Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What Do You Want?

What do you want? What do you really want? Do you know? Can you name five things that you really want? Think a minute. If you had enough money to get what you want, what would it be?

"The things we thin we want re often substitutes for what we really want, and the pleasures we seek are less than thejoy that they distract us from." (1)

Do you measure your needs by the intensity of your wants? Do you want that new car so much that you come to believe that you actually need it? Can you differentiate between your needs an your wants? It's not as easy as it sounds, actually. Sometimes we are like small children who go into full panic mode when they don't get what they want. I'll bet you've seen someone like that. "I want that [ --------- ] so much I'll do anything to get it. I need it. I must have it!"

Most of us aren't clearly aware of what our real needs are. The unmet needs in modern society include the need to express one's gifts, the need to do meaningful work, to love and be loved, to be truly seen and heard, to see and hear others, to be connected to nature and all of creation, to play, explore and have adventures, to have emotional intimacy, to serve something larger than self, and to sometimes do nothing and just be. (1)

Unmet needs hurt. Fulfilling a need feels good. The deeper the need the greater the pain, the stronger the desire it generates. Therefore the greater the pleasure in meeting it. Through pain and pleasure we discover what we really want and really need.

Through this process we can learn that we do not want what we thought we wanted and don't like what we thought we liked. We learn that what we thought we wanted is only a substitute for what we really need. Addictions do this, block us from knowing and fulfilling our real needs. We "need" to feel good and do things to achieve that rather than identify the real need that causes the pain we are trying to relieve. Too often we do what Western medicine often does - treat the symptoms (pain) without treating the cause of the pain.

What we really must do is to go inside ourselves to discover what it is that we really do want, what we need to meet our unmet needs. We discover what hurts when we let go of all that distracts us from uncomfortable feelings. That means we must allow ourselves to experience the uncomfortable feelings,

Yes, scary stuff. How many of us allow that deep stillness that lets the deep feelings to rise up? All to many of us stay too busy to take the time to cultivate that kind of stillness. It must be cultivated, you know. It isn't as easy as just taking  a couple of minutes to sit still and see what happens. Our busy brains need to be trained to slow down and be still. And that comes with practice.

When I suggest that you do nothing to solve the worlds problems, what I mean is to do first examine what hurts you and what need in you is unmet. Then you can choose your behavior so that it meets your unmet needs.  Only then will you change, which therefore will change the world.

Remember we must change ourselves to change the world. It is indeed a challenge. Are you willing to change in order to change the world?

Between the doing nothing to learn about yourself and doing something in the world, try something from the daily dozens that are at the end of the blogs about this world change.

Today's daily dozen to-do list:

  • Determine which of the world's problems most tugs at your heart. Consider how you might expose more people to the urgency of that problem.
  • Recycle all aluminum, plastic, newspapers, papers, etc.
  • Offer to take recycling from a shut-in's home or from a small non-profit that doesn't have regular pick-up.
  • Conserve energy: Decide what you want before you open the refrigerator; turn off lights, T.V., etc. when you aren't using them.
  • Conserve clean water: wash only full loads of laundry and dishes, water grass less often, don't let water run while brushing your teeth, take short showers instead of tub baths.
  • Purchase re-cycled paper products at the grocery store. 
  • Use a mug for coffee or tea to cut down on the use of disposable cups.
  • Help a neighbor or friend who has lost a job write a resume or cover letter or fill out job applications. Volunteer at a library to help folks research careers and/or write resumes and cover letters.
  • Have a donation drive for pet food and kitty litter for your local animal shelter. Encourage them to offer dog food to homeless people with dogs and get friends to help with donations.
  • Volunteer to read children's stories at a library's story time.
  • Grow and dry catnip for friends with cats.
  • Do not talk negatives behind anyone's back or spread rumors.


  1. Very powerful, challenging and, as always, compassionate piece!

    1. Thanks, Margaret. My desire is to have enough readers that at least one person each week is inspired to make the world a better place.

      You already do that!

  2. Very powerful, challenging and, as always, compassionate piece!