What We Really, Really Want

by Jeff Foster

JeffYou cannot have what you want, ever.

It is the wanting itself which destroys the possibility of ever having what you want, for the wanting is the very lack that you are trying to overcome. Wanting is lacking. You try to use the wanting mechanism to put an end to lack, but any relief is only temporary, and the lack soon returns, which feeds the wanting. It’s a vicious circle.

Wanting implies that something can be captured and owned by someone. But who could ever capture, and who could ever own?

There is only this, only what’s happening, only the present appearance of everything. And this can never be captured, because it is not a thing amongst other things, but the open, spacious possibility of all possibilities which gives rise to all things in the first place. It cannot be captured because it is not an “it.”

If we are honest, we don’t really want what we want.

What we really want is an end to our wanting.

But here’s the problem: wanting an end to wanting is another want, perhaps the biggest want of them all.

Perhaps the wanting obscures the obvious: we already have everything we could ever want, because right now, an end to all our wants, all our seeking, all our problems is already with us, and that end is so simple: these desires, problems, wants, troubles, annoyances do not really exist, in that they are simply thoughts arising now. That’s all they are, all the troubles of the world: thoughts.

So isn’t it the end of thought that we really, really want?

Wouldn’t that just be more thinking?

An end to thought is not really needed. Thought happens, thought appears, and there is nobody there doing it. Isn’t this obvious? Thought simply appears, and so already thought is not “mine,” it’s not personal, it’s just happening in this infinite awareness, in this open space, which is not separate from its content.

Like clouds floating through the sky, like drops of rain trick­ling down the window pane, thoughts aren’t really a prob­lem at all.

Thoughts are only a problem when an individual wants to be free from them. But how could an individual ever be free from thought? An individual is the very thought he seeks to free himself from! It’s a merry-go-round, and there’s no way out for an individual seeking a way out.

So an individual can never, ever have what he wants, because the individual is actually nothing but those wants, those desires, those problems. To be free from wants would be to die, and why would an individual ever want that?

To be free from wants you would have to be free from the one who wants to be free from wants—and who could ever make that happen?

No, there is no way out: life is just as it is, and any resis­tance actually creates the very individual who thinks that he needs to be free from life and all its problems. The seeker is resistance, and resistance cannot end resistance, not in a million years.

Still, resistance may be seen—in clarity. And in that seeing, there is freedom. And in that freedom, you want nothing, and so you lack nothing. And then, when nothing is yours, you discover that everything is yours, and always has been.

And then you can still play at wanting. But whether or not you “get what you want,” the intimacy remains, always.

After graduating from Cambridge, where he majoring in astrophysics, Jeff Foster became depressed and ill. This led to years of intense exploration into “spiritual enlightenment.” The absolute end of this investigation brought with it the seeing that there is only, ever Oneness. With this clarity, Jeff recognized what his life was in truth: spontaneous, clear, joyful, and fully alive. Jeff then began to write and talk about what he calls “the utterly, utterly obvious.” His books include The Wonder of Being, Beyond Awakening, An Extraordinary Absence, and Life without a Centre. Jeff’s meetings and retreats are filled with humor and compassion, which help shatter the mind’s hopes for a future enlightenment, while revealing the awakening that is always already present, right in the midst of life.


From The Wonder of Being, by Jeff Foster. Copyright © 2010 by Jeff Foster. All rights reserved. Reprinted by arrangement with Non-Duality Press, Salisbury, U.K. www.nondualitypress.com