3 Main Desires

Let’s think of our inner world like a tree, for a moment (quite appropriate for this blog :))

From one perspective, the leaves become the many many thoughts in our mind – in all of their varying colors, shapes and sizes.   Look a little deeper and you will see that those leaves are connected to branches, and we can consider those branches to be our emotions.  All of our leaf-thoughts are sprouting from our emotions.  Now, go even deeper and you will find two main branches, connecting everything to the trunk, the root of the tree.  I want to call this area our 3 main desires.  I say that because all of our leaf-thoughts and emotion-branches can be traced down to these 3 desires.  They are essentially the root of it all.  If you are aware of them, then it will help you to observe yourself that much more deeply.

So…..what are the 3 main desires?

  1.  The Desire for Recognition.  When I say “recognition” here I don’t just mean receiving awards, achievements and fame.  We desire recognition in SO MANY ways. To be loved and approved of.  To be seen, heard and understood. To be praised. We desire to receive energy and attention from those we like and love – a look, a touch, a nod, a note, a phone call….an email….a Facebook like….the list goes on and on.  And sometimes we even desire to get some of that from those we hate.  If you think about how you feel when someone you love has ignored you or shunned you in some way – even the slightest of ways – then that will be a shortcut to the bubbling up of countless painful emotions and insecure thoughts.  Then you will begin to understand this tree analogy that I’m speaking of.
  2. The Desire to Control. Some people know straight out that they have issues with control. Perhaps they have a controlling, domineering personality. Or perhaps they have OCD and feel the need to control their surroundings. I, for instance, am a person who for a long time thought she had no desire to control 🙂  Hahaha!  That’s because I do not have either of the above personality types and had not yet observed myself deeply enough to discover where my desire to control was rearing it’s head.  Over the years I have uncovered it in unexpected places! Such as worry.  I have had a tendency to worry about things that I have no control over as a way of trying to grasp for some sort of control. Like turbulence on an airplane, to give a small example.  And as I have looked even deeper, I have found that desire in the bottom-most part of my heart, related even to the instinct to protect myself from being hurt by others.
  3. The Desire for Safety. I often feel that this desire is even at the root of all 3 main desires.  Why do I want to be recognized?  To keep my ego safe. To protect my worth and value. Why do I want to control? Again, to keep my ego safe, or my space, my possessions and finances, or my LIFE! Ultimately, this finite body that we live in doesn’t want to end, so anything that may threaten that activates our desire for safety.  And in our current world, it seems like everywhere you turn there is a threat.

So I invite you to look closely at yourself – which of your 3 main desires are affecting you at this moment?  If you look into any of the issues in your life that you may be struggling with right now, then you will find one of them at the root.  You might even find a couple of them or all of them, as they are often intertwined.  What would be the use of looking into that?  It’s not to create more suffering for yourself.  When you discover the root of your problem, then you can alleviate the agony of all the emotions and endless thoughts sitting on top of that desire, and you can just come face to face with the truth inside of you.  When you face it and accept it, then you can relax, calm down your mind, and sometimes you can even find the solution to your problem.

For instance, sometimes I call my best friend and I find myself being negative and complainy.  Whenever that happens I’m always like, “Why did I just do that?  That’s not me.  That’s not who I want to be or how I live my life.” If I’m honest with myself then I can see clearly that this is just an old habitual way of getting energy for me.  From a very young age I learned the power of receiving attention through being negative, emotional and dramatic, and it’s a habit I have spent my adult life breaking.  Aha! This is my desire for recognition!  So, if I just know going into my next conversation that I want some loving attention from my friend, then I can just ask her for it, cant I?! Or I can approach the conversation differently, knowing that positive attention will make my heart feel so much happier than negative attention in the end.  As I always say, if I know myself, then I can better heal myself, heal my relationships and heal my life.

Therefore, I am inviting you to observe yourself more closely.  If you do that well then every day, all day long, you will find your 3 main desires rolling over and over again inside of you.  You may be overwhelmed by this but don’t worry!!!!  This is VERY human. Because we have a body, we have these 3 desires.  We only have to know how to see them so they don’t control us.  Then, we have to accept them. And eventually we need to discover the way to go beyond them.  This, I will talk about in my next post :0)

Until then, please discover how these desires are playing out inside of you.  And feel free to share your observations in the comments.  I look forward to your sharing! Happy watching ~ 🙂

6 Thoughts.

  1. I loved the depth, insight, and truth of the post on the 3 desires. I think the desire for safety, recognition, and control are at the core of all human need and desire. Basic needs that are very powerful, that call forth strong emotions.
    Before I read this post I was in a situation tonight where I experienced all three desires. I was at a large birthday party and at one point thought ‘ I could just vanish or disappear and no one would even notice me’. Hello recognition
    Later, I found myself worrying about a future medical test. Hello control
    Another time, thinking of my brother who is dying, I felt my own fear of my own death. Hello safety
    And there we are, safety, control, and recognition all within a 4 hour period.
    It helps me to become the observer and just notice the thought, identify it, and try not to give it more fuel. I always find the acknowledgement of these movements extremely humbling. After all, I say to myself: I am a senior citizen and should have more equanimity,
    Lately I’ve been thinking that these desires will be with me until I die. I will just keep nodding at them, recognize them for what they are, and try to let them go knowing that around the next corner they will only return again. Hopefully I can say hello(like the beginning of Adeles song:)) not let them motivate me, and just let them pass by.

    • Thank you for your honest sharing and self-observation Charlene 🙂 I always appreciate hearing about it! I think it’s a great idea…just watch them, don’t allow your motivations to come from them…well-said 🙂

  2. Dear fellow sparkles,
    Never have words been so recognisable for me as the words you’ve spoken. At first my mind went other places by the word “desire” (let’s descibe the sum of them as hedonistic, which I know I truly am). Though the words that followed quickly found their way inside me. Yes I always have sought recognision. For some reason I need a regular flow of this to sustain most of the time. I need proof that what I’m doing is ok, I would even like it best if people around me approve of me and the things I do. Logically I know there is no solid truth in this. And I know it’s impossible to be approved by all. Life would be boring if all would approve of me. Especially since I see proof of honest and unconditional love for me in the difficulty in the relationship I have with others. Struggles are proof, they are tests for the relationship/ bond. If others think I’m worth the struggle, then their intentions are real. Maybe it’s because I know I’m complicated and intense. I’m weary of scaring people from me.
    The desire of control is weaved with the desire for safety. Control gives me a (false?) feeling of safety. When I’m surrounded with structure, rules and regulations (especially in work and social situations) the situation is clear to me (and feels more safe). I only realised this after 35 years.. Rules were something to rebel towards, not necessairy, rules would not make me feel free. The opposite is true for me now, structure give clearity and peace of mind, they give guidelines for my ever wandering mind. Structure gives me the chance to relinquish control (once in a while).
    My need for safety takes me back to my childhood. For some reason I didn’t feel safe often. There didn’t happen anything bad or deeply troubling. I guess I always pucked up and felt emotions of other peoe very strong, mostly my parents. And they didn’t always communicated that clearly. So the words that were spoken were almost opposite to the emotions that surged through them. It’s still confronting to feel uncomfortable when being in my childhood neighbourhood. It’s makes me sad to realise I seldom felt safe then.
    The beauty is that those desires are more accomplished now. The life I made myself.
    I realise that there are moments when these desires are less intense. I’m most purely myself around children. At that moment their feeling of being safe is more important. I can act on instinct then. The need to keep them safe and loved comes naturally. I think at those moments I’m the real, pure and uncompromised me. My insecurity, my pride, my anxiety, my wandering mind.. I can put it all aside and just be. It’s a gift to be trusted by a child, but you have to earn it, you have to prove you’re trustworthy. I believe I am. ❤️

    • That’s beautiful Yvonne. I’m so glad that working with children is healing for you. And I’m glad the words of this post resonated with your heart 🙂

  3. Thank you for inviting me to join the Healing Tree blog. I find myself relating and connecting deeply with your humanness and with your beautiful soul . It’s a blessing to know and grow with you💗

    • Thank you for visiting my blog! It’s so nice to see you here 🙂 I feel the same way about you Leslie Nim! I feel very blessed and grateful to have met you at the Ravenna Park center and to be on a growing journey with you ~ I am so happy to have crossed paths with your bright soul in this lifetime 🙂

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