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  • Rudy Bauer

Desire and Fixation

By Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D., Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, A.B.P.P.


Rudolph Bauer,Ph.D  author; Edited by Tom Walsh


Desire and Fixation

We have been following Penam Rinpoche’s  teaching  that fixation is the singular problem.  In Dzogchen, fixation “un-determines” our experience of the awareness field.


Mentalization of Desire

To experience true desire as it can be experienced, it is best, really best, not to have desire located as a simple mental fixation located in the mind alone.   Mentalization makes true desire impotent and fragmented…..desire is experienced without the help of resources, without the power of resonance, and without the power of the sea of psyche. 

The very manifestation of primordial awareness is the manifestation of desire. Desire is the manifestation of awareness, just as all experience is the manifestation of luminous awareness. Desire in the mind alone becomes a metaphor of hope and hopelessness…desire becomes probability and  evaluation….desire becomes future orientation…desire becomes concealed and lost in time perspective….Future orientation of hope and hopelessness is a feeble attempt to overcome the indeterminateness of experience. Hope and hopelessness are scales in the mind. Desire becomes located in the scale of cognitive psychology and desire becomes lost in probability evaluations. 


Desire as a function of the Desire of the Other (Lacanian)

Actually to know your own desire is an accomplishment. As our desire can easily become the desire of the other. Or better said our desire becomes the function of the desire of the other.  Our own desire is marked by the desire of the other.  Is this my own desire or is my desire a function of your desire?  Your desire awakens my desire.  My desire awakens your desire.  Intra-psychically and systemically  the question arises:   Is my desire my own desire, the desire of my mother, the  desire of my father, the desire of the institution as law, the desire of deus interpreted to me by the other as law?  And who is the law? 


As a subject, I can be subject to the demands of the other, the power of the other, the wish of the other, the fantastic singular power of the other -- existing in relation to the desire and imagined desire of the other.  When you combine the desire of the other and the law your subjectivity becomes subjugated, and you live in subjugation to fear. 


Desire can also be a function of the generational field. Desire floats and can be a transmission within the generational field.  Thus desire can be situated within the unfolding family system. Your very position in the family system can be the organizer of your desire. 

The history of desire is often concealed and foreclosed.  In many forms of Vedanta and Buddhism, as well as in forms of Christianity, desire is considered the source of suffering.  Samsara is considered a function of desire and Nirvana is to be free of suffering which is to be free of desire. The desire (and demand) of such traditions is that you have no desire. There is a foreclosure of desire.  This is a nihilistic injunction and within this framing there is a foreclosing of the experience of primordial awareness itself.  Spaciousness contracts and luminosity dims. However, with its allowance of desire, the power of Vajrayana overcomes these limitations. 


Since the manifestation of awareness is the manifestation of desire, the very foreclosure of desire can lead to the foreclosure of the Nirmanakaya dimension and the resulting devaluation of the world.  The human world is a world of desire (desire created Baltimore, desire created you and I, actually desire creates this paper; desire creates the world). Desire is within the very source of creativity.


The foreclosure of desire, this dissociation of desire, the cutting off of desire, creates dissociated states within the personality, a dissociated personality and the internalization of nihilism.  The result is emptiness within the person and an empty life filled with flatness and deadness. 


The early teachings on emptiness and void were not the understanding of the unfolding of luminous potential space, such as the teachings found in the later Mahayana and Vajrayana. Desire for the divinity of oneness is signified as the simple desire for emptiness and absolute nothingness, resulting in a schizoid personality.  Negation of subjectivity is negation of manifestation of primordial awareness.


Subjectivity is primordial awareness manifesting within your mind-body continuum as you.  It is the primordial openness of the great expanse in you, as you.  The opening and the light of awareness within you as your beingness of being is subjectivity.  Subjectivity is a floating metaphor, as mind alone, as   awareness of mind, as awareness of awareness, as a field in its multidimensionality.  Subjectivity extends and expands as it becomes what it is.  Primordial openness in you is your awareness sunyata.   Openness…awareness is experienced as the field.  The openness crossing openness is true intersubjective experience.  


The very manifestation of awareness is the manifestation of desire.  Desire is the manifestation of awareness.  To foreclose desire is to foreclose awareness, to foreclose the light of movement.  Awareness is stillness and movement…not stillness alone.

To foreclose subjectivity is to foreclose the manifestation of luminosity; it is to foreclose the great expanse.  Subjectivity, and the primordial openness which is subjectivity, is not a thing; nor is it a substance.  Subjectivity is the manifestation of primordial awareness in time and in space within a mind and body context. It is the pervasive openness of sunyata; sunyata embodied, gnosis embodied. 


The antisubjectivity frame is called, in psychoanalytic discourse, the antilibidinal ego which also, at times, reflects the primitive superego, a dissociative frame of life imposed on and transmitted to others. This deconstruction of subjectivity is often the result of the deconstruction of the person, of self agency.  So, often when a person cannot deconstruct subjectivity, the primitive superego, which is the law and demand of the big other, the result is subjugation and self hatred, hatred of ones own subjectivity which is primordial awareness itself manifesting in you as you. This self hatred is unbearable and stuns the actualization of potentiality. 


Subjectivity is not a thing, and subjectivity is not an entity. Awareness is not a thing and awareness is not an entity. Personal awareness is not an entity. Awareness is not an entity…a human being is both an entity and non entity…the body and mind is entity and personal awareness is primordial awareness itself. As you know the self in your self, and the self in otherness, you are becoming aware of awareness itself. This is the true secret of dzogchen.  Awareness is not a thing and neither are you in your youness, in your essential awareness. 


Guide to Desire


Desire must be held within the field as field.  Most often desire is split from awareness and located within the mind alone.  The most primary dissociation is between the mind and the awareness field. The mentalization of desire creates fixated states and states of vast frustration. When desire is no longer located within the field of awareness, the potency of desire, the alchemical vector of desire, weakened. And when the fire (which is the potency of the life forces, life energy itself, and the force of innate bliss itself) is located in the mind (in thinking, in affect, in fantasy, in sensation) the result is fixation and impotency.  The creative power of desire is undone, and desire rather than being psyche and the manifestation of psyche becomes mental.  When desire is allowed to be within the power of psyche, desire actually invokes and brings forth what is desired. 


The sovereign subject is vulnerable to the perception of the other because his own desire is marked by the awareness of the the desire of the other.  The sovereign kind is subject to the demand of the other, revealing sovereignty to be a phantastic projection of impossibly singular power.  Sovereignty conceived of as singularity is also impossible as the subject exists in relation to the desires and imagined desires of others. This places us in magical realism.


There is always the desire of desire. Desire creates Baltimore.  Technology is a function of desire.


Four Levels of Desire


The four levels of desire are like the four levels of speech or the four levels of mantra. Desire begins from the very subtle to crystalline forms of energy to sounds, symbols and language.

Ultimately, desire is the manifestation of the elements…in a conjoined and action form for benefit of the being and beings in co-emergent experiences. Desire is a configuration of the field…as the field configurates it may configurate within the mind and split off from the embodiment. Being located only in the mind of thinking, feeling, sensation, memory and fantasy creates a dissociated trance like state…unable to use the resource of the unbound field of awareness.


Cosmological Support


The heart is the source of desire.  Desire must be held in the heart.  And subtle  desire arises out of heart.  The source of light is within the tent of the heart.  As gnosis (the emerging luminous energy of primordial awareness) manifests, this manifestation is arising from the heart of the great expanse.  Within the heart the elements manifest in dynamic orientation, in resonance and taking the shape of psyche. This psyche is experienced as drops or spheres or configuration of luminous energy throughout the body of light. The body of light is hidden and unexplicit within human beings.  So often what one is experiencing is desire in its manifested state. To become aware of desire in the heart and integrate desire into the heart allows for desire to bring forth what might be brought forth. Desire in its subtle configuration is the functions of the dakini -- amplification, pacification, magnification, invocation. 


Transmission of Desire through Heart Essence of the Great Expanse


Desire is not unlike a subtle alchemical substance which brings forth experience and actions. 


These subtle alchemical configurations are in the form of light, crystalline light, crystalline drops and crystalline sheaths. These sheaths are knowingness, luminous viscous knowingness, permeating the body --embodiment. Subjectivity is not a thing.  Awareness is not a thing. Subjectivity is openness, as potentiality becoming actuality -- sambhogakaya actuality and nirmanakaya actuality. The potential condition or the condition of potentiality manifesting as you.  You as archetypical dimension and as nirmanakaya dimension.  For the west, often subjectivity was a thing, an entity. Human beings are entities and god was an entity. Forms. The west has been preoccupied with universal forms, and universal substance, but as things. Universals are some kind of thing. Language itself is a thing, with rules and yet is beyond a thing. This beyond is the symbolic function. The symbolic for some is a thing and yet not a thing.  Even the universal forms are for some a thing and not a thing.  Desire itself is manifested in this discourse of thing or not things.  I have a desire for a thing, even if it is your thing, is the true meaning of narcissism. The poorly used term of ego refers ultimately to subjectivity becoming a thing and preoccupied with things. Things are of the mind and not of awareness, not of psyche.


Love is not of a thing or of mind but of subjectivity recognizing subjectivity or presence.  Presence is the manifestation of awareness.  Personal awareness is primordial presence manifesting in your mind and body continuum.  Lacan struggles with this,  as do the Thomists. Meister Eckert, the bravest of the brave, the most brilliant of the brilliant, (a bodhishatva in the truest sense) would speak of the god beyond god, or god as nonentity, beyond the god as entity. You will find the same configuration in some of the Hindu scriptures with the intermediary such as the son of man concept in the desert religions.


Subjectivity is within all sentient beings and within all material phenomena as the elements and configuration of elements. The animamistic world, anima mundi is subjectivity, psyche. 

Poor object choice is a function of desire, a desire attuned to the desire of the other.  Desire for the other is often a function of the desire of the other.  In the concealment of the real the desire for the other, which is the desire of the other, is an earlier other.  The identification with familial objects is not the form and shape of the object but the desire of the object which is represented in the contemporary other, which is either presented or imposed.   There are many forms of desire -- to annihilate, to adore, to mute, to become the other, to feed off the other, to love the other, or to experience the purity of the other, the consciousness of the other, the self of the other, the subjectivity of the other, the gnosis of the other.  Subjectivity is ultimately gnosis -- alas gnosis contained in the box of the mind. 


We began our discussion and elaboration with the unformulatedness of existence, the underdeterminates of the future and the unpredicatability of reality.  And so creation is ex nihilo.  It liberates the subject, the object and being itself from a preorganized and predetermined process.  In this context, precise singularity and absolutism are impossible.  

The real of the unconscious are concealed as subtle presence. The union of the symbolic and the real, the oneness of symbolic and real.  As Ridgin Dorge once said as a wonderful answer, when asked the simple question, “does this cup exist, is it real”, “Yes it is real and it does exist, but you would not know it is a cup without language or the symbolic function.”.  It is the oneness of the symbolic and the real that takes one beyond idealism and realism.  Consciousness is both real and symbolic.  Consciousness manifests realities that exist and that are symbolic. This has special significance for desire which is both attuned to the real and its symbolic manifestations.  This answer was so great and actually brilliant in its simplicity.  In spite of the obscurations of the would be translator. 


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