Every desire leads to misery, whether fulfilled or not. If fulfilled, it leads sooner; unfulfilled it takes time – but every desire leads to misery. Be alert of the whole process, and move with it. There is no hurry because nothing can be done in a hurry, and spiritual growth is not possible in a hurry. Move slowly, patiently. Watch every desire and then watch how every desire becomes a door to hell. If you are watchful, sooner or later you will realize that desiring is hell. The moment that realization happens, there will be no desire. Suddenly desires will disappear, and you will be in a state of no-desire. I don’t say desirelessness, I simply say “no-desire.”
You cannot practice it, remember; only desires can be practiced. How can you practice no-desire? You cannot practice it, you can only practice desires. But if you are alert, you will become aware that they lead to misery. And when each desire leads to misery, when this becomes a realization to you – not mere opinion and knowledge, but a realized fact – desiring disappears, it becomes impossible. How can you lead yourself into misery? You are always “leading yourself to happiness” – thinking that you are – and always moving into misery. This has been happening for lives and lives. You always think this or that is the door of heaven, and when you have entered you always realize that this is hell. And this has been without any exception; it is always the case.
Move with mindfulness in every desire, and allow every desire to lead you to misery. Then, suddenly, one day the maturity will happen to you, this ripeness will happen to you: you will realize that every desire is misery.
The moment you realize it, desiring disappears. There is no need to do anything now; desiring simply falls away, withers away, and you are in a state of no-desire. In that no-desire nirvana is, the perfect, the absolute bliss is. You may call it God, the kingdom of God or whatsoever you choose to call it, but remember well that it is not a result of your desiring. It is a consequence of non-desiring, and non-desiring cannot be practiced.
Those who “practice” non-desiring, they are deluding themselves. There are many all over the world – bhikkhus, sannyasins – who are practicing non-desiring. You cannot practice non-desiring; no negative thing can be practiced. Underneath they are desiring, they are hankering after God, the peace that will happen, the bliss that is waiting for them somewhere in the future beyond death. They are desiring, and they call only their desiring “spiritual desire.”
You can deceive yourself very easily. Words are very deceptive and you can rationalize. You call a poison “ambrosia,” and when you call it ambrosia it appears as ambrosia. Words hypnotize; that is one thing. But this feeling, this realization that desire is misery, must be yours.
Mary Stevens has written somewhere that she was visiting a friend’s home, and her friend’s daughter was blind. Mary Stevens was very puzzled because the girl would say, “He is ugly, I don’t like him”; and “The color of this dress is beautiful.”
As she was blind, Mary Stevens asked, “How do you feel that someone is ugly and that a color is beautiful?”
The girl said, “My sisters say this to me.” This is knowledge.