The Myth of Conquering Our Desires



The Myth of Conquering Our Desires




“Our culture generally lives the myth of the heroic and self-sufficient ego rather than the collaborative community. We unconsciously act out the heroic story in our dealings with the world by conquering adversaries, actualizing personal potential, and practicing self-reliance.”

— Shaun McNiff

“We do not see our stories as stories because we see through them: the world we experience as reality is constructed with them.”

— David Loy

Contrary to what I imagine most people know me to be, I can be an extremely introverted and shy person. I have real challenges getting into conversations with people and am quick to look for a way to end it, out of fear I won’t think of something to say. Of course I am the complete opposite when I am around people I know, which is one reason I like having people I know around. I used to get so nervous around girls that it took me three months to work up the nerve to hold my first girlfriend’s hand and another four before I kissed her! Back then I cared so much about my image to other people I did not think about much else. It seems like a lifetime ago, and yet just yesterday.


If I were to rewrite that entire first paragraph into one sentence it would be: when I make myself vulnerable by starting a conversation with someone I don’t know, I experience an intense amount of energy pulsing through my body; energy I have had a strong aversion to.


Practice Makes Perfect


My mantra for the past half dozen years has been to “conquer my fear” of talking to people. I would go out to a bar and force myself to talk to people by focusing on how disappointed I would be with myself if I did NOT talk to anyone. I thought it was working – I was talking to people after all and I have since developed a love for public speaking. Practice certainly helps with everything, yet my one-on-one practicing was with a lifejacket – I had been using the social lubricator called alcohol to help “give” me confidence.


It was not until the past few days that I realized non-sober practice does not really help sober confidence. Last week, when I had finally worked up the courage to break out of the comfort of only talking to people through socially constructed roles (i.e. talking to the cashier or server), I was shocked at how nervous I still was “cold approaching” a total stranger. My whole body was literally shaking with this nervous energy. I have been playing with feelings of fear, sadness, and gratitude – what about this feeling? Maybe if I felt into it and was present with it instead of trying to hide it…


Repress to Conquer


One of my intentions for this cross-country trip I am living is to “unplug” myself from my comfortable circles and to find out more of who I am outside of those I identify with most at home. When I go out with friends it is easy to make excuses to not meet new people; excuses to avoid feeling that uncomfortably intense energy. Now I have the opportunity to overcome this aversion and to conquer my fears! Why does that sound less appealing to me now? Is there really a part of my “self” that I need to conquer? Why do I even have an aversion to this emotional energy anyways? Can I learn to love it, to embrace it, to work with it?


When we set out to conquer our desires – perhaps we love coffee and make the decision to drink less (a more difficult behaviour change if someone else influenced us) – it usually means a repression of our desires. We really want to drink more coffee but will restrict our intake due to some study we read about. If I could just control this urge, get this desire handled, then I would be able to eat healthier. I just have to force myself to get to the gym, no excuses! I’m not “supposed” to feel sexually attracted to anyone but my partner, I need to push the desire away and ignore it. How long do your new year’s resolutions last? Repression does not make anything go away, it simply buries it deeper for a later emergence, often more intense.


The Art of Discipline


Making change in your life requires discipline. Discipline is not the act of repressing your desires; discipline is the art of feeling into your deepest purpose, and then acting from your most authentic, heart based impulse. It is sifting through your more superficial desires to ask, “what choice is most aligned with my life’s purpose and will enable me to more fully give my gifts to the world, for the benefit of all?”.


It is not about controlling some part of yourself (self control), it is about getting in touch with the part of your Self that will keep you on track. It is about making personal life choices, discovering the consequences, taking responsibility, and then adjusting for future decisions. Unfortunately, not many of us (myself included) have been given the tools to learn how to do that. {I feel like adding that this is not anybody’s fault – the notion that we can even do what I am talking about has only recently come into collective awareness}. Fortunately all it requires is forgiveness and a little bit of courage. Mistakes will be made as we play and we need to learn to not only forgive each other, but to forgive ourselves.


When we are given the space and opportunity to explore choices freely, we are able to learn how to navigate the world with our own inner guidance. I do not exercise because someone told me it will keep me “in shape”, I exercise because my body feels great doing it! I am not talking to people in order to “conquer my fear” – I am giving my gift of presence while learning to work with the intense feedback of energy in my body that I receive while conversing. I am not hiding my sexual attraction to the feminine – I am turning my desires into creative inspiration to fuel my deepest gifts back to the world {this is an entire topic unto itself }.


Our authentic navigation is so buried under the years of social conditioning and external guidance that it will take some practice to remember how to listen. Experiment, listen, share, teach, explore, discover, forgive, love, and be present! Our world is not an example of human nature, it is an example of human nature denied.


One love,

Skye Dreamer


Added Interest:  I am currently undergoing a major reconstruction of my stories, due in combination to the material I am reading and the experiences I am having on my trip across Canada. I will be writing more about these ideas and I also suggest that if you are interested in getting MUCH more added detail to the perspectives that inspired mine, please check out any of the work by Charles Eisenstein or David Deida. Specifically, I am reading “The Ascent of Humanity” by Charles and listening to “Way of the Superior Man” on CD by David Deida. 

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