Most of us have a long list of things we want out of life. Because we see ourselves as separate from each other and the rest of life, there is a tendency towards self-preservation as being primary. And because of that, our societies are built around personal material gain – just look at media and marketing if you need proof. We are conditioned from an early age that getting what we want brings happiness and fulfillment. As a result, we spend so much energy in our lives in pursuit of our wants. It’s a hard lesson when we finally learn what a hungry monster we’ve created for ourselves, constantly needing to be fed more and more every year.
If you make a list of everything you want, they can be classified under three categories. It all boils down to wanting approval, safety, or control. Take a few minutes to brainstorm what you want and see that everything on your list naturally gravitates to one of these. You may need to really feel into the want, let the associated emotions arise – it’s ok, all of that needs to be given space if there is to be healing. Ask those underlying emotions what they want… is it approval, safety, control?
Wanting anything brings with it the assumption of lacking. You can say that lack is the boat that want rides in on. When you perceive a lack, you are feeding energy to that. So then is there any wonder that the lacking is what manifests? Now, think about suffering – it is rooted in a perceived lack of approval, safety, or control. Let’s flip that on its head. If you perceived absolutely no lack of the need for any approval, no lack of the need for safety, and no lack of the need for control, would you still experience suffering?
Asking and answering these questions for ourselves is deeply personal and introspective. The first take will yield a lot of defensiveness and self-justification. Remember, our self-narrative tends to run the show and, in that story, there’s only one protagonist… me. So, it important to recognize all of that ego-feed (often can be negative, don’t think it’s always positive) and set it all aside. Sit in a silent space of inner truth, bring in the emotion that’s bubbling up, and ask – what is being wanted? Approval? Safety? Control?
Now, with that clearly with you, can you begin letting go of the want. Who would you be if you did not have this particular wanting as part of your identity? Carefully see what is arising as part of this self-inquiry. Take it slow and as things come up, revisit the question. What is being felt right now? What is being wanted? Can I just let that wanting go. This is a gentle, iterative process that is done with a deep sense of compassion and self-lovingness. We all have shallow issues to work on, but we have some very deep issues to work on. It takes time and not everything needs to be healed in one sitting. Just make it a weekly process to look at a different aspect of your life in this way.
It can often be helpful to use writing or talking out as a way to go about this releasing. This releasing can be done alone, or with someone close who will usher the process by their loving presence and just listening.
Something for us to realize is that we are letting go of the wanting, not the actual facet. We are letting go of wanting approval, not the approval that we already have from others. Let go of wanting safety, not the safety we already enjoy. Let go of wanting control; you still remain responsible for everything in your life. Letting go of wanting is letting go of a perceived lack, and then energy begins to flow freely. That opens the gates to abundance. The universe doesn’t lack anything, and life is about recognizing what we truly are – consciousness having a human experience on this planet, what then can we lack?
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