Are You Found Wanting?

July 6, 2010

I’ve been thinking lately about Mick Jagger and the Book of Daniel.

There’s this riveting scene at the opulent temple of Balshsazzar on the eve of the Babylonians’ ruin (of course they don’t know it’s the eve of their ruin, at least not yet), where this disembodied finger eerily appears and writes on the wall:

Mene, Mene, Tekel, u-Pharsin (or Peres)

It’s a prophecy, couched in the language of economics. These are Aramaic terms for various units of currency. (Tekel, for example, is an alternate spelling of shekel.) Daniel gives the interpretation: it has to do with King Balshazzar, and it is not especially good news: the King’s days are over.

You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

That very night the kingdom was invaded. Balshazzar didn’t live to see the sun rise.

The part of this I’ve been thinking about is that phrase, “You have been found wanting.” Which brings us to Mick Jagger:

You can’t always get what you want.

It’s that word, want.

It seems to me, it isn’t just that you can’t always get what you want. It’s that you can’t ever get what you want. Because wanting and having are two mutually exclusive states of being.

The word “want” originally meant “to lack,” that is, to not have. And it meant this for at least a good five hundred years before anyone thought of persuading the word to mean to desire, to wish for. That’s a lot of years. This is in our phonetic DNA. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, when you say “I want…” you are saying “I lack….”

“I want dinner…” I lack dinner.

“I want to succeed…” I lack success.

“I want to be loved…” I am not loved, nobody loves me, I must not be lovable.

You see the trap? We think we’re articulating a wish, a desire — and what we’re secretly doing is articulating our failings, the emptinesses and unfulfillments of our lives.

This is why the prayer of petition is often so self-defeating. Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz, is really just another way of saying, Lord, you won’t buy me a Mercedes Benz.

I want, I want, I want…. The perfect way to keep ourselves in poverty.

The alternative?

I’m so grateful for having …


  1. Josephine Gross

    Excellent reminder! Gratitude is what keeps more coming …

  2. Mandy Allen

    Bless you, John. A great reminder to us all. Thank you.

    Enjoy the journey.


  3. Julie Sando

    Powerful. Really powerful.
    I am grateful for reading your blog, all the success I do have, the free time I make for myself, my creativity, and my passion.
    Thank you!
    Feelin’ much better!

  4. Karen Williams

    I love the way that Abraham-Hicks addresses this situation of wanting. Since, according to Abraham, desires (wanting) fuels the Universe and keeps the eternal in eternity, it’s important to understand how this all works.

    And it’s all about emotion. How do we FEEL when we say “I want _____”? If we say it from noticing that we don’t have it and the Joneses next door, for instance, DO have it, then we’re wanting from a place of feeling lack and maybe frustration, and nothing much comes from that sort of wanting.

    If, however, we say “I want ____” from a place of feeling how wonderful it will be to have something (tangible or intangible) and savoring the experience in advance, then THAT sort of wanting will likely usher in the fruit of our desire.

    It’s fine and dandy to say “I want,” according to Abraham. But the trick is to do it from a place of happy anticipation. That will win the day.

    Saying “I’m so grateful for having…” is another approach, but again, it’s all about feeling. If we say that from a place of basking in the experience of having what we want, all well and good. If, on the other hand, we say it from a place of realizing our words don’t actually match our current experience & we’re sort of trying to fast-forward reality, not much will likely come from it.

    Words don’t really matter. It’s how we think and feel about our desire that makes all the difference.

  5. Scott Taylor

    I recently read something on point. That wanting is proof of not having. Choosing to have our desires will feel much better than wanting. Intending and expecting to have them, and then taking action with full responsibility for making it so is even better.

    Chose choosing over wanting, and connect it to your emotions by intending and expecting to have what you chose. Stay playful, and stay creative.



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