Tag Archives: wants

What Do We Really Need?

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At some point we’ll be moving
this I know
We want to live a place with good schools
a neighborhood where there is a sense of community
not too far from our work
in a house that meets our needs.

But what do we REALLY need?
We got into a discussion tonight.
I want that fourth bedroom
to welcome family and friends
I would like a room for arts and crafting,
a second bathroom
so that I don’t have to sit around with a
full bladder while my sister
takes her 30 minute shower
I want
a room of my very own for
my meditation,
so that I can write in peace,
so that my spiritual vibe
doesn’t get buried
under dirty socks
and cat litter
and pee pee diapers

But what do I REALLY need?
When I think of the luxury I enjoy
relative to the majority of the world population
I feel ashamed to long for a more spacious house–
how dare I want more?

I don’t need to worry about my next meal
or enough warm clothing
to get my children through the winter…
I have both arms and legs,
a mind that thinks
and a heart that loves.

do I really need a fourth bedroom,
do I truly need a space all my own
to put my meditation cushion?

Now I’m caught in that old question
about wanting versus  needing…
Do I give myself permission to want?
Do I rein in my desires and simplify my life?

I need:

air
water
food
clothing
shelter
human connection
nature

Really, that’s all I need.

But damn, a second bathroom would be nice.

A Few Things I’m Wanting

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Nature
mountains, trees, streams,
rocks, moss, ferns,
earth
sustainability,
health, deep breathing,
connection,
beauty,
creativity,
elemental balance,
trust
peace
appreciation for what I have,
movement, dance,
rock climbing,
yoga
music
art
delicious food,
love,
the ability to direct my life force energy
in service of others to enrich their lives
evolution
communion
lightness

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This evening I was mulling over the idea of signing up for an online business school that one of my teacher colleagues recommended to me one week ago at our teacher training. It’s relatively expensive, and I would certainly need my husband’s agreement before I could make such an investment.

Thinking about this expense, I began asking questions like:

“Will I experience measurable results?”  
“Will I be able to map out a plan for a clear progression in all aspects of my inner and outer worlds?”
“Will I be able to generate greater income that will allow for an abundance of different experiences for myself and my family?”

These questions led me to ponder yet another important question:  “What is it that I really want right now?” The above poem offers some answers to that question, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.  It is just a few little words describing what was on my mind, just a few words revealing what I keep in my heart…

And now I want to know, really I do–What are YOU wanting right now? Do you often ask yourself that question? Have you noticed your desires changing as time passes?  Are there certain among them that remain constant? Tell me!

Can You?

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Do you know how to stop,
take a breath,
and tune in?

Are you able to identify
the thoughts, feelings,
and resulting sensations in your body?

Do you know what you want,
and how to ask for it skillfully?

Can you affirm that your wants and needs are important?
Can you discern between a legitimate need
and a passing fancy?

I invite you now, today,
to acknowledge what you are wanting and needing,
and then boldly, daringly, courageously
Ask for what you want.

Can you respect the autonomy of others?
Can you abstain from throwing a tantrum
when things don’t go exactly as you hoped?

Can you continue to love
the person in front of you
when they don’t behave as you would like?
Can you offer them the same compassion
for which you are longing?

Can you affirm your power to meet your own needs,
and take steps toward authentic self love?

You can.
Yes, you can.

Do you know what would happen
if every person in this world
possessed such awareness?

World peace.

Let’s Talk About Desire

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One of my dear blogger friends, Willow, left a comment on last night’s post asking me about my take on desires.

Is it part of your philosophy to let go of desires? I’ve been wanting to ask you about that for a while, curious to learn what your beliefs are about desire, and this seemed like a good post for doing that. For myself, I’m fine with having desires and try to take the attitude that whatever comes of my desires is a blessing–that if the desire is fulfilled quickly and easily, great; if there are many challenges before I get my desire, they were meant as learning experiences, and if I flat out don’t get what I wanted, just the wanting and the experiences that followed were the next steps on my spiritual journey. What’s your take on desire?

Well, as far as I see it, to be human is to have desires.  Whether we’re a baby wanting the comfort of our mother’s arms, or a high school kid wanting a car, or an adult wanting a vacation, or a soul on the path to liberation, we’re all faced with desires–some of them very strong–throughout our lives.

I’ve been searching for a means to handle my desires in a balanced way for more than two decades, and have never come to any one solution or any one conclusion–because desires aren’t some kind of logical thing that can be tested and proven and retested to repeat the same results.  Desires change as we change.

On one hand, I want to look at what I have in this moment and feel fulfilled.  I want to experience freedom from craving and aversion both, so that I might keep my focus on the growth of my spirit instead of on the accumulation of specific possessions, relationships, or experiences.  I have experienced being so blinded by what I wanted that I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face.  I have hurt people who were close to me as I flew off half-cocked on journeys toward fulfilling my aspirations.  Specific desires can really put a body into a prison of expectations. We abandon ourselves when we become so consumed by desire that we can’t see anything but what we want.  That’s the shadow side of desire.

However desires also have a light side; they can serve as a gateway to creativity.  How can an artist bring a beautiful work into being if she doesn’t first have a vision and then the desire to bring that vision into material reality?  How about making big life changes–realizing what your calling is and switching jobs, or forging more meaningful bonds with other human beings, or wanting to devote your life energy toward helping ease the suffering of all beings?  Desires provide a framework within which we can launch our visions into reality, or at least bring them a little closer toward realization.  Desire gives us the motivation to keep trying until we bring our creations into being.

So what is the answer?  Instead of an either/or situation:  Either you let go of desire, or you embrace desire–I see this letting go and this embracing intertwined in an intricate dance, a dance in which we teach ourselves how to find balance.  I am chock full of desires for certain things–a meal that I don’t have to cook, more essential oils, a nap, just to give a few examples off the top of my head.  If I can meet my desires with awareness and simply notice that I’m having them, I can hold them up to the light of inquiry and ask myself, “Why?” Why do I not want to cook, why do I want more essential oils, a nap?  If I can find a good reason for wanting the things I that want, I might take steps to bring myself closer to them.

Additionally, I have found on countless occasions that I actually didn’t want the thing I thought I wanted–and I felt grateful, relieved even, for not getting the thing after all.  Remember the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for?”  It’s important for me to identify the reasons behind the desire and make an educated decision about dropping it or going for it; in this way I can feel at peace with my desires.  I know that I’m not letting them direct all of my decisions, neither am I depriving myself of a wonderful experience just because I think it is wrong to want something.  With a steady, even mind, I take a good look at what I’m wanting, and I choose.

So there you go…I’m not sure how lucid all of this is because it’s 11:30 pm and I’m half asleep, but hopefully I’ve said something that makes at least a little sense.  The point was really to explore a little and then open up the floor to anyone who’d like to share.  If any of you have thoughts to add, I’d love to hear them, and I’m sure Willow would too.  This is a great discussion to have–desires are so universal, so all pervading at times–just to share and to bring more awareness to our own patterns of thought surrounding desires gives us more insight, more power to greet whatever arises with equanimity.

Don’t be shy now!