Relationship Between Compulsion, Want, And Need

In my limited awareness, I experience compulsion as needs. Compulsions increase in number and intensity when I think my environment controls me. As I take control of myself, I experience fewer needs. Need and conscious awakening seem to have an inverse relationship: the more awake I am, the less I experience need. Inversely, the more need I experience, the less awakened I am.

Let’s look at the need-less experience of a lucid dream as an example. In that consciousness, awareness of dream and dreamer while asleep gives me complete awake control. This because I’ve taken awake control of thoughts and emotions that generate the dream. I experience few if any needs in lucid dreams because I have full awake command of my dreaming self.

In awake consciousness, it seems I have many needs. From air to food to shelter, it appears I must depend upon my environment for survival. That dependence on what I feel is outside me may be key to why I have needs.

Unlike wants, needs are more black-and-white. Needs feel 100% compelling while wants feel more desirable than compelling. For example, even though I may want to breathe, at a certain point desire will turn to need and I will be compelled to breathe. I have no choice – I must pay attention to it – I must act.

I’m also compelled to believe the need is compelling enough to justify the compulsion. Thus, needs justify compulsions that justify needs. They are dependent upon and so justify each other.

Need and Compulsion Represent Each Other

Compulsion is an urge – a concept – not a physical thing or a goal. Physical or not, need represents the compulsion concept. Accepting a need as literal compels me to feel dependent upon my environment and so feeds my compulsion.

Feeding a compulsion feeds an awareness of lack that I judge as need. To that end, I may surrender all that I am to satisfy my compulsion in hopes of satisfying a need.

The nature of compulsion leads me to consider using need in situations where I seek to satisfy a want. My thought is that if I were to consider a want as a need, I’ll work harder to achieve it. On the outside, that may seem like a workable solution.

There is a flaw in that logic, however. A focus on awareness of lack tends to build more awareness of lack. Thus, even when feeling compelled to act, the focus on lack will tend to lessen the ability to act. Need may, then, subtract emotional energy from the excitement of want.

Instead, to build energy towards achievement of a goal, want it! And let go of the need for it. The entire process of achievement is within – that’s want – rather than from without – that’s need.

You may then be in a position to consider how want, too, focuses attention on lack. What might happen when you release the need for wants? I wonder…

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