The Four Noble Truths are life always involves suffering, the cause of suffering is craving, the end of suffering is possible, and there is a path to end suffering. I’ve seen variations on these, in particularly on the cause of suffering. I’ve seen attachment being used in place of craving. I’ve seen delusion, as well as ignorance. Even clinging. I’ve also seen desire being used. Ultimately, all of these are synonymous.

However, I think desire may not be as fitting. Like thoughts, desires come and go. Desires are impermanent. Like everything else, desires do not exist or arise independently. Saying desire causes suffering is limited. After all, you can’t stop from having wants. (Conversely, you can’t conjure desires from nothing.) It is really desire plus clinging that leads to delusions in which suffering is based. It is okay to have desires. It is when we impose our own agenda beyond and in spite of the needs of the situation—when we overreach—that we cause and experience suffering. When we are fully engaged in our current situation, no matter what it is, no matter if we are in a relationship or if we are single, we are manifesting our being and setting ourselves in array with reality. That is when desire does not obstruct living with intentionality.

On this Valentine’s Day, we could embrace who we currently are, and who we are with. Beauty is always available to us. Love is always in the air.