So often, us humans are walking around with intense desires that we have to contend with. Money, power, sex, relationships, love, beauty, youth, health, longevity, success and belonging pull on us. Some desires come from wounding, some are embedded in ancient samskaras, and others come as playful inspirations. What’s interesting is we often don’t take the time to sit with the experience of desire and contemplate the emotions around it and question why it’s arisen in our consciousness.

I had an epiphany one day when I was sitting at my altar crying, replaying the same desire in my mind that had plagued me for years—the wish for a monogamous partner—and suddenly I wondered, where did this desire even come from? Why was it so strong? Why did it have such a strong pull?

And then it dawned on me…I’ve seen it in movies, on social media, and in my community. It’s what’s normal in society. Could it be that this heavy, heart-wrenching desire running through my body-mind causing me all kinds of torment for years was nothing more than grand illusion caused by a social construct? Had I been hooked on nothing more than an advertisement of the mind?

There are many advertisements of the mind. One person might be hooked by traveling the world, another might be hooked by having a $100K month in their biz, or in my case it was wanting a beautiful relationship. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these desires in and of themselves. The problem is when they hook us from a very unconscious, wounded place.  For example, you could be secretly wanting to travel the world as a form of escape rooted in family dynamics with your controlling mother, wishing for a $100K month to prove your worth to those kids who bullied you in school, or wanting a romantic partnership as a way to feel validated externally.

Cosmic law states “like attracts like,” and deep forces in our psyche attract or repel. Often when we want something, we don’t realize the unconscious process around it. There may be struggle, grasping, and even pain around the desire. It’s almost as if we choke the desire, suffocate it with our intensity of craving. And in this way, we repel the exact thing we want so badly.

This is why clinging to these “advertisements of the mind” doesn’t do us a bit of good if we’re hoping to manifest. Instead, it causes lots of suffering, makes us repeatedly spend lots of money on coaches and spiritual programs, and keeps us desperately trying to fill a void. We simply cannot manifest from a tense, contracted place inside ourselves. Naturally, from there we can only attract more tense, contracted experiences that leave us grasping for more. It’s only when we have the courage to hold space for our desire, investigate it, let it in fully, and start to be a friend to it that things can change. Awareness is the antidote!

You can recognize when something’s hooking you because the desire for it feels sticky, heavy, and connected to hurt. It may also feel very contracted in your body and like there’s an anxiety, subtle urgency, or grasping for it. Something beautiful we can do to remove the hooks is meet our core wound desire consciously and let it unravel. Here we give it awareness and it becomes longing. Longing is more nourishing…it’s where desire meets freedom. This nourishment is fathomless and infinitely entwined with Love. To cultivate this level of loving awareness signals emotional maturity and a readiness to the Universe to experience true manifestation.

In addition to longing, to truly manifest requires that you make room for surprise and unpredictability. Your desire is still allowed to exist, and to be honored as precious and important. But you also need to give it freedom, space, lightness and playfulness. This can only happen through consistently showing up and being willing to emotionally digest any tense feelings or tender ache around it. This requires an immense amount of self-compassion, commitment and patience.

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