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Integrating Your 4 Freedoms (Part 7 of 9) - Desire As Freedom

Desire can lead us to overindulgence, to betrayal, and to misery. You can recognize desire as simply another element of life (like your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations) and choose to act on your desires or not.

Just as we are sometimes taught that pleasure is a sinful path to follow, so are we warned of the terrible power of desire. Desire can lead us to overindulgence, to betrayal, and to misery.

“The abstinent run away from what they desire, but carry their desires with them. When a man enters reality, he leaves his desires behind him,” so says Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.i You can interpret this to mean that an awakened person no longer has any desire, or you can understand that it means he is not governed by desire. Desire exists, but in making his choices, he does not do so based on desire. He leaves desire behind.

You can recognize desire as simply another element of life (like your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations) and choose to act on your desires or not. You don’t have to suppress them, but you know that you are not your desires and therefore are not ruled by them. You are not at the mercy of your passions.

On the contrary, desire provides motivation. Realizing the true desires of your heart is one of the great pleasures in life. Desire is fuel for healthy living. The freedoms of desire include:

  • Desire for spiritual awakening
  • Desire that supports you manifesting your vision
  • Desire that supports fulfilling your purpose in your life
  • Desire as passion and pleasure.

The trap comes when you feel you must act on the desires you feel, particularly sexual desire. If you feel horny, you have to do something about it. Conversely, if you have no sexual desire, then you have no reason to engage in sexual activity. Conflict in relationships can occur when one partner has more sexual desire than the other. The lustier partner might pester the other for more sexual activity and, if it isn’t forthcoming, might seek sexual satisfaction outside the relationship, feeling quite justified in doing so.

Desire is energy, fuel for life.

If, however, you can recognize desire as energy, just as emotions are, you can decide how to use that energy based on all your freedoms. Sexual energy is simply another form of life force energy. By perceiving desire as fuel for action, you can transform and use it for the highest self-actualization. Just as energy can be converted into matter and matter into energy, so too can you transform sexual desire into something else, such as emotional connection or creative inspiration.

This is not suppression of your desires; it is transformation embedded in freedom. Such knowledge allows you to open without reservation into intimate emotional connection with more than just your chosen spouse. It allows you to touch others with love, tenderness, and compassion without fearing it will lead to inappropriate sexual touching.

Knowing that you can transform sexual desire into emotional connection also empowers you to convert emotional connection into sexual passion, thereby overcoming problems of mismatches in sex drive. It can enable you to maintain a fulfilling sexual life to any age, despite hormonal changes that reduce libido, such as the decline of testosterone. You can begin lovemaking, you can even initiate it, without already being aroused. Skilled lovers who are emotionally open and energetically connected, with conscious mental focus and attunement to their bodies, know that passion will awaken as lovemaking progresses. Lovemaking becomes more than just a release of sexual tension, it becomes a meditation.

Tantric, Taoist, and Egyptian sacred sex practices regard lovers’ sexual union as a physical expression of the highest consciousness in which all Four Freedoms integrate seamlessly. For example, Tantras are commentaries on the dialogues between the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Shakti, the masculine and feminine aspects of the same deity. When they make love, they merge as one and all life flows from their sacred embrace. “All the Universe is the play of Sakti-Siva. Sakti is Siva, and Siva is Sakti.”

Yoga means union. Tantric yoga is a direct route to the unity of being, a realization of God-consciousness. As Tantric and Chan (Chinese Zen) master Daniel Odier says, “Pure happiness is the non-differentiation between the tantric practitioner and the universe….”iii In this awakened state of illumination, ordinary sex is elevated to the level of sublime spiritual bliss, something far beyond the simple pursuit of pleasure or enhanced orgasms. According to the teachings of Chan master Houei-hai, “If you create duality, that’s ordinary passion. Sacred passion springs from an absence of all duality.”

Excerpted from our new book Sensual Love Secrets for Couples: The Four Freedoms of Body, Mind, Heart and Soul, by Al Link and Pala Copeland, LlewellynArticle Search, 2007.

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Al Link and Pala Copeland own and operate 4 Freedoms Relationship Tantra. They regularly host lover's romantic weekends near Ottawa Canada, and weeklong retreats in exotic locations. For more info Visit, and their blog or send email:

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