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Does Meditation teach you not to have desires?

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

This post talks about meditation and the one of the most discussed dilemmas that the practitioners run into. It is widely believed that meditation or spiritual practices make us be free of desires. But how do we be free of the desires as this very world we stay in almost necessitates us to have desires in order to be successful. Then what do we do? If we be material and have desires then we get away from greater consciousness, and if we do not have desires then it is difficult to survive or be successful. One such question is recently asked to by one the practitioners. During this post, I thought to provide the question that was asked and my response to that. I hope this will be helpful for people in similar dilemma.

Meditation teaches you to be mindful…to not desire…to not want…be satisfied with where you are and what you have. But doesn’t that kill your goals and dreams?

Never understood that aspect. How does one not desire and want…but fundamentally we are programmed to want to climb the ladder of life. We want to grow and and have aspirations and have dreams and goals.

I feel like taking this aspect away makes you more of a numb robot. Help me understand.


Dear Friend,

This is the fundamental question people struggle with when they start to move away from the association of desires. Please know that meditation is not an absence of desires. In fact, to have an absence of desires is also a desire.

It is our association, expectations, and/or absence of our preferences (read as desires) to the outcome that brings the pain.

You are right that humans are programmed to climb the ladder, but does that bring happiness? Why do we desire in the first place? Isn't that our or society's idea of happiness, achievement, or success? Haven't then we also seen that people who have what many people desires, are also unhappy as they desire something else? Does the fulfillment of desires bring happiness or our understanding of getting something (attachment of value)? Having said that, it takes a learned mind to move away from desires.

Whenever it is talked about not to be attached it is due to the fact that it is our association, expectations and absence of our preferences to the outcome that brings the pain. How wise it is to be attached to the outcomes when we have limited control over them. Granted, that we can develop capabilities to have a greater control, but one must know that there is a system in place in the universe that determines the natural course of what, why, when, how and for whom things happen. Without that understanding, we only have limited control over the outcome. That is why outcome is not directly in proportion to the hard-work or skills that one puts into. In other words, hard work or amount of efforts do not and can not guarantee the success (desirous outcome); they can only increase the likelihood of the expected outcome (or fulfillment of the desires).

Meditation does not dictates to not have desires. Meditation only brings forward what is hidden inside of us. In other words, meditation simply uncovers a greater understanding and awareness for our consciousness to realize. You need to ask what is that you really want and why. And, what will happen even if you get or don't get what you desire. If you want to be successful in the material world, your would need to focus and develop those skills. However, if you want to be go deeper and realize the truth, you will have to focus more on going inside (that also means getting rid of the world desires to a great extend, if not completely.

Any of the achievements and goals in this material world will be left behind when we die. Only the experiences that shape our awareness and realization travel with us in the higher realms. That is one of the reasons it is suggested to be less and less material and be more and more real (not the body, the real you because body will perish but you in your true form will carry on).

We all are here for a reason. There is nothing wrong in having desires and living the life to the fullest (as per society and material understanding) when you don't care about deeper understanding and coming out of this cycle of the illusion called life. Because when we start to realize the life is a toy that gave happiness to us when we were a kid, thinking it is real, the same toy starts to get lesser indulgence from us as we grow up and realize it is just a toy, not real. In other words, when our ability to separate our from unreal (illusion) and real increases, we no longer can see the toy the way we used to.

As for your dilemma, you need to find peace and move on. If you find peace in running after desires and dreams, then fulfill them by all means. Many a times, it becomes important to pay attention to the absolute must desires that are related to survival and a creating a congenial environment. But in doing so, please be aware that at times we don't see the real reason for the attachment of desires and we consider them to be necessary when they are not. So please watch out for that and remember, if you do not find peace in the material world or fulfillment of desires, then you know the answer yourself.

More importantly, rather than curbing your desires, develop skills to not be attached with the outcome. And if you must attach to the outcome, develop your skills to control the outcome. How do you do that? By raising your awareness and getting deeper within you.

I sincerely wish you all the best for your journey!

Wish Blessings!🙏

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