Wanting is better than Having

Jun 22, 2010 by

Wanting is better than Having

I’m sure you’ve experienced it. The anticipation of a trip, the excitement of a gift, the thrill of a new purchase … you know, the new computer, the new car, those new shoes, the jitters of a first date. But when you get it, well it doesn’t quite measure up to the expectation you’ve setup in your head. The trip is more complicated than you thought, the new toy isn’t quite as shiny, the date … well he isn’t quite as handsome as you hoped.  Buyer’s remorse kicks in and you’re disappointed.  The wanting, the desire, the dream was better than what is really happening.

I’ve been talking about this concept for quite some time with a very close friend of mine. Intuitively it makes sense, right?  I mean wanting is all about the fantasy, all about how you craft an image in your mind about how things will be when you finally get there (when you finally get the new toy, go on the new trip, get the new job, lose the weight, find the right partner …).  Wanting is about the excitement of the unknown, about not knowing what’s going to happen next.  The trill of the chase.

Awareness: The Key to Living in Balance (Osho, Insights for a New Way of Living)But is Wanting really BETTER than Having?  Or is it just easier to swallow?  When you think about it Wanting is really all about being in your head, and Having is really about being in the moment.  This is traditional stuff that Buddhism has really explored for quite some time.  It’s about Awareness (see the Osho book).  It’s about getting out of your Monkey Mind and getting into the now.  So the Wanting is really just allowing your Monkey Mind (see my blog post on the Monkey Mind) to spin out of control.  The Having is all about silencing your Monkey Mind and exploring the moment, not exploring your fantasy of what the moment might be.

Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own WayI’ve been reading a new book (wow, yea, me read a book … shocking I know) called “Taming Your Gremlin“.  It’s a great quick read that puts your Monkey Mind into the physical form of a gremlin and then gives you techniques to quiet that critical voice in your head.  It’s the same idea, just packaged in another way to get into your heart.

So, if it’s not “Wanting is better than Having” but exactly the opposite “Having is BETTER than Wanting”, why do we get pulled into wanting without having so many times?  Maybe the wanting allows you to keep your distance (see my Five AM and The Distance blog post). Wanting is about you being lost in your mind’s illusion, not in the moment. But having … having is more intimate … having forces you to be up close and personal (see my “Take that condom off” blog post) … having forces you to feel your feelings, to look at what you wanted in the light of right now, and not through the rose colored glasses of your head.

So here’s my question: “What are you fully committed to Wanting, but are afraid of Having?”  Is it that promotion?  Is it that client?  That car, that toy, that person, that body, that lifestyle?  What fantasy have you concocted that is so strong that you’d rather stay in your head, in that fantasy, than take delivery and really experience the Having? What if you decided to Have rather than Want … how would your world change?  Would you be more in the moment?  Could you better tame your gremlin?

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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