Question: How can I conquer my physical desires?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, we have to know whether desire really fulfils us or not. We think that when our desires are fulfilled we shall be happy. Before we actually desire, we have the fruit of the desire in our mind; that is to say, we feel that the desire will bring us satisfaction or fulfilment. But since we have launched into the spiritual life, we will feel with our inner being that desire can neither satisfy nor fulfil us. Once we feel this we can easily avoid desire or turn our life to other things.

When we are in the ordinary world, we see the fulfilment of desire as taking the form of satisfaction; that is why we get some hope of happiness in trying to fulfil our desires. But if we observe the life of desire from the spiritual point of view, we will see that in the first chapter there is no light, in the last chapter there is no light, and in the chapters in between there is no light. The light of desire is darkness from beginning to end. Darkness means absence of divine satisfaction. There is no satisfaction either in the birth of desire or in its fulfilment.

Desire and aspiration are two worlds. For a non-aspirant, desire is the all-important thing on earth. For a seeker, aspiration is the all-important thing on earth. An ordinary, unaspiring person does not consciously have the capacity to go beyond the boundaries of pleasure. But he who wallows in the mire of desire eventually feels that inside the mire is frustration, and inside frustration is destruction. He eventually realises that when he lives in the realm of the physical and material desire, he is caught in the jaws of a devouring tiger. But the sincere seeker begins his journey with aspiration; the middle of his journey is aspiration and the end of his journey is also aspiration. Inside aspiration, from the very beginning, there is divine satisfaction. The moment one aspires, one feels true satisfaction, because aspiration has the capacity to identify itself consciously and soulfully with the farthest corners of the globe, with the deepest and inmost Being and with the highest transcendental Self. If one feels the real necessity of aspiration, one will see that no desire — whether physical, vital or mental — can knock at his heart's door. Instead, Peace, Light, Delight and other divine qualities will freely abide there.

As you know, the sun rises in the East. If you face the sun early in the morning when you meditate, your concentration and meditation will be directed to the East. If you are running towards the sun, you will not be able to see other directions properly. But if you are running East while looking towards the West, you will lose speed and stumble. So if you see that the goal is in one direction, you have to focus your attention in that direction and run in that direction. Always, at every moment, you have to aim at your goal. If your goal is God-realisation, if your goal is liberation, then you should not look behind you or around you, but only run towards the Light.

How can you conquer your physical desires? Do not think of physical desires; think of your aspiration. Try to be a runner, and try all the time to surpass and go beyond all that is bothering you and standing in your way. Be a real runner so that ignorance, limitations, imperfection will all drop far behind you in the race.

Aspiration-cry is the only answer. I have written an aphorism which says:

When I think, I sink.
When I choose, I lose.
When I cry, I fly.

When I think of the entire world, of worldly problems, I sink. When I choose, when I make my own decisions, I really lose, because it is God who should make all decisions in and through me. But when I cry from the inmost recesses of my being, immediately I get inner strength, inner power, the inner urge and inner capacity in infinite measure to fly in the firmament of Light and Delight.