Wanting & Centering
When does wanting matter? When we are looking for happiness, completion, fulfillment.
Wants arise and gain gravitas when we are feeling unhappy, discontent, dissatisfied with what is. we feel disturbed within, and look outside of us for a way out, a way up, or a way back in.
The looking outwards, the wanting something beyond ourselves and beyond the present moment, directs our energy out and away from our center. We are less able to be here and now, and as our energy flows away from us, we have lower reserves for will power, for healing, and for attention. With lower attention, we feel sleepy, dreamy, lost.
Sometimes we want this: to imagine a future, or a past, that is better than the present. The wanting catches our attention and prevents us from looking at the pain that we don’t want to recognize, even though it would be best to look, attend, and heal the part of the present that we are looking to escape. Desire can be a patch over a deep wound, or a block from feeling something else: a difficult truth, a bump in the road on the way to our fuller purpose. We may want a distraction away from the clear direction of our work, or a film over the grittiness of reality.
Yoga philosophy teaches bhramacharya as the foundational principle of energy management, the conscious direction of our desire. We first notice what it is to want, to be wanted, to be wanting, and then we look at how it is possible to harness and direct that energy, both within ourselves and in our relationships with others.
When we value our center, our energy, we learn the skills of detaching from the objects of our desire, and from the pleasure/validation of being desired. We bring the focus of our energy back towards our center points, softening the fixations on the external points. There are moments we realize the deeper fears we had: that we are not enough, that we must prove our worth, that we do not measure up to others or to expectations. Hearing and disowning those beliefs grants us freedom from attachment to the things we want.
From that place of detachment, it’s possible to feel the wanting, enjoy that energy, and then go deeper, asking what inspires the wanting. We can choose to engage our energy in working towards what we want, externally, or healing the inner places that feel incomplete. We choose to uplift ourselves. We notice that desire ebbs and flows, while the center is constant.
Returning our attention to the center is returning the source of our energy. We learn which desires are drains and leaks in our energy, and we gain the strength to step away from those low points, to break those habits and attachments. We keep respect for our space-time.
Recentering ourselves in self-sufficiency allows us to replenish our inner energy and enjoy the outside world, as independent people able to give ourselves fully to others.