Desire is magnetic energy. It's what pulls us toward that which we want and can be a powerful motivator for action in our lives. Desire, and the energy contained within it, is arguably one of the main reasons we bother to do things in our human lives. Some mystical teachings suggest that karma itself is the energy of desire.
It is the magnetic pull of action and reaction that brings us back over and over again to work toward neutralizing the magnetic pull. Psychologically it is "the man behind the curtain" of our subconscious. Motivating our choices and preferences, sometimes consciously but often unconsciously.
In the psyche, desire serves as an impetus for satisfying our instinctual urges. Good ol' crazy Freud may have been onto something in suggesting that all of our desirous impulses link back to the pre-conventional stages of satisfaction. Our desire for more and more money may well be the replaying of a sense of being physically hungry as a child.
I think all of the above interpretations of desire are true and valuable. The spiritual, psychological, and emotional necessity behind the energy of desire keeps us "in physical matter" so to speak, so we can continue to try and figure out the real reason we are here.
Desire can however turn toxic. When desire becomes toxic, we become obsessed with the object of our desire; be it a relationship, food, alcohol, money, fame, sex, or even spiritual enlightenment. We create imbalance in our lives through the constant attention to that particular magnetic pull. At this point, satiating our desire is not enough and typically we "can't get no satisfaction."
We become, seemingly against our will, pulled toward that magnetic energy with brutish force. We say "I can't resist it", but what we really mean is that we've allowed the pull to become overwhelming, and we are failing to see (or choosing to not see) the reason behind the magnetic attraction
Working with the energy of desire is tricky because denying one's self often creates greater magnetic attraction; we've all heard the phrase, "what you resist persists". If we go this route we begin the process of repression, which only seeks to build the powerful magnetic charge, but instead of neutralizing the energy, it postpones it until there is a large expulsion of the repressed energy. This is when we find ourselves eating a gallon of ice cream, smoking a whole pack of cigarettes, or having multiple affairs because we didn't acknowledge the legitimacy of the desire itself.
In my experience, the only way through the energy is to acknowledge it and then seek to become that which you desire. Now, you may be thinking: If I desire ice cream, you're telling me I need to become ice cream?! Well, yes and no.
Obviously you can't physically become ice cream (unless you recently graduated from Hogwarts and then you may know something the rest of us don't) however, you can put your awareness into the ice cream on one level and identify what the ice cream represents for you. In this way, you've taken the fetish out of the fetishized object. It's never about the object of desire, and always about the thoughts or emotions surrounding it.
Any object of our desire is a fetish. Not all fetishes are kinky ball-gags and latex catsuits. In tribal cultures a fetish is a physical representation of an idea or concept that holds significance (or an energetic charge). To unpack the representation of the object and fully feel your desire, you should seek to identify the psychological, mental, emotional or spiritual need you are seeking to fill with the desired thing. When you do this, you embody the more authentic expression of the thing itself, and can in a sense, meld with the desired object without having to necessarily physically satiate that desire.
So if it's ice cream, you figure out what you are really eating when you put that spoonful of butter-pecan in your mouth. It could be nurturing... So when you're eating ice cream, just remember you're really eating nurturance. If every time you are pulled toward the ice cream you can remember that the magnet of nurturing is pulling you to the freezer, you begin to neutralize the charge.
If it's alcohol, and every time you drink you feel regretful and sad, remember that when you drink, you're drinking regret and sadness, and then figure out why you feel the need to do so.
The more you work with the thought form behind the desired object, the less extreme the pull will be. It doesn't mean you don't eat some ice cream if you want it, but it means you've introduced consciousness and conscious sentient choice into your consumption.
Some people fear that neutralizing their desire will make them complacent, lazy or "settle for less" than they think they deserve. However, in my experience the karmic pulls of a particular life will always play out in the ways that are most beneficial to the soul, not necessarily the personality.
So while the personality may desire fame, fortune and admiration, the soul may be excitedly working on experiencing the energy of humility and meagerness. If the personality continues toward satiating its desire for fame and fortune it may achieve some level of success and satisfaction, but more often than not when we work against our soul's journey we often yield wacky or undesirable results.
If the will of the personality is strong enough and the person does achieve a relative amount of fame and fortune, it will often build up a polarized, opposite, magnetic charge to experience a stronger expression of humility and meagerness in order to balance the experience (if not in this lifetime, then in the next).
In this way, the spiritual expression of desire, or karmic magnetic energy is never a punishment for wrongdoing, because it's not about doing it right or wrong, it's about understanding the experience. Through understanding the experience you neutralize the magnetic pull to experience the extremes, and start to work toward balance (that is until another magnetic pull comes along for you to work with). This is what is meant in ancient text by becoming freed of karmic obligation.
eHow.com gives a very manly method for neutralizing a magnet which involves taking a blow torch and torching the sucker until the magnetic energy is released from the magnet. Working with awareness of the thought-form rather than the object itself is akin to become a torch. In many ways this energetically frees us up to enjoy the things, people and experiences in our lives on a much deeper level, without the heavy weight of unconscious emotional and mental baggage. We can truly enjoy things without the charge of desire. But we love being desirous as human beings right? This is why we love rich foods, sex, falling in love, and achieving our goals. It is what makes this a uniquely human experience on many levels.
If all desire were neutralized, there would be little motivation to stay in your body, unless it were to help other people realize the value of working with magnetic energy in this way. It is desire that keeps us striving, moving, and seeking more, and most people will not likely neutralize all desirous energy, but perhaps working with a particular magnet you find stressful, limiting, overly-consuming or incredibly elusive will either a.) open you up to finally bringing that thing into your life (just don't expect it to look the way you thought it would, or b.) create heat around the magnetic energy and as such, cause it to lose charge and importance in your life.