The first hindrance is desire for sense pleasure—pleasant sounds, sights, tastes, smells and bodily sensations. Desire in itself is not wrong or a problem—it is the concomitant mentality in which we believe that if we can string together enough pleasant experiences—the right job, relationship, personality, looks, amount of money, etc., we will have a permanently happy life without cease—the “if only…” mentality.
The arising of the five hindrances in practice or in daily life can be the cause of struggle, or the growth of insight. These energies can teach, rather than overwhelm us, through mindful awareness.
Neither the desire itself nor the object of the desire is to be demonized. Rather, applying mindfulness, we see the energy of desire keeps us scanning the horizon for the ultimate solution; through the habit of wanting mind, we believe we are incomplete. This perpetuates discontent, leaving us grasping for that thing elsewhere that obscures the joy of contentment and wholeness. The wanting and consuming in the mistaken belief that security and final happiness are thus achievable move us away from the natural perfection of here and now.
Instead of believing in its siren call, we can see how desire interferes with our ability to relate wisely to what is here. We see clearly how the object of desire, once attained, inevitably loses its sheen. How many previous “must haves” are now buried in your closet or long ago discarded? Was it getting the object that quenched your thirst, or extinguishment of the flame of wanting, that returned you to the cool shade of contentment?