At the core of each person’s nature are unique seeds of desiring, which flourish through the development of personality, not through any suppression of it. We are not to become pale renunciate ciphers with no wantings. The animals of desiring, the rooster of lust, the duck of urgency, the horse of passion, the peacock of wanting recognition, the crow of acquiring things, the lion of majesty, the zebra of absence (I made that one up), these are not to be thwarted but lived, transmuted, and incorporated. This is the art of forming a personality. Only when we live the animal powers do we learn that those satisfactions are not what we truly wanted. There’s more, and we are here to follow the mysteries of longing beyond where they lead. The purpose of desire is to perfect the longings, for at the core of longing is the Friend, Christ, Krishna, the emptiness, wherever it was that Igjargajuk, the Eskimo shaman, was when he came back from forty nights on the ice floes with one sentence, “There is nothing to fear in the universe.” The great love at the center of longing has no fear in it.

-- Coleman Barks