THE BASIC MISCONCEPTION THAT THE SENSES LEAD TO WORLDLY DESIRE

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

The senses or thoughts can only lead to wanting and wordly desire when they are focusing.

Focusing does not automatically lead to wanting or worldly desire. But when we focus and it causes pleasure or displeasure, sometimes – depending on the degree of pleasure or displeasure – it leads to wanting, or to fearing a repetition. And once we want (or fear) something we will periodically and repetitiously remember it, focusing on it again, in our thoughts and our actions, wanting it again.

Wanting and worldly desire are always intrinsically connected with focusing. It's caused in part by focusing, and it always results in focusing. But focusing isn't the only thing our senses can do.

Animals have a way of using their senses without focusing. It is purely watchful and receptive. It is ready and able to focus when anything interesting happens, and then react, or want, but in itself it is purely and actively receptive.

Sensing like this doesn't lead anywhere else. I call it panoramic sensing. The only thing panoramic sensing leads to, if it is pleasurable, is more panoramic sensing. The senses or thoughts can only lead to wordly desire when they are focusing.

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