The Buddha did not say we should not have any desires. He recognized that we live in a world of restless energy, of wanting, of discontent.
Out of compassion he gave us a teaching that allows us to investigate the reality of this world. The Buddha taught a path of investigation but we cannot really use the ability to investigate the realm of our mind and body very thoroughly unless we have already cultivated a certain amount of peace, a certain amount of ease.
The mind is often compared to a pond or a lake. If the lake is constantly stirred up, constantly agitated by the elements, it is difficult to see very deeply into the water. We can only see what is at the bottom of the lake when it is quiet and still. Like a lake, the mind too can be agitated or still.
One of the conditions for being able to investigate the nature of our mind is the ability to be still. This is the first step in meditation – learning to quieten down. Unless we do this we will always be in a restless, worried state.
Until we have a certain amount of inner stillness, we will be unable to clearly see the changing nature of our feelings, thoughts and habits and the way they influence us or affect other people.
— Ajahn Sundara, Seeds of Dhamma
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