I want it now won’t bring you happiness

You might be pardoned for thinking that the words “I want it now” might be what you hear your small child say when he or she wants something that you are reluctant to agree to. Except that it is also something we adults have come to accept as the norm too, as a recent conference on ethical capitalism showed. While we might feel indignant at the practices of bankers and corporate executives in their chasing short-term rewards at the expense of long-term needs like investment or the needs of the wider society of which they are a part, it is … Read more

We get unhealthily attached to wanting

I posted recently that we can get unhealthily attached to desire, especially where we feel something is lacking or missing or that we expect something from another. One difficulty with being attached to desire and wanting is that there’s no room for being, for acceptance of what is. We’re not at peace. Our society is organised around desire. We want more, bigger, better. What we have isn’t enough. We want a new car, house, possessions, material goods, holidays and other things that for a short while fulfill our need, until we’re back on the hook with something else. In coaching, … Read more

Desire and want can be barriers to happiness

Desire and want are riven through so much of our thought, speech and action. Listen to someone speak and you will hear quite quickly an expression of need, sometimes negatively and sometimes positively. It’s ingrained in our consciousness but perhaps unsurprisingly it also flags up an aspect of our way of being that doesn’t necessarily always serve us. In fact they can make us miserable. In coaching, for example, it is often a very effective question to ask, “What do you want?” It can invite someone who is feeling unclear to explore their desires and can bring out what is … Read more

Do you feel driven by wanting and desire

How much are you driven by issues around wanting and desire? As notions like getting what you want or getting your needs met are very common, this might seem an odd question to ask. Surely, one might think, asking for what I want is a natural thing to do? We as humans have needs that need to be met, as it were. Yet desire, wanting, has huge issues attached to it that can lead us into all sorts of difficulties, ones that don’t serve us. So it’s worth reflecting on how much desire can get in the way and where … Read more

Acceptance frees us from attachment to desire

In an age accustomed to change, improvement and betterment, it can seem unfashionable in the extreme to accept what you have and where you are. But it is an option not to be neglected. A way round being dissatisfied with what is, is to accept it. Thus we can loosen the bonds keeping us attached to wanting and needing, to desire. Think of something you aren’t happy about and want to be different. I’ll give you one. I’ve been feeling indignant about the recent revelations about alleged spying and intrusions on internet privacy by spooks from all sorts of nationalities, … Read more

Is it hard to let go of not having what you want?

Success is a big thing for many people in our society and a source of major frustration. It’s a word that gets plastered all over the place in various people development and personal life change literature. Yet it trips so many of us up. What does the word “success” mean for you? Career success, making loads of money, something aspirational, a certain expensive life style you can afford because you’re “successful”? How do you feel about that? Is there a part of you that wishes it was like that for you, but that you feel frustrated if you were being … Read more

Where the desire for more money might not serve us

How much money you have, whether you have enough money, whether you are secure, whether you have “financial freedom” are all questions that buzz around so many people’s minds. “It’s what money can get me,” people say. While many of us might think that money can’t buy happiness, there’s lots of others that think it comes as a result, backed up by a lot of surveys that show that the wealthier tend to be happier. An odd mix of contradictions! To a yogi, the pursuit of more money is an aspect of desire, an ego characteristic where we are never … Read more

May everyone see only auspicious sights

The idea of managing and controlling our desires and actions has become quite an alien one. We have become accustomed to the view that such a way leads to repression. Rather we think of allowing the “free spirit” to have free rein and to express itself. So, which is it? I’ve been looking through a book by Swami Chidvilasananda, “The Yoga of Discipline“, which is really a series of talks, and she has a lot to say about the value for a yogi of discipline. She says (of seeing), “In the Upanishads it is said, “May everyone see only auspicious … Read more

Wanting to be at one

This week I have been writing about desire and how it can very effectively block our connection with our spiritual self. The question will inevitably arise, if desire doesn’t serve us, what about wanting to be connected spiritually. Isn’t that a contradiction? First of all, I remember hearing that my guru’s guru, Swami Muktananda was asked about the desire for enlightenment. “Ah, you can keep that one,” he said. Wanting to be One with God was for him at the essence of his sadhana. I made the point earlier that it can be helpful to think about attachment, about where … Read more

Loving other people and confusing love with wanting from them

One useful piece of self-awareness work to do with desire is to look at what we want from others, particularly our partners. As we’ve been exploring this week, desire as an ego function has deep roots, relating to a perceived lack of love and a disconnection from the Whole. This particularly plays itself out with those we are close to. Have you for example felt you wanted more from someone than they were prepared to give? Did it seem that whatever they gave was “not enough”? Similarly have you found people wanted more of you than you were prepared to … Read more