Wanting vs. Having

Satisfied with what you have? I’ve been thinking about this lately…how often I notice myself in a state of ‘wanting’. If you are satisfied with what you have or still lacking more and wanting approval, wanting security, wanting closure, wanting to know or understand, wanting, wanting…

As I’ve become more aware of this habit or tendancy, which seems to me to be a very conditioned human pre-occupation – I’ve also become aware of the subtle shift in experience that’s available in the invitation to ‘Have’ instead of ‘want’.

Could I let go of ‘wanting’ right now?

Could I allow myself to experience ‘Having’ right now?

This is a palpable redirection of energy and attention, and has proven to be quite helpful.

It’s a gentle reminder to the nervous system that has been trained to focus on ‘lack’ and ‘less than’, on what is perceived to be missing in one’s environment or experience.

The joy of the realization that as ‘real’ as that sense of lack or ‘not possessing’ can appear – equally as available is a sense of calm, satisfaction and ‘enoughness’.

There is a wonderful spiritual teacher named Adyashanti and I recently watched a video of his aptly named ‘The Gift of Wanting’. He believes that the experience of wanting is actually a gift, and serves only to draw our attention to that which we already possess in abundance, but have forgotten or over-looked.

He maintains that we have been taught from a early age that we ‘want’ because we lack, and that through the attainment of what we lack, we will find fulfillment.

However, anyone who’s ever achieved or acquired anything can tell you that the sense of ‘fullness’ (or satisfaction) that seems to accompany the reaching of the goal, is often quickly replaced by a renewed sense of wanting. Perhaps the wanting has shifted to a new person, object or experience, but it’s the same sensation.

Satisfied With What You have, Wanting vs. Having

Adyashanti suggests that it is not the attainment of the ‘desired object or experience’ that fulfills us. Rather, it is the inherent ‘fullness’ that is

present within us always that is typically covered over by a glaze of ‘want’. This fullness can only be deeply experienced when we cease our practise of ‘wanting’.

So, the next time you find yourself ‘wanting’…be it security, attention, approval, control, to be understood, or some material or relationship

‘want’, I invite you to check it out. ‘What do I believe getting this thing (insert ‘want’) will bring me?’ and follow that question to it’s core. The answer could be: ‘I will feel more peaceful’. or, ‘I will feel safe’. or, ‘I will feel ‘HERE’, eternal and present’…or any other number of desired states.

Then ask: Is it true that I actually lack in these ways, or could this wanting simply be a pointer to what, at the core, I possess in abundance? Is this desired state actually lacking in me, or have I been to busy ‘wanting’ to notice that it’s there?

Try it for yourself and see.

Posted in: Relationship with Self

Leave a Comment (3) ↓


  1. Christy Gain February 14, 2007

    When I want something, like food, it is a sign that either I need to get that thing to be ok, or that I need something else to be ok. If I need something else, then I ask what it is of myself. Often, it is to be told that I am ok. I can do that for myself. When I do, I no longer want whatever it was in the first place as much or at all.

  2. anonymous February 18, 2007

    Wow, I just have to post to say that was really really good. That is the most clearest explanation for the experience of wanting that I have ever come across. Thank you, more writing on things like this would be great.

  3. sandrar September 10, 2009

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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