Aristotle understood that action depends on thought plus desire and that reason and thought by themselves can achieve nothing (Nichomachachean Ethics, 1139a). He goes on to describe desire as the engine for directing “the right thought” which is the basis of higher thinking. In her book, Li Zhi, and the Virtue of Desire, Lee describes Li Zhi’s insights about the role of feelings and how feeling involve the virtue of desire. Crucial to Zhi’s ideal of the good life is the ability to express one’s feelings, as the articulation of feelings leads to clarity, and clarity leads to new desires. In other words, the virtue of desire is at the foundation of all our actions and even our private thoughts and feelings. Desire is a natural and necessary drive that helps us formulate thoughts and feelings which eventually will lead to a progression of thought and action. But is desire by itself a virtue? Not necessarily. To become a virtue, desire has to be directed by the higher self, thus leading to higher desires that will set us on the path to self-actualization.
Desire is often omitted from religious inventories of virtues. There is constant reference to controlling our thought life and our desires. Christianity and Islam consistently talk about controlling the desires of the flesh and According to Buddhist belief, the goal of life is to live without any desires at all, because desires result in stress and anxieties that lead us away from a life of peace and contentment. However, this begs the question – can we truly be content without desire? Would we not be conflicting with our basic human nature which is to perceive something greater, some pleasure, some dream, some goal, even the goal of living a life of contentment free of anxiety and stress? What would we be without desires?
Desires are part of our basic brain structures. We see what is not and we ask why? We think of something that might give us pleasure and ask why not? Then the brain sets up a neural pathway that involves a goal that is intrinsically linked to the acquisition of this possible pleasure. A dopamine rush is then set out to motivate the body and the mind to obtain the pleasure. Once the goal is achieved we experience a serotonin rush that engages the pleasure center of the brain and sets up a neural pathway to enjoy this pleasure again in the future.
Human beings are creators, the motivation is desire, and the reward is pleasure. Ester Hicks through the voice of her spirit guide, Abraham, in the book Ask and It Is Given, states that desire is “the delicious awareness of new possibilities. Desire is a fresh, free feeling of anticipating wonderful expansion.” She goes on to say that we will “revel in the conscious awareness that you (we) have deliberately molded your (our) desires into being” and “when you (we) go with the flow of your (our) own desires, you (we) will feel truly alive and you (we) will truly live).
In conclusion, it appears that desire is indeed a virtue and life itself is based on wholesome desires of the body, the mind, and the soul. Our bodies and our drives lead to desires for feeling the pleasures of our bodies which includes sexual experiences. In fact, they lead to body, mind and soul connections with other human beings. They are simply a statement by our bodies that we wish to experience pleasure in its deepest forms. The mind wishes to experience life so that it can expand its knowledge of the world around it. It seeks to understand life in all its forms. The soul longs to dream and make its dreams come true. To reach self-actualization, we can follow our desires to experience the pleasures of our bodies; we can explore life in all its forms, and we can dream and let our dreams lead to desires that motivate us into making the dreams come true.
Here are my five applications to bisexuality:
- The desires of the body are part of human reality. There is no sin in desire. It is there to lead us to connection with others through the powerful sexual sensations of the body.
- The mind will try to evaluate if the desire is good for us. It will attempt to protect us from doing things that may be harmful, such as engaging in unsafe sex. However, the mind is also vulnerable to opinions, because it feels it needs to live in harmony with others. Therefore, it will try to abide by the mores of the society in which it lives. We may wish to override these mores from time to time and engage in activities that will bring pleasure to our being. We need to be conscious of what we are doing and why we are doing it. If we feel the pleasure is a healthy expression of who we want to be, we should set aside the restrictions of the ego and fulfill our desires without guilt and shame.
- The higher self is the best judge of what we should and should not do. It directs by feelings. If it feels good at a spiritual level it is automatically good. If it feels bad it is probably bad. We should get in touch with our higher self and learn to listen to the inner voice. This is not the voice of the ego; it is a voice without words. We shut down the mind and reach for the feelings from within.
- Our sexual desires usually lead to deeper desires. We seek connection. This is body to body through sex, mind to mind through shared knowledge and desire for learning, and a desire to spiritually vibrate and resonate with the spiritual vibrations of another. These vibrations are enhanced through body, mind, and soul connection. It can just be a full warm hug or it can be whatever we both want it to be.
- All paths should lead to self-actualization. It is the desire of the soul to experiment and experience, and move on from experience to higher knowledge and increased love energy. Pay attention to your desires and enjoy.
 Lee, Pauline C. ; Li Zhi, and the Virtue of Desire. Suny Series in Chinese Culture and Philosophy, Amazon. 2013.
 Hicks, Ester and Jerry. Ask and It Is Given. Hay House. 2004. (page 120).
 Hicks (page 123)