Bonnie Meets Francine and Learns The Mightest Motivator

When my sister, Bonnie, visited me last week and saw my 2005 Panoz Esperante GTLM named Francine, she lit up.

Bonnie has never been into cars, but she sure wanted in Francine.

And once behind the wheel, she didn’t want to let go, or get out.

It was raining that day, so Bonnie didn’t get to drive Francine.

Bonnie has been married for almost twenty-nine years. When her husband, Frank, got into the car, his eyes grew large and his smile grew wide.

I let him start the car. As he heard the roar of Francine’s engine, he seemed to radiate bliss.

Bonnie looked at him and said, “I haven’t seen that look on your face in twenty-nine years.”

Frank replied, “Get me a car like this and you’ll see it all the time.”

Ao Akua,


PS – If you think desire is bad, or the cause of all suffering, then you are believing a myth. Buddha actually said misunderstood desire and attachment to desire cause suffering, not desire itself. As Mandy Evans points out in a guest article just added to my site, babies learn to walk because of natural desire. It’s the most powerful force. It’s your inner compass letting you know you are on your path. But most of us squelch it. What do you desire?


  1. RevRon's Rants-Reply
    June 3, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    According to Buddha, desire and ignorance are the cause of suffering. Having filled one desire, our nature is to desire something else, the cycle repeated ad infinitum. Doing this, we display our ignorance as to the ability of things to bring us joy.

    By focusing upon the acquisition of *things,* we are distracted from the quest for joy, for things can only offer temporary distraction, not joy. Having fulfilled a desire, we become attached to the rush which the fulfillment brings.

    If the acquisition of a coveted possession (such as a luxurious automobile) is the sign of progress upon a spiritual path, what is the significance of acquiring more and more automobiles? And do you really think your brother-in-law would smile all the time, if only he owned a car like yours?

    verification: edrmlm

  2. Joe Vitale-Reply
    June 3, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with desire. You posted your comment because of desire.

    The problem is when you are attached to it. As I’ve said many times here, the goal is joy; the stuff is simply illusion. There’s nothing wrong with it. Have all the cars you want. When you judge it as bad, you’ve missed the lesson.

    I’m not the one who said my brother would smile more if he had a car like mine; he said it.

    And who’s to say he wouldn’t?

    Again, the spiritual awakening is now, whether you have a new car or not. The car is neutral. Your beliefs about it are not.


  3. Mark Silver-Reply
    June 3, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    I agree, Joe. In Sufism the teaching is that the entire universe came into being because the Divine ‘longed to be known.’ Our desire is an echo of that Divine longing.

    And, the problem is when we attach to it, as you so rightly wrote. If we know that material things can never truly satisfy our deepest needs, we can delight in the material world around us, without needing it.

    We’re all addicted to love. It’s when we believe that material things are going to provide that love that we see harmful addictions like substance abuse, unconscious wealth accumulation, destruction of natural resources in pursuit of ‘profit.’

    Desire is healthy, as long as you don’t let your ego run riot with it. 🙂 That’s my experience.

    Mark Silver

  4. RevRon's Rants-Reply
    June 3, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Condescension noted, Joe. It is significant to note that the Buddha was very specific when he stated that desire is the root of all suffering. Therefore, tell is the desire one has to buy their first expensive car linked to a spiritual path? And the second car? And the third?

    There is nothing wrong with owning things, but when you are compelled to buy more and more things, especially when you don’t have a practical need for them, you’re responding to that very desire that the Buddha advised us to put aside. No amount of rationalization will change that. Buy all the cars you want, but attempting to tie their purchase to some higher spiritual calling – and especially recommending such action as being consistent with a positive spiritual path to others – is disingenuous, at best. The car – like any other possession – is neutral. Your desire for it – and another, and another – is not.

  5. Joe Vitale-Reply
    June 3, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Well said, Mark.

    I’m amused that people are spending their energy judging the desires of others.

    No one knows with certainty what the Buddha actually said, but what it appears is that he said attachment to desire causes suffering, not desire itself.

    I’ve never advised anyone to collect cars, or anything else, but if that is their desire, so be it. Who am I to judge them?

    In my next book, Zero Limits, I explain that our job is to keep cleaning the interference to the Divine’s message so that we can hear it and act on it.

    These days my only desire is to hear and act on what the Divine wants me to do. I feel if we all did that, we’d not be doing the same things or wanting the same things, but we’d each be playing a role that fits into a wonderful puzzle that works harmoniously.

    As you so nicely pointed out, it’s not the things, it’s the joy.

    Desire is healthy and a Divine given gift.

    In fact, the Divine is desire.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.


  6. RevRon's Rants-Reply
    June 4, 2007 at 5:59 am

    You are, of course, welcome to hold to any belief you choose, Joe. And I would never presume to judge your desires, as they have no substance in my own life beyond being a source of occasional amusement.

    However, when you subvert teachings by which many millions of people guide their daily lives, and reduce those compromised principles to marketing tools, you’ve crossed a line.

    I get a chuckle out of the notion that the human desire to possess material things mirrors the hunger of the Divine to be manifest. How ennobling! 🙂

  7. Amy J + Energy = Bliss!-Reply
    June 5, 2007 at 8:32 am

    What great interaction here! Yummy! I love a lively discussion about What Is.

    It seems however, everyone has overlooked one so very obvious point… The Buddha left his wealth, his family and his royal palace to set out on his lifelong wandering path DUE TO THE BURNING DESIRE TO END ALL SUFFERING.

    So without desire, there would have been no teaching we call Buddhism.

    Just something to ponder.

    Love and Abundance to All,


  8. RevRon's Rants-Reply
    June 5, 2007 at 11:11 am

    “So without desire, there would have been no teaching we call Buddhism.”

    Good point, Amy. The big difference is that the Buddha turned away from the attachment to *things* in his pursuit of enlightenment. He realized – and continually taught – that his “desire” for peace was inconsistent with the desire for possessions. It is the subversion of this most basic tenet of Buddhist philosophy to which I object, especially when one attributes to Siddhartha a mindset which he so clearly and repeatedly denounced.

  9. June 11, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Hi Folks.
    I have needs like air food and water and clothing and shelter in winter. I have desires as well. I am not a Buddhist monk but I have friends who are. From what I have read and heard I agree with Joe on this one, it is the attachment to “Things” that causes the problems. It is not wrong ( In my opinion) to desire something, just not get attached to it. I have been taught to be a steward of “Stuff” and I give away stuff often. I have more to learn about this and I think my girlfriend is a better master of giving than I am. I do not think Buddha would be upset with me for desireing a better life than what I now have, also long as I am not attached to the outcomes of my thoughts

    Michael J. Kaer
    Author of “What Money Can’t Buy”

  10. June 11, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Hi folks .
    Sorry for the typo’s I am watching “The Secret” as I am typing, so I am not completely focused.


  11. Radiator-Reply
    June 11, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I cannot claim authenticity to any sacred text. I do know, however, that NONE of them have been beyond the touch of human editing, for whatever purposes. This includes the Bible, Koran, Buddha’s writings, etc.

    Therefore, I believe it would be most accurate to cite the source of the comments, not the author. For example, “The Bible states…” or “The Koran states…”

    RevRon’s words seem to me to be not-so-subtly inflammatory, not to mention accusatory. What would Buddha say? What would Jesus say? What would Lao Tzu say?

    I’m not certain, but I feel confident that They would be smiling and/or laughing at getting tangled at the mind’s level–the level at which this debate is happening. I feel certain that Buddha would laugh at the serious tone here, not to mention any sense of “seriousness.”

    Despite the citation to different texts that attempt to validate the veracity of Buddha’s words (of course, this can never be proven), go a little higher than mere words. Doesn’t it make sense that ALL enlightened beings would state that the attachment to desire–nay, anything–is the root of all suffering? This can also apply to the attachment to being right, too, not just desire, cars, power, money, fame, poverty, sex, etc.

    As it states in the beautiful “A Course In Miracles”:

    Words are but symbols of symbols, therefore twice removed from reality.

    But then again, I may be “wrong.” 😀

    Blessings to all…

  12. June 12, 2007 at 7:01 am

    Joe: (Greetings from Las Vegas Nv. & Molokai Hi.)

    You have not only used “The Law of Attraction” & The Great Law of “Case & Effect- (As Ye Sow So Shall Ye Reap) but with understanding Ground Zero & “Aloha” (Love is SHARING a little bit or a lot and is the HEALING CORE of our Soul)- – – have proven that not only “The Secret’ (1. Believe 2. Ask & 3. Recieve is “TRUE” but also that of my mentors of 37 years – Earl Nightingale’s & “Nick” Carter’s – “THE STRANGEST SECRET” (Only 6 Words) really are simple & are proven truths and MOUNTAINTOP IDEAS!!!

    Lord only knows what you will think about and materialize next but with your understanding of these great Lawls & Truths – – “Nothing Is Impossible” (Maybe you should think Bigger!!!).

    In Gratitude & Expectancy,
    (From Las Vegas)

    PS – Really like your new Blog. Very clear, crispt and appealing.

  13. June 12, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Aloha means more than Hello & goodbye. It also means more than LOVE. It means EVERYTHING WITH LOVE IN THE CENTER and Love means to SHARE a little or a lot. Mahalo (Thank Your Joe for spreading Aloha around the World!!!

  14. RevRon-Reply
    June 14, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Radiator –
    Perhaps calling someone on a misrepresentation is accusatory. Mea culpa. And when that misrepresentation is about something dear to one’s heart, the emotional energy that accompanies the intellectual can come through. Again, mea culpa. Perhaps the lesser of evils, where the alternative is remaining silent when the spirit of one’s teacher is poorly portrayed. The Buddha may laugh, but I’m not there yet, and beyond the Master who once guided me, I’ve yet to encounter anyone who comes close.

    Once a novitiate, and a long-time disciple of Rinzai, I have a modest comprehension of what Lord Buddha taught. And knowing Joe for a number of years, I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on what he teaches, as well. A commitment to truth compels me to make note of the disparity between the two.

  15. October 25, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    “Whenever you have a thought that excludes or judges anyone else, you aren’t defining them. You’re defining yourself as someone who needs to judge others.”

    -Wayne Dyer

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