The Trap of Selfish Desires By Apostle Azemobor Gregory
Human life when rightly lived is simple and tranquil, but it is not rightly lived while it is bound to the complexity of lust, desires and wants to gratify itself.
A life driven by egocentric inordinate cravings is not real life, because it is afflicted by a burning fever and painful disease which originate in an unenlightened state of mind. The curtailing of one’s desires is the beginning of wisdom; their entire mastery is the consummation of a blissful life.
The sad reality that defines our lives as individuals today is the blind pursuit to satiate our appetite for material possessions, thinking that such an enterprise will procure a euphoric life of peace and happiness, but life experiences have shown that the more material wealth we acquire the more empty and unhappy we feel in the inside.
Look at your life and tell me if that big house you just bought or the latest automobile in your garage has filled the conspicuous void in your soul. Be true to yourself! Okay, what about the new promotion you just received in your office? Are you happier now?.
You have just be elected into a political office with its attendant prestige and luxury, that enable you to wield so much power and influence over others. I hope this new ‘achievement’ has translated into a state of true fulfilment in your life? Can I get a witness? But please, don’t misinterpret my submission here: There is nothing wrong in an altruistic economic endeavour to earn a living, what I am saying, in essence, is that true happiness can only be found outside the frontiers of selfish desires and acquisitiveness. This is because God created you to be useful to others, and your inner peace and fulfilment can only be actualized when you align yourself to this higher purpose.
Now lust or desire is not to need, but a rebellious superfluity, and as such, it ultimately leads to spiritual deprivation and misery. The cravings for things lead ever farther and farther from peace, and not only ends in neediness but is, in itself, a state of perpetual want. Until it comes to an end rest, satisfaction is an impossibility. The hunger for things can never be satisfied, but the hunger for peace can, and the satisfaction of peace is found, is fully possessed when all selfish desire is abandoned.
Then there is fullness of joy, abounding plenty, and rich and complete blessedness. In this supremely blessed state life is comprehended in its perfect symmetry and simplicity and the acme of power and usefulness is attained. Then even the hunger for peace ceases because peace becomes the normal condition, is fully possessed, constant and never-varying.Apostle Paul warned us explicitly of the dangers of worldly desires. Hear him: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever”-1 John 2:15-17Now hear this! When a man is rescued from selfish desires his mind is unencumbered, and he is free to work for humanity. No longer racing after those gratifications which leave him hungry still, all his powers are at his immediate command.
Seeking no reward he can concentrate all his energies upon the faultless completion of his duties and accomplishment of all things to fulfil all righteousness. The fully enlightened and fully blessed man is not prompted to action by desire but works from knowledge. The man of desire needs the promise of a reward to urge him to action. He is as a child working for the possession of a toy, but the man of knowledge, living in the fulness of life and power, can at any moment bring his energy into requisition for the accomplishment of that which is necessary.
He is spiritually a full-grown man, to him, all reward has ceased; to him all occurrences are good; he lives always in complete satisfaction. Such a man has attained to life and his demand is in obedience to the simple demands of exact and never failing laws.The parable of the prodigal son vividly illustrates the futility of vain desires. The prodigal son, while in his father’s house not only had all that he required but was surrounded with a superabundance.
Desire was not necessary, because all things were at hand; but when desires entered his heart he ‘went into a far country and ‘began to be in want’ and it was only when he became reduced to the utmost extremity of starvation that he turned with longings towards his father’s home. Some bible translations capture his ‘self-realisation’ as ‘ when he came to himself. Very apt interpretation of self-discovery.
This parable is symbolic of the evolution of the individual and the reality of our contemporary society, Man has come into the complexity of cravings that he lives in continual discontent, dissatisfaction, want and pain and his only cure lie in his ‘return to the father’s house’- that is, to actual living or being, as distinguished from desire, but oftentimes a man does not do this until he is reduced to the last extremity of spiritual starvation when he has reaped the experience of pain and sorrow as a result of desire, and he looks back with longing towards the true life of peace and plenty. Wherein is emancipation from the thralldom and fever and hunger of desires. This longing for the true life is called aspiration and it should not be confounded with desires. Desire is the cravings for a possession; aspiration is the hunger of the heart for peace.
Let me share a little personal experience that buttresses the insatiable nature of desires and cravings for material possessions. It is quite funning! Each time I remembered, I laughed at myself. Many years ago, I think it was in 2002 when I bought my first car. It was a station wagon Opel Omega. I brought the car home that day and I was overwhelmed with ecstasy. You could imagine how I felt to own a car for the first time in my life. My parent never owned a car while growing up. I used to admire my friends whose parents owned cars. I had wished that one day when I grew up I would own a car too, and here I was holding the key to my personal car. Wow! The funniest part of this story was that I could not sleep that night. I remember I woke up several times to ‘inspect’ the car, staying awake all alone in my compound for almost 40 minutes just beholding my long-cherished desire. Fast forward to two years later, then I could drive on the ever boisterous Lagos roads, but one experience I had which, most car owners reading this piece right now would attest to, was the fact that I began to feel dissatisfied with the car- this feeling was aroused by the cars I saw on the roads while driving my Opel Omega which were more beautiful, more exotic than mine. My car did not even have an Air Condition then. For me I needed something more ‘tushed up’; something more befitting. Gradually my desire for my ‘ idol’ began to wane.
Sometimes while driving I would imagine driving another more beautiful car. It was a bizarre episode! Although I had bought other cars after then, the feeling of lust I felt is what I believe drives many other people to become car freaks. Many times you wonder, what an individual does with six cars packed, adorning his garage, while he can only drive one or two at a time? The reason is simple; the man who owns a fleet of cars is held captive by his desires and lust, and most time he thinks such acquisition would satiate his inordinate quest, but how wrong he is. Car manufacturers understand perfectly our cravings for vanities. And so they are constantly churning out car models and designs to entrap our desires. Sometimes I am baffled when I see the latest car models and you discover that what differentiates a new model from an old one could just be the shape of the headlight. Something as mundane as that, and somebody would buy the new model because of that insignificant change on the body of the car.
I think such proclivity is tactless! Men, immersed in desire, ignorantly imagine the conquest of desire leads to inactivity, loss of power and lifelessness. Instead, it leads to highly concentrated activity, full employment of power, and a life so rich, so glorious and so abundantly blessed as to be incomprehensible to those who hunger for pleasure and possessions. Apostle Paul apprised us about the dangers of our irrepressible pursuit of material riches when he said, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction”- 1 Timothy 6:9 It is, however, injudicious that Apostle Paul’s counsel does not appeal to our society of today where money is deified, and people are ready to commit any atrocity just for pecuniary gains.
Driven by unquenchable desires, almost everybody is ready to steal, cheat, or even kill to become rich. And this obscenity is even enamoured or glamorized by musicians, when you hear songs like “ if we nor make money na wetin we gain”. What nonsense! it is sad to contemplate the level of moral degeneracy our society has sunk into. Beloved, let me leave you with this piece of advice, although I know that messages like this do not make sense to those beguiled by desires. You must make effort to extricate yourself from the bondage of selfish cravings and be disentangled from the intricacies of lust for material possessions. You must learn how to perceive the simple spiritual laws and structure of life. There is more to life than the vanities we chase.
Attune yourself to the higher purpose of self-discovering and self-realization-what Mahatma Gandhi called ‘god realization. Connect to the ‘God’ inside of you. Be guided by your moral compass to advance the cause of good and service to humanity.
He who comes to this state leaves behind him all lack and hankering, all doubt and perplexity, sorrow, and uncertainty. He lives in the fulness of satisfaction, in light and knowledge, in gladness and surety. God bless you.
Azemobor Gregory is a messenger of Truth and apostle of love for humanity.
Follow him on instagram: @gazemobor