Extracts from The Four O’Clock Talks - Discussions with John Martin Sahajananda (Brother Martin)

Human Desires and the Search for God

‘What drives some people to seek God and others not to be interested?’

            Everybody is searching for God. It seems that the grace of God is only touching certain people, but ultimately it is God searching in and through all of us. The great sage would tell us that it is the divine light within us that is looking for its divine source. We are like rays of sunlight trying to go back to the sun. God is in every person, trying to go back to the Source. We feel we are searching for God but it is actually God searching for us. One way in which God searches for us is through our desires. All our human desires are ultimately desires for God. The whole purpose of our spiritual journey is to stop this movement of desire that is going outwards for fulfilment and make it an internal movement to the Source, which is God.

The Desire to Live

The basic human desire is to live, and so we eat and take care of our body, but the direction we are going is to death. We will not find eternal life if we only focus on the external. God is eternal life and ultimately, we are looking for eternal life. That is why, for me, there are no atheists in the world. Atheists are those who do not want to live, and everybody wants to live. Once we find God we will never die. We will die physically but there is no real death. In our desire for life we desire God.

The Desire for Sex

One of the strongest human desires is sexual desire. What is the basic longing in sexuality? Yes procreation, so that you do not die in the sense that there is continuity, but the desire in sexuality can also be seen as the deep longing in the human heart to lose oneself and be united with another. There is a type of temporary death in sexual union, two die and become one. Ultimately, though, this desire for unity cannot be achieved through physical sexuality. You get married, or you have a relationship, but one day you have to separate. One dies and then the other has to be alone. The desire for sexual union is really the desire for God. The direction we take is that we want to achieve that physically, externally, but it isn’t possible to achieve the ultimate union through the physical. It is only possible when we find the kingdom of God within. When we discover that “I and God are one” that is real sexual union. That union is eternal.

The Desire for Wealth

Another basic desire is the desire for wealth. Wealth gives us a sense of security. The more wealth I have the longer I will live. Christ told the Parable of the Rich Fool. There was a rich man who produced a good crop but he had nowhere to store it. He decided he would tear down all his barns and build bigger ones to store his grain and goods. “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you…’ And Christ said, ‘This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God’ (Luke 12:16-21). Even though we think we have all kinds of security, those securities are not real security. Our wealth cannot come to our rescue when we are losing our life. The great kings are helpless in the face of death. Real security comes from God. Our desire for security is desire for God, but again the direction this desire takes can differ. We don’t seek inner security; instead we seek security in the external world. When we have external security there is always the fear of losing it, isn’t there? I want to protect it all the time. With that type of security, we are always insecure.

The Desire for Social Recognition

Humans desire social recognition. There is a deep longing in each one of us to have position and power so that we feel we are somebody. We want to have a name, power and labels. We feel empty inside. Sometimes you look at the amount of energy people put into getting position and power that they cannot even take with them beyond their grave. If you are not able to take that position and power from here to the next life, what is the point of putting all that energy into it? Christ said, ‘First of all seek ye the kingdom of God’: search for something that you can take from this life to the next. Even our desire to have these labels is our desire for God; the only difference is we want to gain recognition from outside instead of from within.

The Desire for Knowledge

Knowledge is power. The more you know the more powerful you are. But the highest knowledge is to know oneself. Christ said, ‘What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?’(Matt. 16:26). Whatever we acquire, we lose, but what we realize within ourselves is eternal, that is our True Self or God.  No one can take that from you. Even our desire for knowledge is desire for God. The only difference is that we are trying to get it from outside not from within. That is why it is written in the Katha Upanishad, ‘The senses go outwards, but the sage looks within and finds immortality.’

There is no one in the world that is not searching for God. When we say God we mean eternal life, not life but eternal life; eternal union, not temporary union; eternal wealth, not temporary wealth; not temporary power but eternal power; not temporary knowledge but eternal knowledge. Seeking the eternal is the way to live a holy life. Deep down everyone is searching for God, and this is something we must present to people. What are you looking for? Why do you want to work hard and be rich, for what? When you live like this, you are going to die. We need to divert our attention from this temporary life into the eternal life and then we will know how to enjoy our physical life, our sexual life, how to understand and live our wealth, power and knowledge. It is very important to discern what is eternal and what is not. To search for the kingdom of God means to search for the bread of eternal life, eternal union, eternal security, eternal power and eternal knowledge.

Taken from: The Four O’Clock Talks – Discussions with John Martin Sahajananda  - Page 78 – 82     -  Compiled by Carrie Lock












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