Question – What is the difference between desire and longing?
Osho – Krishna, desire is desire for something that is outside you. Desire is objective. Longing is not objective. Longing is for that which wants to explode in you. It is inner, it is subjective. If a rose wants to become a lotus, it is a desire. But if the rose LONGS to become a rose, it is longing. If the seed wants to sprout and become a tree, it is a longing! It is perfectly in order. It is how it should be. But if a seed wants to become a butterfly, it is a desire.
Desire is absurd: longing is existential. Longing is perfectly beautiful: desire is dangerous. And the distinction is very delicate and one has to be very much alert. Longing is opening of the inner: desire is accumulation of the outer. Man desires money: man longs for meditation. Man desires power: man longs for purity. Man desires knowledge: man longs for awareness. Man desires the world: man longs for God.
That which is intrinsic to you is longing. Divert your energies from desire into longing. Desire distracts you from your Tao, from your Dharma, from your nature. Desire takes you astray. It allures you into fantasies which are not possible. It drives you crazy, because it gives you hopes which cannot be fulfilled, which are unfulfillable. Time, energy, life, will be wasted, and in the end only frustration in the hands and in the heart.
Longing is fulfillment. If you want to become a rich man, you are desiring. But if you want to become a sannyasin, it is a longing. Desiring depends on others: in longing there is no need to depend on anybody else. It is your own flowering. It is already there – just it needs the right soil and the right time It is waiting for the spring to come….
Source – Osho Book “The Perfect Master, Vol 2”