What Do I Want?

Sometimes when my students are struggling, I will ask them to take out a piece of paper and write at the top ‘What Do I Want?” Then, freely make a list of absolutely everything that they want.

After emptying out all of their desires, the next step is to go back over the list and circle the top 3 things that they want the most.  This helps them to identify what they really want.

I took a course once where this was called ‘the ladder of desires.’  It starts off with the most basic desires, such as ‘I want to eat something delicious…I want to take a nap…’and goes deeper and deeper, through the corridors of  ‘I want money, good health, someone to love me’,  and all the way down to the very depths of the heart.  There we find the Soul’s desire.

This is a very healing exercise.  I ask people to do it when they are struggling because it brings clarity.  All of those unconscious desires that are stuck inside of us can cloud our minds and leave us entangled in emotions without even realizing what’s going on, or what it is that we are not satisfied about.  After writing it all out we can organize our consciousness and see where we have been, where we are now, and where we want to go.  Then the place to focus becomes clearer and the mind becomes quieter.  Automatically, the heart becomes lighter and happier.

I always feel joyful when I recover the feeling of my Soul’s desire in my heart.  It is a light and sweet feeling of joy that smiles inside. For me, I want freedom.  Freedom from fear and freedom from my small self – from the person who I think is ‘me’ but is not really me.  I want to become one with Life itself, or God, or whatever anyone would like to call it.  I want to be fully present and alive, like a radiant flower.  And I want to make a healthy earth and humanity.

And as I contemplate this it of course leads me to the next question which I find to be even more intriguing. The better question for me these days is, “Who Am I?”

Who is the ‘I’ that wants?  Which ‘I’ am I working for and choosing for, even in this very moment?

Ilchi Lee once said that the biggest obstacle to enlightenment is your first, middle and last name.  Isn’t the ‘I’ that I so often consider ‘myself’ just a compilation of information and memories?  Isn’t it just a body that had a named tagged on it once, and a mind full of stories, desires and habitual emotions?  But, who am I really?  This is the real question….

As I said, I want freedom from that small self who is just an illusion of me – a shadow – and I want to unite with what I sense to be a deeper truer self.  I think that’s what I came to this magnificent planet to do – to rediscover and reunite with that self.  That Great Self.

As I sit here right now the tree outside my window is waving it’s bright red autumn leaves in the gentle, but chilly wind.  Life is beautiful.  I am Life.  Therefore, I am beautiful.

When we remember this, so many of our worldly worries go away.   I can’t help but feel it is how we are meant to live.

Let’s dig a little deeper than our daily to-do lists, deeper than our repetitive thoughts and emotions.  Let’s go deeper even than what society tells us is right and wrong, good and bad, or anyone tells us for that matter.  Let’s find out who we really are, and then let it shine 🙂


4 Thoughts.

  1. Thank you Danielle for your thoughtful reflection on wants and “Who am I?”
    I also find it helpful to differentiate between wants and needs. I too initially put down freedom from fear and anxiety. But then wondered if it is even possible to become free from fear since it is such a primal human response. Perhaps what I want is the anecdote to fear, courage. Regarding “Who am I”, it is more challenging to answer if one eliminates name, family, roles, career, etc. I also think that what I want is to be able to face, explore and shed light on the darkness, unresolved wounds, and false beliefs that lie within so that I can become more my True Self.
    I want to unpack anything that prevents me from truly listening to the voice of my Soul, the voice of Truth and/or the voice of God. The motto engraved on my ring is “the truth shall set you free.” I still strive to embody it.

    • Thank you for your sharing Charlene. It’s beautiful 🙂 I want to unpack those things too! And yes “Who am I really???” is a very good question for deep meditation. I think it’s something we should continue to ask even when it doesn’t make sense or feels hard to come by. Even just asking awakens something deep within – a stirring of the Soul.

  2. I do look forward to your posts, Danielle, although sometimes, like this week, I get so busy I can’t always respond in a timely fashion. But I do look forward to them all the same. I get all happy when I see one appear in my inbox.

    I really liked the idea of the want list activity. I thought I would try it with my children and see if it helped them to find some focus in life. My 9-year-old daughter primarily had spiritual goals, such as wanting to get baptized. My 12-year-old son is a very physical person and mostly wanted things, like skateboards. And my 15-year-old son had more thoughtful things, such as wanting to get married. It was a pretty neat window into their hearts for me as a parents, and I hope it did help them to see what they want out of life, even if some of it was only childish wants.

    I thought, since I was having the kids do the activity, that I would do it too. And do you know what? I really surprised myself. I mean, some things I knew about myself. For example, I’ve been doing online schooling to learn scoping (court report editing). It’s an interesting occupation to have, but mostly I’m doing it for financial reasons. So it wasn’t surprising that at the top of my list was scoping and financial security. But what did surprise me was how much the need to be loved played into my list. I don’t think I recognized that about myself before. I suspect that comes from having a caregiver personality; caregivers think about others before themselves.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing such a neat activity. I liked that one a lot.

    The other part – the part about figuring out who you are as a person – it really gave me something to think about. Again, I think that boils down to being a caregiver and not thinking about yourself as much. But it’s a really good question and it certainly gave me pause for thought. And it was interesting how you explained it – and I’m assuming I understood you correctly – because when someone asks the question “Who am I?” I think it is most often understood as “Who am I with such-and-such a person?”: Who am I as a mother? Who am I as a daughter? Who am I as a wife? etc. But to ask yourself “Who am I?” in relation to the world itself – now that was something that I never really thought about before… and am still thinking about. That’s a really deep question not easily answered.

    • I’m really glad that the question stimulated deep contemplation for you Kathy. Yes, I believe it is something that cannot be answered with our intellectual understanding, but only felt in the depth of the heart. Keep feeling into your heart more and more and you will discover treasures in there 🙂

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