What arouses and awakens our desire? What burst of inspiration draws us out of bed in the morning? If you’ve ever asked a member of the opposite sex, “What do you find attractive about me?” The answer that one receives is deeply personal. It forces us to glance into the mirror in a new way. Through the way in which we receive another person’s desire, our understanding of ourselves deepens.

Sometimes, after that desire is satisfied; it ceases to exist. It happens all the time. But some desires are so strong and so powerful, that they are a primal force in themselves. It awakens places in us that have been dormant for a long time. Perhaps even lifetimes. There is a strange sense of deja vu when that desire awakens. It is like we have known it before. Is it still a flaming fire that could devour with its desire? Or is it an old flame that is destined to be blown out?

How do we ever know? How can we ever predict the way that our desires will turn out? Religious texts always chastise us and command us to exercise caution when it comes to our desires. We shouldn’t allow them to consume us. The entire thought process is flawed. Is there a ‘Me’ that exists outside of ‘Me’ that is telling me not to do something I deeply want to do?

With age, we grow wiser. We know that certain desires are best left un-entertained. We should let them meander on and walk on by as we do a passerby on the street.

So why did I do it, then? Did I desire my own ruin? Did I desire to be annihilated by the hand of the volcano? No no, it cannot be. The world cannot work that way–or can it?

I could see her dancing in the distance. She was magnificent. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. For some strange reason, a surge of joy that I had not felt in a long time made its presence known in my heart. It had been a long time. A long time since I felt happy. A long time since I desired the company of a woman. It had been a long time since I desired a companion.

She was no ravenous or conventional beauty. In fact, there was a certain shyness to the way she moved. She was contained within herself. But I saw the fire that blazed within her. She seemed older, almost. I was drawn to that. She had a commanding appearance. Yes, that must be it. Even though she wasn’t like all the other girls, there was something about her that commanded my attention. I wasn’t the only one, though. There were others. Not that I cared. All I had to do was focus on what I was doing and do it well. I’ll deal with the competition head on when it’s actually time to deal with it.

Then, there’s that moment, when you wonder–will she like me back? What about me will she like? That’s why I always ask, “What do you find attractive about me?” The answer is never about you. It is always about something you possess that the other person longs to have. That’s why we seek out a companion. That’s why we feel that desire that we cannot contain. The subject of our deepest desire possesses something greatly valuable that we do not have.

By becoming close to that person, we are seeking to emanate that quality within ourselves.

I took my time getting to know her. I have never been the impatient type. I took note of all the little things about her. I wasn’t trying to impress her. It’s just the way my mind works. I notice things. I’m observant. When it’s time to make conversation, I ask a lot of questions. She usually pauses before answering. Some of her childlike responses made me smile. In fact, they still make me smile. With time, I came to understand the canons of knowledge where she is an expert. We’re all a little like that. Laypeople in some ways and experts in other ways.

I tried to impress her with all the things I’d done at work. Not the most original plan, but at least it’s predictable enough. I’m not sure that she was impressed. She’s probably met the likes of me before. So I tried to engage her on her interests. But she knew far more than I did, so that wasn’t the right approach either.

After trying long and hard, one day I finally asked her. “What do you find attractive about me?” I was hoping she’d say my eyes, arms or something of the sort. Actually, I’m not sure what answer I expected. She smiled, and with that secret smile of hers, she simply said, “Your voice. I wish I could speak in public like that.”

I told you. All our desires are mirrors.

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