Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness—darkness within darkness—the gateway to all understanding.
-Tao Te Ching
The absence of desire is the acceptance of reality as it is. Rather than wanting people or situations to be different, the desireless look upon the truth of what is with a sense of wonder and mystery which transcends rational thought. This way of seeing brings the instant and lasting experience of indescribable beauty and peace.
To desire is to look upon the world with the belief that situations or people ought to be different from how they are; and that salvation can only be found when these imagined manifestations of physical form occur. Furthermore, to desire is to believe you know what is good or bad and you have the power to make it so. Rather than noticing reality, you ignore it. You long for the future moment. Fight for it. Manipulate. Work harder. Sacrifice more. One day it will all come together and you will be happy. This is what Eckhart Tolle calls being here but wanting to be there.
Because mystery and manifestations are from the same source, the master has learned to live and to do without ever losing the sense of mystery. When we stop believing that happiness is found in an external situation, all of life becomes play. Absent of the desire to manipulate any particular outcome, our relationships are loving and free and our doing is pure, honest, gentle and beautiful.
All things arise from and ultimately return to the source, the darkness, is the nothingness—the eternal empty space that surrounds and pervades all the physical matter in the universe. This is the unmanifested, the one reality, God, the Tao.
Do not attempt to end desire by suppressing it; rather, by realizing that the entire concept is absurd. Look upon what is without judgment, enjoy all work and doing, accept whatever outcome while keeping the mystery alive.
“Do you want to improve the world? I don’t think it can be done.” -Lao Tzu