In the spring of 2010, while coaching a female high-powered executive at a cafe in the City of London, I positioned my hand as if it were the needle for an RPM gauge on a car dashboard.
“On this side is total disinterest. He doesn’t even notice that you exist,” I said pointing to where zero would be.
“And on this side is total need. He’s not OK if you aren’t there. He can’t survive without you,” I continued pointing to where the redline would be.
“OK,” she nodded curiously.
“This is a gauge of the desire a man has for you. How strong it is. Now, I’m going to move the needle from one side to the other and you tell me where YOU are most attracted to HIM.”
I began to move my hand in an arc from disinterest to need and at about halfway through, she reached forward and grabbed my hands.
Desire is an interesting thing. Without it, there is no life. And with too much of it, life is squeezed out.
That ‘desire creates desire’ has been one of the most liberating insights I’ve had around ASKING.
Many are unable to see the space between the zero and the redline on the RPM gauge. However, this middle zone is where desire is most powerful.
When we suppress desire, we are like an engine unused. Engines that aren’t used rust and break down. If we aren’t in touch with our desire, we lose our connection to it. When our ability to feel has atrophied, awakening desire is a crucial first step. The supressed must be liberated before it can be expressed.
On the other hand, if we are are attached to what we desire, we are like an engine constantly redlining. Engines that constantly redline overheat and break down. The perpetual experience of scarcity we create through being attached to what we do not have wreaks havok on us, creating a negative feedback loop between our body and mind.
In the same way an engine lasts longest by running in the middle, we experience the most bliss and create at our highest capacity when we experience and express desire in a balanced way.
Liberating supressed desire is beyond the scope of this article series. What I want to focus on here is how to ASK for what you want without redlining.
Asking for something you desire, while at the same time knowing you do not need it, is the sweet spot. This is where ‘desire creates desire’. This is where you create most powerfully.
In many situations, this will be the default. You may ask for a coffee at Starbucks while knowing that you don’t ‘need’ it. If the barista said “Sorry, we’re out of coffee”, you might wonder why the doors were still open, but you probably wouldn’t slap the barista. You would ‘want’ the coffee while at the same time knowing you don’t ‘need’ it.
Stop Avoiding Asking
Ironically, one of the most common symptoms of ‘need’ level desire is to avoid asking all together. We do this typically out of a fear of being turned down. What we don’t see is that by avoiding asking we actually create the same outcome. We say ‘no’ to ourselves before giving anyone else the opportunity to. If you find yourself avoiding asking, then I invite you to re-read the first two articles of this series and create a way of seeing ‘asking’ that has it be easy for you.
Asking From Need
When we ask while believing we need something, on some level this is always felt by the other person. As we saw with the attraction example above, this is a major turn-off. Not just intimately, but in all matters of human relating, need kills desire. The most powerful way to ask is thus to do so while desiring, but not needing.Here are two questions you should be asking yourself right now:
- How do I know if I am needing something rather than just desiring it?
- When I am needing something, how do I ease off into just desire?
How to Know if You Need
Ask yourself:“Do I need this?”
Don’t think about the answer. Just feel. If you have a sense of urgency or concern in your body, then it’s a safe bet the answer is ‘yes’ and you’re in need.
It doesn’t have to get any more complicated than that.
Don’t start to intellectualize and justify to yourself how you aren’t really needy. Nothing matters more than how you feel. This is where you are coming from and this is what will be felt in others.
“Do I need this coffee?”
“Do I need to get paid this month?”
“Do I need my child to be safe?”
“Do I need my loved one to survive?”
See how it changes with context? I bet one of those felt like it is needed. Here though is where this can become really powerful:
You do not need anything.
If that sounds crazy to you, then keep reading.
How to Ease-Off Need into Desire
The advice ‘let go’ is too simple. There is a difference between turning the engine off and easing off on the accelerator. It’s not desire that we want to get rid of. It is the attachment which creates the illusion of need that we want to let go of. I am going to share two specific practices that you can use right now to let go of the attachment causing you to redline and settle into the bliss and power of your desire.
Practice #1 – Dis-Cover Desire
One of the videos on my YouTube channel that I most commonly share with clients is ‘Stop Turning Your Want To’s into Have To’s’. In it I explain how we create ‘to do’ lists by connecting with our desire and writing down all that we would love to do. Then we go to bed and wake up the next day feeling burdened by it. What happened?While we were sleeping, we forgot that the list was actually born from desire. We made a list and then thought we ‘needed’ to do what was on it. We turned our ‘want to’s’ into ‘have to’s’. The ‘fix’ for this is very simple. It is simply to reverse what we did while we were asleep. We can remind ourselves that what we think we need to do, we actually just want to do. “I need my coffee.”“Why?”“Because I need to stay awake.”“Why?”“Because I need to get my work done.”“Why?”“Because I need to keep my job.”“Why?”“Because I need to pay the mortgage.”“Why?”“Because I need a place to live.”“Why?”“Because I need to survive!”“Why?”“Because I need to stay alive!”“Yea, but why?”“Because I WANT to stay alive!”Beneath every need is a forgotten desire.I encourage you to create a regular practice of dis-covering the desires beneath your illusory needs. The more you create awarness that desire is always at the root of what you think you need, the less need you will feel and the more free you will be to express desire in a powerful way.
Practice #2 – Declare Not Needing
Once it becomes obvious to you that beneath every need is desire, as a more direct route, you can simply remind yourself that you do not need what you desire.
Here are some examples of what you might declare:
“I do not need a coffee.”
“I do not need to get paid.”
“I do not need a new client.”
“I do not need this person to say ‘yes’.”
“I do not need my baby to go to sleep.” ?
When you speak the phrase “I do not need…”, you want to feel the attachment lift and the desire remain. If when declaring it feels you are giving up however, then you are going too far. Go back to the first practice until you can feel and locate the difference between desire and need.
Finding the Balance
You want be like a palm tree.Typically, when hurricane winds batter a shoreline, all kinds of trees are uprooted or broken except for the palms. If we say that trees want to stay where they are, then their roots into the earth would be an expression of that desire to stay.The difference between palm trees and other trees is not the depth of their desire however, it is in how they stand on that desire. Trees that get uprooted or broken during a hurricane stand on their roots in a very fixed and immovable way. When the winds come, they resist. We could say that with rigid trunks, most trees express a ‘need’ to stay where they are. Palms, however, bend. In fact, giant palms are so flexible that they can bend almost completely over and touch the ground. It is the simultaneity of a palm tree’s rootedness (desire) and it’s flexibility (not needing) that has it capable of it’s desire being fulfilled despite hurricane force winds. In this same way, you can express your desire by asking, while at the same time being flexible in your willingness to receive any response at all. To be a palm tree is to ask without needing.+When you DO NOT NEED WHAT YOU ASK FOR you fully express your creative potential. This is the sweet spot. This is where your asking has the most power. Need is a lie that separates you from the truth of your desire. Desire is who you are. Need is who you are not. Set yourself free from the lies of need.And ask! Ask! Ask!Loving you, JP