WoW 101: On the depth of desire, Meaningful Action, part 8 [Words of Wisdom]

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WoW 101: On the depth of desire, meaningful action, part 8


This episode is part 8 in a series I'm calling Meaningful Action.

Part 1: On practicing awareness in the journey towards goodness

Part 2: On who are you becoming?

Part 3: On wise heroes

Part 4: On the value of virtue

Part 5: On small practices

Part 6: On changing course

Part 7: On the false self

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Your desire is about what you want.

Your desire, or your will, is also called your Spirit, or your Heart in the most wise of all literature. It’s that part of you that deeply yearns for meaning, love, and hope. A core difference from other animals is the depth that humans desire. The human will. It goes far beyond merely a will to survive and meet basic needs. It’s what fuels art, poetry, and the ambition to do something significant with your life, such as sacrificing yourself for another. It’s part of the Divine spark within us.

You can influence what you want. Choosing ​Wise Heroes​ cannot be overemphasized.

The more shallow your desire, the shorter your time horizon. The more shallow your desire, the more you are focused on quickly changing your mood. Shallow desire is about fulfilling a short term satiation of your feelings. Binging on food, sex, or numbing yourself with distracting behaviors.

The problem is that shallow desire does not fulfill. It leaves you hollow.

The more deeply you desire, the longer your time horizon. The longer your time horizon, the more discipline is needed. We all naturally ​want something for nothing,​ But the deepest desires require the most significant sacrifices for the longest periods of time. Marriage. Parenting. Running a business or nonprofit for example. All of these are easy to start, and exceedingly difficult to flourish in.

If you want to be able to say yes to the deepest desires, you must have the self control to say no to your shallow desires. Moving from good to great is largely about your strength to say no. In the long run this is best done by growing deep desires.

So feeding your desire with a healthy fire is critical.

And working to regularly strengthen your discipline will help you get to where you want to go.

So again, desire is about what you want.

Ambition is about how widely you want to spread your desire. Ambition is seeking to influence others with your desire.

The more ambition you have, the more discipline you need. The further you go in accomplishing your ambitions the more temptations you will face.

Discipline is what you will sacrifice to get what you want.

Fortitude is how determined you are to get there.

Flourishing is an awakening to deep desire.


“Goodness draws all things to Itself and is the great Attractive Power which unites things that are sundered—unto the Good all things are turned—and after the Good all things do yearn.” This Good, which is also the All-beautiful, is the Goal of all things, and their Beloved, for all things do and must desire the Beautiful and the Good.”

Margaret Smith quoting ​Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite​, ​The Way of the Mystics​

“Desire doesn’t spread like information; it spreads like energy. It passes from person to person like the energy between people at a concert or political rally. This energy can lead to a cycle of positive desire, in which healthy desires gain momentum and lead to other healthy desires, uniting people in positive ways; or it can become a cycle of negative desire, in which mimetic rivalries lead to conflict and discord.”

Luke Burgis, ​Wanting​


What do you most deeply desire?

To what degree does the focus of your desire rest on the future of acquiring things, achieving accomplishments, or recognition from others?

How deeply do you desire good for those who have hurt you?

(Use these questions as a journal prompt and prayers this week)


Seek to deepen your desire every day. The quality of your life depends on it.

Live wisely,


Did someone send this to you? Do you want to cultivate more of the good, true, courageous, and beautiful in your life?

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