No, you can’t always get what you wantThe Rolling Stones, You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
A few days ago I read something in Twitter that made me think: “What need do you have that is behind what you want?”
It is interesting that “want” (the noun) means “a lack or deficiency of something”. I guess, “to want” would mean to experience this lack or deficiency. To want is to feel a void.
Why do we want what we want? If we desire something, it must be because we are not 100% satisfied. There is something about our reality we don’t like and we want to change it, to “improve” it a little, maybe a lot. Why would we change it? It has to be because we think we will be better off with this new item or partner or job or look. Because we hope that we will be different, changed, improved. Maybe a little change, maybe a whole new start. It doesn’t matter, it is just the same: we want to get away from the square in which we stand and move to a different one in the hope that ‘different’ will be ‘better’. When we want something, we are mainly admitting we do not want to stay the same.
We want to be someone else, even if only slightly. We want to transform our reality, change who we are, have a new beginning, a new tomorrow. But no. It is always today. We are stuck with ourselves. Even if we change square by getting something we didn’t have before, even if we travel in time, it is always today.
Our ‘other’, our unconscious, follows us like a rat’s tail, bringing our shadow with it. We are stuck together. We may try to change in the hope of a new beginning, a new tomorrow. But there is no such thing as a new start. We cannot escape ourselves, no matter what we desire. And in that sense, it is always today. We will always be with ourselves. We cannot leave a part of us in the past. It is our baggage. We need to stop and accept it.
We need to learn to love ourselves, accept our evil as well as our good. We are both. There is no point in desiring anything new. Even if we did get it, we would still be here, today, stuck with ourselves. We need to accept the whole of us. Hope is not somewhere else. It is only here. Already here, with us.
All I ever wantedDepeche Mode, Enjoy the silence
All I ever needed is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
The tweet went further from this, what a little pearl of wisdom. It separated what we need from what we want. So not just why do we want something, but why do we what that something in particular? That question, however, can only be answered individually.
In the last few days, my unconscious has been bombarding me with a short tune from a Mike Oldfield song: “This is zero hour” (from Heaven’s open). I don’t particularly like this song, but the tune came back to my head over and over again. It is always today… After I wrote this post, it stopped. So there’s a possibility that what I wrote here is all an unconscious projection. On the other hand, isn’t it always…?
The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.Socrates
Little by little, I see how some spiritual recommendations are actually unavoidable truths. This quote seems to imply that we will be happier as a consequence of seeking fewer things, but I believe the causal relationship is in the opposite direction. We will seek fewer things as a consequence of being happier. We wish fewer things because we are happy, not in order to be happy.
A bit off topic, but it is the same with “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Of course you will. How could you not? You hate others if you hate yourself and you can only love others if you love yourself first. It is one and the same thing. The proverb is not a recommendation, it states a fact.
Sorry, I digress. This whole post was really aimed at myself, so that I think why I want what I want and what it says about me. So that I remind myself of the need to accept my shadow and to love myself. Something that is so much easier said than done.
Now I remember a scene from Enchanted in which Nathaniel asks Prince Edward if he likes himself and he, nonchalantly, answers: “What’s not to like?”