It is almost impossible to conceive of human life without desire. Hence in order to have a meaningful life we must explore deeply into the nature of desire. Desire is not bad as such, but it is important to differentiate between unhealthy and healthy desire. Unhealthy desire produces suffering whereas healthy desire produces well-being, happiness and peace. If we place healthy and unhealthy desire on a spectrum, at one end we have the motivations that lead to some of the worst and most horrific things people do. But at the other end, desire expresses some of the most beautiful and noble aspects of human life.
We can distinguish between the two ends of the spectrum by differentiating between craving and aspiration. Craving represents desire which is in some way compulsive, and is not easy to abandon. It takes a toll on our physical and mental well-being and can lead to alienation from the self. It happens primarily because the mind is the master. By keeping us craving for material and tangible things the mind exerts its absolute control over us.
On the other hand mindfulness is to calm down the incessant churning of desire so that we can discover at the other end of the spectrum our deeper wellsprings of motivation and realize our healthy desires and aspirations. Mindfulness not only helps us get in touch with our aspirations, but it helps prevent aspiration from becoming craving. This doesn’t mean that we don’t act on our aspirations, but that we don’t cling to their success. There is something satisfying and wonderful in a healthy aspiration that is not dependent on outcome. Peace, happiness and tranquility are experienced when cravings are dropped and aspirations are accepted.