Wanting Is Good
The Union Path Podcast
"Wanting Is Good"
It's good to want. It's good to have desires. It's good to want things. It's good to want more. It's good to want to experience more. It's good to want to experience something different. It's good to have desire. It's good to have hunger. It's good to have thirst because these are the energies that propel us through life.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, desire is the whole reason we ever do anything. If we break down any of our choices, No matter what they are, we're always doing what we want to do. Desire is inescapable. Desire is the reason everybody does everything as well. Yet desire gets such a bad rap, it gets so demonized.
It's almost a pejorative when we talk about people who are doing what they want. They're somehow frivolous, they're somehow carefree, they're somehow irresponsible. And of course this can be true, but this has nothing to do with desire itself. And that has everything to do with which desires are pursued, which desires are entertained.
That it's not so much people doing what they want, it's more about what that specific want is. And usually for ourselves, that's where our work comes in. That's kind of a funny thing that one of the things we naturally ask kids when they're little is what do you want to be when you grow up? This seems like a pretty innocuous question.
But I think it's actually a pretty telling question. It's pretty interesting that this is the fir one of the first things we ask about kids. Not, what's their favorite color? What's their favorite toy? What do they like to do? Who's their best friend? No, no. It's what do you want to do? What job do you want to inhabit?
What role do you want to assume? Because we know this answer tells us a lot about the person. Because in a lot of ways, what we want to do The declaration of what we want to do is really a declaration of who we believe ourselves to be. I want to be a fireman. I want to be an astronaut. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a tractor.
No, not the person who drives the tractor, the tractor. For some reason, I didn't really get that humans couldn't be non human things. I just looked at tractors and thought they were cool and thought, you know, I'd like to be cool, so I think I'd like to be a tractor. Digging holes seems fun, but nonetheless, this idea of desire, of what we want to be.
It never really leaves us, and I think on some level, fundamentally, we understand how important desire is, how important what we want is, and I think we can see this play out on two different levels, and usually, it's easier to see the negative than it is the positive, and oftentimes, a couple of ways this can play out negatively for us is if we're finding ourselves wanting things that don't actually serve us, don't actually feel good.
Maybe we want it. to cheat. Maybe we want to lie. Maybe we want to steal. Maybe we want to manipulate. Maybe we want to trick. Maybe we want to conjole. Maybe we want to try to take something from someone else. And we've all have different reasons of why we want to do these sorts of things. We don't come to it naturally.
Typically, we arrive at these sorts of choices because we believe there's no other way. Or perhaps we just believe this is the easiest way. This is the most expeditious route to get what we want. But of course, from a broader perspective, from a deeper perspective, we realize that it really matters what we do.
It's way more than... What we get is way more than what we accumulate. Our life experience is far more about the doing than the getting. Our life is spent far more in the behavior of things.
We spend far more time in things than we do in the reward of the things that we do. And then the other way these desires can play out in a negative way is when we find we don't actually go after what we want. We don't actually do what we want. We don't actually say what we feel. We don't actually say what we mean.
We don't actually express ourselves. We make ourselves smaller. We change ourselves. We contort ourselves to fit in some sort of more pleasing shape to another. And perhaps this other is a voice in our head. Perhaps this other is someone who we haven't spent any time around or with for decades, yet they're still critiquing and tempting to control and guide and judge everything that we do.
But I think if we look at our lives, if we really look at what we do, then I think it is. It's hard to ignore the fact that we are doing what we want, even if we feel completely put upon. Even if we feel completely controlled by circumstance. Even if we feel completely powerless. If we dig deep enough, we will find choice.
We will find that on some level, in some way, we are choosing that course of action. And some level, In some way, we are choosing that powerlessness. We are choosing to believe it. We are choosing to accept it. We're choosing to adopt it and we're choosing to express it. So we find ourselves expressing things that we don't actually want.
And we find ourselves doing things we don't actually want to do. If we find ourselves being someone who isn't actually us, it can be really easy to develop a funny relationship with desire. We can think that what we want is bad. Because us expressing what we want feels bad. And again, that's not the desire's fault.
That's not that desire is bad. That's the desire and the expression. These particular things feels bad. And that's not as a judgment. That's as a piece of guidance. It feels bad because it's spurring us to something else. It's reminding us that we're falling short of our own ideal. We're not actually being who we really are.
We're not actually expressing the person that we want to be. We've compromised in some way. We've chosen to change ourselves. We've chosen to modify and shift our expression to fit some sort of other need. Some should, some demand that we've put upon ourselves. But again, there's no escaping the fact that we do everything we do because we want to.
Sometimes we do what we do because of our want to avoid something else. Sometimes we do what we do out of fear, out of fear of failure, out of fear of being judged, out of fear of being ridiculed, out of fear of being embarrassed, out of fear of Some sort of personal annihilation, even though it's only really felt on the inside.
But whatever reasons we have, whether they're positive or negative, I believe it's inescapable that we're always doing what we want to do. We're always choosing to do what we want to do. We're always expressing desire in some way. And so if we accept this idea, we accept this as I think one of the most important things we can possibly do is to really get clear on what we want kind of this whole idea of well Why are we interviewing kids for what they want to be when they grow up and can we apply the same amount of curiosity?
the same amount of introspection to ourselves of not so much What do I want to be when I grow up? But who do I want to be now? Who am I now? Who am I really? And a lot of times, the most direct route to knowing who and what we really are is by getting really clear on what we really want. What our desires truly are, what our desires truly are deep down in our heart and soul, what feel like a part of us, what desires feel are us and let them not only inform our decisions, but let them inform our life.
Allow them room to be expressed. Allow them room to make themselves known. Develop a comfort level with desire. With what we want. Because these deep down heart and soul felt desires are truly a more idealized version of ourselves calling us forward. That this is the way life works. Life is a never ending series of of hungers and thirsts.
It's inescapable. Nothing will ever be 100% perfect. In fact, we will never be 100% satisfied and nor would we ever actually want to be. Because if we truly lost all hunger from our life, if we truly lost all desire from our life, if we truly lost all thirst from our life, then what would be the point of being?
That no matter how delicious the meal, if we're already full, if we're already completely satisfied, It wouldn't mean anything. That experience would be sort of mundane. At the very least, it would be unsatisfying because we're already satisfied. We're trying to fill a tank that's already full, but thankfully, luckily for us, that's not how life really works.
That life unfolds as a never ending series of desires, of wants. And then those desires and wants are satisfied. But not really in the way that we thought, which leaves room for a new desire to spring up. Sometimes, when what we want comes in, it comes in in a slightly different shape, which then spawns a new desire, a new want.
Or sometimes, something even bigger than we imagined comes in, and then that expands our perspective of what's possible. And now with this new expanded perspective, Now we want something else, because if this was possible, then I bet I could go after that, too. But we would have had no idea unless the first item happened, unless the first thing happened.
We had to have our perspective expanded first. But this always keeps going, forever and ever and ever. And it's a good thing. It's a good thing to accept and befriend. Because we really do ourselves a disservice. if we feel put upon, if we feel marginalized, if we feel burdened by what we want. Because in this state, we feel like our wants are a burden.
The most obvious solution is just to want less. Ideally to not want anything. Ideally to just acquiesce. and be accepting and okay, say this is fine, to whatever is. But then this upsets the flow of creation. This prevents us from wanting more. This prevents us from asking for more, which then prevents the answer from ever coming.
Because wants have a pull. Wants have an attraction. When we want something, we are pulled towards it. And I believe on some level it is pulled towards us. It's like energy. It's kind of like when we find ourselves finally finding and getting involved with the right relationship for us, that attraction runs both ways.
It's only in the wrong relationship that it only runs one way or the very least it's only in the wrong relationships that there's a, an incongruence and imbalance to this attraction. Well, it's the same way with life. The things that we truly, deeply want, truly, deeply want us as well. We're a fit. We're a match.
We are supposed to experience the things we're supposed to experience. And one of our great freedoms, our incredible agency, is that we can actually prevent this. We can actually interrupt this. We can actually sabotage this. We can actually prevent this because we don't choose. To go with it, we don't choose to yield.
We don't choose to honor or accept what we really want. Choosing instead to try to want something else. Choosing instead often to pretend we want things we don't. So in my opinion, my assertion is that wanting is good. Wanting is necessary. Desire is a good thing, and it's important for us to honor and listen to it, not only to pursue what we want, but to really bring self awareness to what we want, and to really ask ourselves, is this what I really want?
Is this who I really am? On a deep level, if I find myself wanting things that are primarily superficial and self centered, well is that who I really am? Is my life all just gluttony and greed and manipulation and trying to take all that I can? Or is there something more? Do I want something more? Because if we never fully engage what we really want, we can prevent ourselves from ever getting to the other side.
Perhaps we find ourselves. Taking too much, when what we really want is to give. What we really want is to share. What we really want is to be of service. What we really want is to find connection and meaning. Perhaps we really find ourselves dissatisfied. with the superficial in our life and we find ourselves wanting more.
Well, if we weren't comfortable with this wanting, if we weren't comfortable with our wanting, we would never realize this because as long as we confine our desires to some sort of secret shame, something that needs to be hidden, needs to be obfuscated, needs to be kept away from the light of the world can never really fully openly be expressed.
We always have to be playing a game. We always have to be doing things with ulterior motives. Then we never really find the full life that we're looking for. Because what if what we want, what we really want, what we truly deeply want most of all is precisely what we're supposed to have is precisely what we're supposed to be.
What if wanting is good? What if desire is good? And not only what if wanting and desire are good, but wanting and desire are actually helpful, are actually tools, are actually trying to show us something, are actually trying to lead us to the more full, more rich, more real version of our own life, are trying to lead us to what we actually want.
That our desires themselves are pointing the way to the life that we actually want to live. A life informed and expressed as the full version of ourselves, as who and what we really are. Because one of the unfortunate things that I see happen is people get convinced that wanting is wrong. People get convinced that desires are inherently unhealthy or self centered.
Which of course this can be true, but it's not universal. Thanks for watching! Because yes, there are absolutely unhealthy and self centered things to want, but the opposite is also true. That desire itself isn't inherently bad. That desire itself is actually inherently neutral, but we get to choose. We get to choose which side of the spectrum we engage with.
And if we know that desire is a thing pulling us through our life anyway, desire is the reason we're doing everything we do anyway, then we might as well connect with it in as healthy and helpful ways as we possibly can. We might as well go with it. We might as well befriend it. We might as well learn how to live with and through it and express it out in the open so that we can express it fully so we don't have to hide it.
We don't have to pretend like what we want is some sort of secret shame. We can actually engage with and entertain the notion that what we want is actually right for us because what we want is us, is the full version of who and what we really are. Because unfortunately, we get talked out of what we want because it conflicts with what someone else wants.
It's a really kind of subtly sinister trick that we as human beings play on each other. That you shouldn't want what you want. That that's somehow bad. But secretly, I'm trying to convince you of this because I want you to do what I want you to do. I want you to do what I want, but this is where our own self awareness becomes really useful.
This is where our own honoring of our own wants and desires is really useful. Because if we're fully aware of them and we're fully accepting of them, then we won't be so easily talked out of them. We won't be so easily convinced. that we're wrong and they're bad. At the very least we can give them a chance.
We don't have to assume that all of our wants are inherently bad. We can assume that at face value that inherently wants and desires are good until proven otherwise. Again, of course, we know what we know. We don't have to just trade in all of our discernment and judgment, but what if we tried? What if we just entertained this idea that wanting is good, that desire is good, that we should want things, that we do want things, that we do have wanting inside of us, that we do have love in our heart that's trying to find its way to expression, and the way that we are led to that expression is is through our own desire, is through what we want.
That's our first encounter with love in our life, is wanting. And we create more room for love in our life by actually listening to it, by actually honoring it, by actually trying, saying yes to ourselves. Not being so reluctant, not being so reticent, not being so fearful, not looking at everything we want as an automatic no.
Starting to tell ourselves, yes, it doesn't mean that everything we want happens to us instantaneously. Actually, it doesn't mean that everything or anything that we want will actually ever even happen to us. But we can at least entertain it. We can at least accept it. We can at least have an open mind about it.
We can at least try, we can at least try to do what we want, we can at least try to live a life that's centered around feeling good, we can try to live a life that's centered around doing good, including doing good for ourselves, not only doing good for others, doing good for all involved, ourselves included, and starting from a place of listening to and honoring what we want.
of listening to and honoring our desires. And just try to see what happens. See where this leads us. See where this takes us. For some of us, see how this completely changes our life. How we find that the life we want is actually found and lived through doing what we want, through pursuing what we want, through wanting what we want.
And in hindsight, It's kind of funny that it's not really that complicated, that we can find ourselves living a life that we don't really want, of painting ourselves into such a small corner, of inhabiting such a small existence, because we've never actually gone after what we want. We've never even admitted to ourselves what we really want.
We've tried to hide, we've tried to change. We've tried to make ourselves different and have just suffered along the way, and they've just diminished our life experience along the way. Well, what if we tried fullness? What if we tried truth? What if we tried living with and through the full version of ourselves?
By living with and through the full version of what we actually want, what we actually want informed by who we know ourselves to actually be, who we want to be, who we aspire to be. We find ourselves living out the most idealized version of ourselves. We listen to what we really want deep down on the inside that who and what we really are finds expression through our own befriending and honoring and pursuit of Desire of living the life we want through the pursuit of what we want Developing a comfort with wanting of not feeling discomfort about it not feeling put upon about it not feeling disappointment about it not feeling Pain and rejection about it because we want.
Wanting is a good thing. It's evidence that there's more for us here. There's more to do. There's more to experience. There's a road that still lies ahead that's waiting for us to travel down it. There's more here for us because there's things we still want. So we can learn to be comfortable with not being satisfied.
We can actually learn to look at this as a good thing. We can look at this with a bit of eager anticipation because this is our sensation. This is our sensing. This is, on some level, our knowing that there's more life to live. There's a greater life to live. There's growth and expansion possible. There's new experience possible because we still want.
Because there's something still driving us forward. There's something still asking us to pursue it. And so on some level, all we have to do is go along. All we have to do is go. All we have to do is submit and yield to our hearts. To what we really want. But the irony is that we haven't been getting what we want.
Because we haven't been going for what we want. We haven't been honoring what we want. We've been trying to ignore what we really want. We've been trying to avoid what we really want. And thus, what we really want has avoided us back. But we're the ones who get to choose. And every day, in every moment, we can make new choices.
We can choose to believe that wanting is good. We can choose to believe that our desires are good. We can choose to live a life of hunger and nourishment, of wanting and receiving, of desiring and experiencing, and see this as a cycle. See this as a cycle that never ends. There's always something we want.
We're always doing what we want, so we might as well honor and go after what we really want. To live a life that's real, we must embrace what we really want. And the beauty is, we're the ones who choose. We're the ones who get to choose. We're the ones who get to make this a priority. We're the ones who get to listen to ourselves.
We're the ones who get to honor ourselves. And then we're the ones who get to experience a life lived through listening to and honoring ourselves. I'm not being scared of what we want. Not worried that this is going to turn us into some self absorbed, self obsessed monster because that's kind of the beauty of getting what you want.
That sure, we may start out with more superficial desires, but once we've had our fill of that, then we find ourselves wanting more, wanting some, something a little deeper, a little more meaningful. A little bit more about connection, something that hits a little deeper, that hits a little harder, that lasts a little longer.
The experiencing and the achievement of superficial wants are usually pretty ephemeral, pretty short lasting, and if we're honest, aren't really that satisfying. They were probably better in our head than they actually are in real life, which again is a big part of the beauty of how all this works. That just spurs us to want more, want something greater, want something more impactful, want something that is a truer, more real expression of who and what we really are, beyond the senses, beyond the sensory, beyond the superficial, beyond the immediate personal gain.
It's something deeper, something more real, something more fundamental, and we're led to this if we allow ourselves to be led to this. We live the life we really want by getting comfortable with wanting, by not demonizing and judging our own wanting, by fully accepting, fully honoring what we actually want, and then going out into life actually trying to get it, actually in pursuit of it.
And doing this over and over and over and over again. And truly this is the virtuous cycle of life. This is what connects all beings with all other beings. This is the fuel. This is the animus. This is the animating force of creation, wanting, desire. So what if we try to just go with it? What if we decide to try to try?
What if we decide to try to live this way? What if we look at what we really want and ask ourselves, is this who I really am? I look at my life and look at how I'm doing what I want already and ask myself, well, is this what I really want? Am I accessing and honoring and expressing my own wants on a deep enough level?
Am I only skimming the surface of life? Because I'm only skimming the surface of what I truly want, living on the most physical and sensory and superficial plane. But if I want something deeper, does that involve, does that require that I engage with desires and wants? That live deeper as well. These are important and useful thoughts to entertain.
But again, it all starts with comfort. It all starts with acceptance. It all starts with accepting ourselves, especially accepting what we actually want. Accepting what we actually want and going out into life every day. With the intent to actually live it.