DESIRE IS DEPENDENT ON FOCUSING

There is a misleading misconception in religious and spiritual circles, that the senses lead to worldly desire.

The idea that the senses lead to worldly desire is incorrect.

The senses can only lead to wanting and worldly desire when they are focusing.

Focusing doesn't automatically cause wanting. Many things catch our interest, but we don't want them. But if something causes pleasure (or even promises some future pleasure) we focus on it, we notice it and remember it, we want it.

If we hear beautiful music, or feel the warmth of fire, if we smell bread baking, or eat chocolate cake, then we focus on them with one of our senses, and want them. Then either we get them, or we will remember them and periodically focus on the memories

If getting something is also pleasurable, then we want more, we want to repeat it or something like it. Once we want something, we will inevitably periodically refocus on it – thinking about it again in our minds, wanting it again in our actions.

Wanting and sensory/worldly desire are always intrinsically connected with focusing.

But focusing isn't the only thing our senses can do.

Animals have a way of using their senses without focusing. It is a general receptive awareness of everything which is happening in their immediate environment at this present moment. I call it panoramic sensing.

Doing, wanting, and getting are dependent on focusing. Panoramic sensing is useless for wanting and doing things, it evolved for the purpose of being on the lookout in the present moment.

Panoramic sensing is always and only, here and now. The only thing panoramic sensing leads to, if it is pleasurable, is more panoramic sensing ...

In order for animals to use the panoramic senses with any intensity, it is necessary for them to stop focusing on what they are doing, wanting, and getting. Panoramic sensing is the natural way to stop doing, wanting, and getting, and to neutralise all sensory desire and wanting.

Animals use their panoramic senses to stay safe, and to want nothing more than just that. Predatory animals often develop a way of combining their focused and panoramic vision. Using the awareness of change and movement to hunt for prey. Under the influence of focusing, again we have a connection with wanting.

(But, of all the possibilities, it seems, there is the most likelihood of sensual desire if you close the eyes and ears, and are left at the mercy of abstract thoughts.)

Please continue with Buddhism, Wheels, and Repetitions

Back to Chapter Three : Buddhism