out what he wanted, which becomes the ‘deed’.
And then, enacting the deep desires, his whole life would become taken over by that sequence of events. And, in terms of the example I have given – horrible porn – we know that is the case. People young and old become obsessed by and addicted to pornography – and it ruins lives. It skews young peoples’ views of what sex is and what sexual behaviour is like. And it certainly ruins marriages, as my postbag testifies.
Moving on from pornography (ah yes, please let us do that) what other ‘deep, driving desire’ can we consider? What about a positive one? Let’s say a young person is consumed with a great passion for one thing, like playing football or the violin. The earnest wish is to be good at it…and the deepest desire is to become a star. Why not? But here the word ‘driving’ is key – because it is the key to all ambition, all success.
The desire is not enough without will power, and real desire disciplines the will – which in turn is translated into action – the ‘deed.’ And that means practising, day in, day out. Missing good times with friends. Being single minded, even when you don’t want to be. Overcoming little failures in the pursuit of big goals.
And at the end? Yes, the ‘destiny’ is getting what you most desire….or at least coming very near it. And by that time – after all the exercising of will-power – you will be strong-minded enough to cope with any sense of falling short. Because not everybody can be a star, can they?
Reading this I wondered what my own deepest desires were, years ago. It’s hard to remember, but I always wanted to be very good at my chosen subjects: English and Art. What am I saying…I wanted to be TOP! That wasn’t a problem at school, but in the big world you realise that there are people better than you.
So what happened with my deep desire to be a highly regarded novelist? It failed, because I lacked the will to believe. Without that will-power I didn’t stick at it…and left large gaps between books, which is no good. My will led me to earn money through journalism, because that was far, far easier for me that the writing of literary fiction. Far less demanding. And here we are – for better, for worse – my destiny!