L´earning to Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
Lesson 4: Desire
The Holy Jewish Kabbalah says that God differentiated man from the rest of His creatures by setting in him the ‘Will to Receive’- Desire. It is the un-satiable yearning that can only be fulfilled from within. The seed for Desire stems from the inner void that stirs craving, and drives the soul to search and outreach, in longing for God-ness.
For one brought up within puritanical righteousness, to desire pleasure is sinful. All staunch, Spartan stance gives fortitude, courage and virtue. Pain and suffering are good for the soul. Pleasure makes it weak, bland in character, pusillanimous. But words speak for themselves.
Breaking down the word ‘pleasure’ to find implicit symbolism to enlighten its meaning, I find the term ‘please’, which in turn, may be a petition: ‘please?’.. an asking for something needed; or it can be the verb ‘to please’..to serve or give. It would seem that it is in ‘asking, receiving, being grateful and giving’ that we find true pleasure.
If we peel man by layers of awareness…pleasure has different connotations: at a physical level it ‘feels good’; at a sentimental level it makes you ‘happy’; at a rational level it gives you ‘joy’; at an emotional level it gives you ‘pleasure’; at a spiritual level it is ‘satiating, fulfilling, peace-giving’. So pleasure becomes a compass to seek what is good, beautiful and satisfying, at all levels.
I based much of my life´s errors on the premise that joy and goodness had to be earned…much as love itself. If you were undeserving you had to pay with pain, being unfit for pleasure. This cultural bias made loving itself, sinful. Loving was wronged by defining it as ‘possession of others, control, a condition or duty to be fulfilled, even a term of endearing enslavement’. Pleasure has been slighted as superficial satisfaction, found in food, alcohol, sensual and sexual abuse. As such, pleasure in itself is unfulfilling, for the emptiness that longs for that Desired, can only be fulfilled from within. It is in the human heart, that we re-cognize and receive God-ness and Love; the ‘cup that runneth over when satiated, abounding generously to dispense unto others’.
So when we love we have to feel good. We cannot love half-heartedly: only from the skin, or the feelings, or the rationale, or the passion, or even from a spiritual ideal. Love integrates us and makes us whole, when it comes from the Heart. If it doesn´t feel good, it´s wrong.
It sounds corny, but its true.