The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity and Freedom

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But how can you discern what will truly satisfy your desires? How can you increase your capacity to achieve them?

The Four Desires

What if your desires seem to conflict with one another? Is it really possible to live a spiritual life while also wanting material pleasures and success? For more than three decades, master teacher Rod Stryker has taught yoga in the context of its deepest philosophy. Now, in this wise and richly practical book, he has distilled those broad teachings into a roadmap for becoming the person you were meant to be. It is filled with revealing true stories, provocative exercises, and practices for unlocking your inner guidance.

[R.E.A.D] The Four Desires Creating a Life of Purpose Happiness Pro…

The Four Desires is nothing less than a complete path toward living your best life possible—a life that is rich in meaning and in means, a life that attracts and emanates happiness, a life that is your unique gift to yourself and the world. Widely considered one of the preeminent yoga and meditation teachers in the United States, he has taught for more than thirty years.

After more than a decade covering a variety of conflicts in the Middle East and Asia, he was now appearing nightly on network television. Just when it seemed that he had attained everything he had ever aspired to and spent his life working for, Dean's life as he knew it came to a devastating end. He had experienced various levels of excruciating pain for the past six years after suffering a fractured vertebra and declining surgery.

But now he knew that something was terribly wrong. Rushed into emergency surgery, he woke from general anesthesia to a doctor standing over him, giving him the grave news that the operation had "failed" and that Dean would be "permanently disabled. Within months, he was little more than what he described as a man "pickled on painkillers.

His time celebrating Finn's birth was cut short, however. Dean's health, which had been deteriorating since the failed surgery, had taken a turn for the worse. Tests revealed a new, life-altering diagnosis: cancer. His prognosis was "a year or two to live. Months passed with Dean bedridden and in all but a hopeless state. Then, with less than a year to live, Dean had an epiphany. Lying in bed with his young son playing nearby, the nightmare of the past few years and the weight of dying suddenly came crushing down on him.

He was overwhelmed by the realization that he was moving irreversibly toward fulfilling the doctors' prognosis; he and his son-the most precious thing in the world to him-would soon be separated forever. Suddenly, as though breaking through the dark cloud that had been overshadowing his whole life the past few years, Dean saw himself through the eyes of his son.

If nothing changed and he was to die, Finn's only memory of his father would be that of a man who had committed to nothing other than being a helpless victim. Dean realized that he had so succumbed to self-pity that his son had never seen his father do or be anything that Finn could look back on and be proud of.

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It was not Dean's fault that he broke his back or had cancer, but Finn had not seen him even try to make the best of the time he did have- that was Dean's responsibility. Someone somewhere in the world had it worse than he did, Dean realized, and someone somewhere was doing better than he was with far less.

Dean immediately made a resolution.

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  • He would change. There was no way to know if he would survive cancer or ever be an able-bodied father who could play baseball with his son, but he made a commitment nonetheless. For however many days he had left, he would be a living example to his son of how a man could, or in Dean's eyes should, live his life. He would face the circumstances in his life exactly as he would want Finn to face his own future challenges.

    A few days later, Dean found himself doing yoga for the first time in a class that was being offered at his rehabilitation center. Within minutes, he knew he had, in his words, "found his path to healing. Driven by his resolve, Dean immersed himself in learning everything he could about well-being, spirituality, and cancer therapies and applying what he learned. He consumed books on diet and nutrition, yoga, spirituality, positive thinking, visualization, and meditation.

    He dramatically changed his lifestyle, inside and out. He willed himself to practice yoga and meditation for hours a day-in the beginning, crawling out of bed to get onto his yoga mat. As the months passed, things began to change. Dean could sit up for ten, then twenty, then eventually sixty minutes at a time. Soon after that, he was able to walk to the kitchen. He cut back on his pain medication and eventually stopped it altogether. More victories came. Eventually he was able to drive. And then came the one change that meant more to him than any of the others: he was able to lift and hold his son.

    Miraculously, and to his doctors' amazement, Dean had healed his broken back. But his transformation didn't end there. A short time later, about the time he was supposed to be dead, Dean received a new diagnosis: he was "cancer-free. A person can do all that he did and more and still not be cured of cancer or heal a broken back, but his is more than a story about beating the odds.

    It is an illustration of the power of desire coupled with the willingness to use every resource available to achieve a goal. It is a telling reminder of just how potent you can be in affecting your destiny. Viewed from a different perspective, Dean's story can also be seen as ordinary, in the sense that it portrays the very definition of what constitutes a human being, what in Sanskrit is called a kama yoni, which means "the species which has the privilege of performing actions and which thus can change the course of its destiny.

    This idea was eloquently expressed by French essayist Charles Du Bos, who I believe conveyed the essence of all yogic teachings as well as the formula for achieving a truly fulfilled life when he wrote, "The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. Wanting a clearer understanding of what had transformed him, he was hoping to make use of the same power to overcome the current challenges in his life. Working with the processes of the Yoga of Fulfillment allowed Dean to see that having to face the prospect of imminent death, of being permanently separated from his son, had been the catalyst he needed to be willing to change his life.

    His intention to be "a living example" to his son for whatever time he had left altered the course of his destiny. Dean's miracle-like accomplishments had everything to do with his willingness to sacrifice what he was in order to become what he could be. It began by him acknowledging his desire and finding a specific goal that he knew deep in his heart was absolutely worth achieving. Dean's overriding desire was to give his son a father he could love, respect, and perhaps even one day emulate.

    The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom

    The Yoga of Fulfillment helped him realize that he had intuitively applied the principles that the ancient tradition teaches are key to achieving our goals. Once he learned the principles, he was able to apply them systematically to successfully meet the new challenges in his life. Dean's intuitive unearthing of a singular and compelling purpose for his life combined with his all-consuming commitment to fulfilling it is a powerful illustration of a profound truth that was something of a credo for my first teacher, Mani.

    Drawing from an ancient scripture, he would constantly repeat, "A person can achieve almost anything, can surmount any difficulties, if they can harness their power. As Mani reminded me time and time again, you have extraordinary power to accomplish extraordinary things-enough to "achieve almost anything" and "surmount any difficulties"-if you are willing to formulate goals and learn how to direct your innate power toward achieving them.

    The foundation for achieving any and all that you aspire to is the power of desire. Desire Is Everything and Everywhere Desire touches everything in the natural world. It is easy to lose sight of just how powerful, pervasive, and integral desire is to the world in which you and I live. If not for a spark between your biological father's sperm and biological mother's egg, you wouldn't exist.

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    • Thanks to one particularly desirous sperm, you are in your present form, reading these words. A course like no other, applying the most profound insights into happiness and lasting fulfillment, the Four Desires process will transform you and your life——forever. In short, this weekend will empower you to fulfill your highest destiny. The Four Desires is based on the ancient insight that your soul has four distinct desires…. Dharma —the desire for purpose, the drive to become who you are meant to be.

      Artha —the desire for the means health, security, finances to prosper materially. The journey of learning to fulfill these four desires is how each of us creates our unique path to lasting happiness and, at the same time, how we each achieve our most vibrant, creative and meaningful contribution to the world.

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      Friday, June 9, — Sunday, June 11, Himalayan Institute Retreat Center. Rod Stryker. This program has passed. Email Address. Start Free Trial. Details Start Friday, June 9, End Sunday, June 11, Topic Yoga Asana.