Most of us spend all our energy trying to fulfill our wants. Should we instead focus on our needs? What’s the difference between wants and needs? How do you go from wants to needs? Here are five insights:
1. Needs are physical.
We all need air to breathe and live. Similarly we have very basic needs for food and shelter for our survival. Needs are basic and minimum, and are related to our physical survival.
2. Wants come from ego.
The ego takes our physical needs and converts them to wants. The simple need to protect our feet while walking outside turns into a want for owning 24 pairs of shoes. The need to nourish our bodies with good food turns into the want to go to the finest restaurant and eat an expensive five-course meal.
3. Be wary of the trap of wants.
Once our basic needs our fulfilled we have a choice. We can stop here and commence our spiritual journey. This allows us to go from the level of the physical body to the level of the soul and meet the needs of the soul. Instead most of us commence on a journey that is egged on by the ego. We begin wandering in the wilderness of wants. Without realizing it we begin to express our wants as needs. We say to ourselves, “I need my 24 pairs of shoes!”, “I need a wardrobe full of clothes.”, “I need a huge house and an expensive vacation.” There is no end to wants. Needs are limited, but wants are not. Once you fulfill a want another one arises and takes its place. Without knowing it we get on a treadmill of wants that sucks all our energy just to remain at the same spot. In the bargain the very real needs of our soul are ignored and we continue to remain trapped at the level of the physical and the level of the ego.
4. Get on the path of simplifying your life.
One of the Niyamas that Patanjali talks about in the Yoga Sutra is Santosha or contentment. (Yamas and Niyamas are two of the eight limbs of yoga. Yamas are the don’ts and Niyamas are the do’s. Yamas are things you should avoid while Niyamas are the rules you should follow. There are five Yamas and five Niyamas and Santosha is one of the 5 Niyama.) Santosha is a mental attitude that you cultivate to be satisfied with what you have and to remain unfazed by adversity. This attitude allows us to focus on the food on our plate and allows us to relish it, rather than look at what somebody else is eating and be jealous of it. The corresponding Yama is Aparigraha. Aparigraha translates to “non-possessiveness”. It is a vow to not gather unnecessary possessions and restrict our self to the bare minimum things to satisfy our needs. Both Aparigraha and Santosha should put us on the path to Simplify our life. They should allow us to disentangle from the web of desires and wants and become free to commence a deeper spiritual journey.
5. Yoga is going from wants to needs.
However you have to keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to go from wants to needs while remaining in the ego. Since yoga is a journey out of the ego it is also a journey that should allow you to slowly reduce your wants to the level of your needs. Yamas and Niyamas are the “push” aspect of yoga. This is a discipline you try to cultivate and mentally push yourself in that direction. The remaining limbs of yoga are the “pull” aspects of yoga. The remaining six limbs will gently loosen the hold of ego in your life and unfold your ability to simplify your life and free up your energy.
When we live at the level of our needs we are not restricted but instead freed up. We are no longer working hard and putting all our energy to just to keep feeding the bottomless well of wants. When our mental attitude is reoriented we experiences immense freedom and joy. Suddenly we are no longer competitive and can truly enjoy the success of others. This makes us somebody everybody wants to be with. Love and connections multiply while division and envy ends. The meaning of life begins to slowly unfold and our true spiritual journey commences.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Poverty is the worst form of violence”. While there is nothing noble and dignifying about poverty itself, the people who suffer from poverty have hopes and dreams like us. One face of poverty is Jane. She used to live in the Mathare Valley slum of Kenya. Growing up as a small child she had two dreams: One was to be a doctor and the second was to marry and have a good husband. Soon she realized that given the poverty of her family there was no hope that she could pursue her first dream. So she went after the second one. By eighteen she was married and very soon she had a baby. By 20 her husband had left her for another woman and she was pregnant with another child. Her mother soon passed away and she had no support from anybody else. Left to fend for herself and her family she took to prostitution and soon she became HIV positive.
Luckily the story of Jane does not end here. Jane today says that though her dreams did not directly translate into the form that she had thought, she has nevertheless achieved what she wanted. Though she is not a doctor she is serving and helping others, and though she does not have a husband she has family and love in her life. In many ways Jane represents the rising tide of humanity that is being helped by innovations like Micro credit. Jane’s story is inspiring at many levels. At one level it shows us that the problem of global poverty is on the mend. At another more personal level her story inspires us that no matter how dire the situation gets, things can turn around, if we do not give up hope.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen,
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
It is important to realize that our comfort zone is a trap as it keeps us from growing and learning. Because we are so comfortable within our comfort zone we repel anything that takes us beyond it, including success and wealth. Here are five secrets that will help you master your comfort zone:
1. “I Know It All” is a symptom
One of the strong pull that keeps us within our comfort zone is our extreme comfort with our thoughts. At any given point we are strongly and emotionally attached to our ideas. We all feel strongly that our beliefs are right. But successful people are more open. They are always willing to challenge their own ideas and treat them as mere hypothesis that need testing and proving. The first step to be able to step out of our comfort zone is to create a distance between our ideas and our egos. This allows us to view our ideas dispassionately, not feeling threatened when they need revision.
2. You can grow only from the outside of the comfort zone
There is familiarity and coziness inside the comfort zone. But be careful. This coziness is a trap. Hanging out with familiar friends, tuning into the same channels whose ideas resonate with yours, working in the same areas where you have expertise: all this is fine, but keep in mind it could be something that may be holding you back. The only way to grow out of your comfort zone is to step outside it. Which means you have to be able to become uncomfortable. You should be able to handle unfamiliar situations, explore uncomfortable ideas, deal with strangers, and go to unknown places.
3. Stress prevents us from venturing out
The reason why many choose to stay within the familiar is because the unfamiliar raises stress levels. If stress levels are already high, this is not something that can be done easily. In such a case the answer may be that you may have to step outside the comfort zone gingerly. You do not have take on everything new all at once. If you do it gradually and allow the body to acclimatize to the new environment then stress levels can be managed. Another approach is to use the power of yoga to reduce stress. Thus yoga can be a vehicle not for your health and spiritual well-being, but it can also become a vehicle for your growth and success.
4. It needs energy
Do not underestimate the resistance you may feel when you try to break out of the bonds of your comfort zone. Usually a significant burst of energy is needed to expand your horizons. It is important to make sure that you are prepared physically and emotionally to take the leap. Besides taking time to reduce your stress levels, you should make sure that your physical and emotional health is in place before you start your adventure.
5. Faith is the key
Why do you want to venture out of the comfort zone in the first place? Is it all about you or is it about something bigger? When you make your goals much more than answering the call of an ambitious ego, then you can allow faith in a higher force to guide you. Life outside the comfort zone is not easy and success is not assured. Allow the steadying hand of faith to steady the ship when things get too turbulent.
We cannot live without light. Exposure to sunlight is critically important for our health. But too much exposure to light can also lead to problems. We all are aware that exposure to sunlight has a direct impact on our mood. This is because exposure to sunlight causes hormones to be released in our bodies. These have a direct impact on our health and mood. But when we get too much of light the pendulum swings the other way and it begins to have an adverse impact. This short video alerts us to the danger that “light pollution” has on our health and on the environment. This is worth watching and sharing.
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Tristream - User Centered Application Design www.tristream.com Phil Dyer: Visual Design Andrew Selbie: Development