The Truth About Wanting
Whenever we want something, we generally start suffering. We tell ourselves “I will be happy when I get what I want”. We are basically telling ourselves that we cannot be happy or contented until we get what we want. We believe that getting what we want is the only way we can end the discomfort of wanting, and if we believe that, that is what we will experience. But even if we get what we want it won’t satisfy us for long, and we will soon want something else. Wanting doesn’t just apply to material possessions; it applies to wanting to be seen, heard, understood, respected, loved, wanted, attractive, successful, famous, rich, enlightened, etc.
The happiness that we associate with getting what we want actually has nothing to do with getting it – we are happy and contented because we don’t “want” anymore. We have incorrectly associated happiness with getting what we want, but actually it is “not wanting” that makes us happy. We are happy because the burden of wanting has been temporarily lifted.
The Truth About Wanting
Our true-Self is whole, so it wants for nothing and is always happy. The ego-self, on the other hand, wants because it feels inadequate and lacking. The ego is trying to make up for its feelings of lack by acquiring things – hence all the wanting. External things cannot actually fill an internal hole – it is the value we put on these things that satisfies us, for a while at least. But when we realise that these things don’t actually have any meaningful value, the illusion quickly wears off. Rather than learning from this experience we still mistakenly believe that something else will satisfy us, so we keep making the same mistake over and over again.
Wanting is a sense of lack, and “getting” is the ego’s way of avoiding that sense of lack. Being comfortable with the lack/wanting is the first step in realising that there is no lack. It is a way of connecting with our true-Self, who knows no lack. So don’t try to resist or repress your wanting – if you want something: feel the wanting. Then you may discover that you don’t have to get what you want in order to feel good. This is the real truth about wanting!
We feel good when we stop believing that wanting is bad and getting is good. We feel good when we simply allow the wanting to be. We feel good when we simply allow ourselves to be. It is the inner turmoil we create around wanting and getting that keeps us from feeling our inherent happiness and contentment.
Everything we truly want, we already have in abundance. We don’t truly want a big house, a fast car, lots of money and our perfect “soul-mate” – what we truly want are the good feelings that we associate with having these things (e.g. peace, happiness and contentment). No matter what we think we want, what we all ultimately want is peace, happiness and contentment. We already have these essential qualities in abundance because they are aspects of our true nature; we have just lost sight of them. Wanting is a natural process that can help us to rediscover these “lost” essential qualities, but only if we really feel the wanting (and assign less importance to actually getting).
A Different Approach
Wanting doesn’t have to be a thread that we must follow until we get what we want. If we break the link that we have created between wanting and getting, we can simply allow our wanting to be; without feeling compelled to do anything about getting it. If we sit in our field of wanting and just “be” we will discover that everything we truly want is already present within us. When we break the link between wanting and getting, we discover a new link between wanting and already having. So don’t try to deny your wants, and don’t try to satisfy your wants – just feel them and discover that you already have what you truly want. Like everything else in life, wanting is a direct invitation to discover more of our true nature.
Unlike the ego’s wanting, the soul’s wanting is not motivated by fear and lack; it is driven by a longing for wholeness and unity. The soul can sense its own potentiality and has a natural desire to transform that potential into reality. This authentic wanting is what drives authentic psychological and spiritual development. In contrast, the ego’s “spiritual” wanting (e.g. psychic powers and abundance) leads us away from the authentic path and impedes our authentic development.