Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

The Nature of Wanting

I went to a presentation recently that purported to be informational. And it was. However, as the presentation began, I realized that the information was being offered in the context of a sales pitch.

The “product” would benefit my life in grand ways. It was unique and far superior to anything in the same category, as evidenced by many scientific studies and personal testimonials. There was only one source for this product, and there was no way to learn more or to “try out” the product until I paid for it. And once I got my product, I would be bound by signed agreement not to share information about it, giving the product an aura of secret initiation and belonging to the “in” group. 

The person making the presentation used other techniques as well, some subtle, some overt, to draw in the listeners. By the end people were eager to sign up.

Sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? But here’s the thing. Even though I could identify some of the various sales strategies being used, I still felt the pull. Despite my skepticism of the sales pitch, I still hesitated, wondering if my life might indeed be enhanced by what they were offering. And perhaps it would be. But I found my judgment too clouded by the careful manipulation to make any kind of trustworthy evaluation. So I walked away.

Wanting is a powerful emotion, convincing us that there is a lack, causing us varying levels of distress and discomfort which can only be alleviated by obtaining the object of desire.

The Dalai Lama admits to a fondness for gadgets. He told the story of walking by an electronics store and stopping to admire a device displayed in the window. Laughing, he described the desire that arose for this shiny object, even though he had no idea what it was for.

We can all relate.

Watching myself respond with at least questioning if not outright desire to what I recognized as a marketing strategy . . . well, it sort of amazed me. What an opportunity to contemplate the nature of wanting. What does it feel like? Where do I sense it in my body? What emotions are attached to it? What thoughts are attached to it?

Wanting is not good or bad. It just is. We want some things; we don’t want other things. But we needn’t be at the mercy of our wanting. We can get to know it rather than blindly follow it. And that knowing might benefit our lives in grand ways!

One who knows enough is enough will always have enough. ~Tao Te Ching

16 thoughts on “The Nature of Wanting”

  1. "Wanting is not good or bad. It just is."
    Galen, your experience described here reflects what I've noticed when being "enticed" by commercials on TV. The last thing this skinny frame needs to do is lose weight, but oh, the convincing nature of the pitch! And what if I buy gold or silver for my IRA? Or can I sell all or some of my life insurance policy? The worst part of it is, we know we don't NEED it, but we still can find ourselves mindlessly attracted, wanting to comply with the one begging our attention, not to mention our money.
    Yes, as humans, we want. But God has made it clear, all we truly need is Him. Just glad to know that in my spurts of wanting, I'm in good company with the Dalai Lama!

  2. As soon as I smelled "sales pitch" I would walk away. That day and a half training for selling vacuum cleaners scarred me for life, lol!

  3. I bet if you have been trained in sales, you recognize the techniques immediately when used by others. In this instance it backfired because I went into the presentation with a positive attitude and expected to sign up. However, when I started feeling manipulated, I became wary and was less convinced about the value of the product than before I walked in.

  4. One who knows enough is enough will always have enough. ~Tao Te Ching

    I love that quote. I told a friend a few days ago that I am very unusual because I don't have the sense of lack that seems to pervade most of the people around me. I am content with less, this attitude does not make me a good consumer of products. We need a sense of lack to make our economies grow. Hahaha

  5. We must be on the same wave link in our spiritual journey. I spent a couple of hours earlier today watching a documentary called 'The Century of the Self' on youtube. Here is a link to a 2 min introduction to the 4 hours of documentary which is also available on youtube. It talks about this very thing you wrote about.The movie is all about the history of the psychology and the mass manipulation behind the making of consumer self society.

  6. It is interesting how most everything can be and has been turned into a consumer marketing issue. Even the whole simplicity movement has been subjected to marketing through publications and consultants and books and seminars. I subscribe to a Taoist magazine, but will let my current subscription expire without renewing — so many pages devoted to advertisements about all the ways I can spend money to live a simpler and more natural life. I joked to a friend that enlightenment costs a lot of money! I bet the documentary is very interesting.

  7. The movie is long, I skipped much of it because it was information overload. But, I got the gist of it and its very revealing. We have been made into material slaves. Now that this objectification market is over saturated and people are catching onto the futility of materialism in general. The non-form aspects of humanity is now being exploited for profit.However, people are waking up,the human species is evolving back to our spiritual roots. I am encouraged about humanity in general. Underneath all the chaos there seems to be an order that is being played out; we are evolving not devolving.

  8. I love this blog because it lets me comtemplate what simply is. I have often said that it is not what happens to us. It is how we react to what happens to us. I feel that more in this day and age. Thank you Galen…again.

  9. Hi Galen, I can relate to your experience. Even with the self awareness and the seeing through the sales tactics, you can still feel if you don't take 'this offer' you'll be missing out. And being social animals we hate the idea of others having something 'better' than us…so it triggers off wanting.
    The idea of becoming convinced, as you out it, of a 'lack' in one's life, that's it exactly…whereas really it's just a construct of the mind in the face of social pressure or comparisons. Must take a note of that movie mentioned above, sounds fascinating!It feels like marketing has taken over the world sometimes!

  10. That's exactly how I felt, Lynne. As turned off as I was by the sales tactics, they still worked! Not to get me to sign up, but at least to make me hesitate, to make me want the product despite the pitch. Amazing. Yes, it is a consumer based economy, so making us experience a lack that we want to fill with whatever is being marketed is how the economy grows. Whatever arises in a counter culture context will quickly be captured and marketed.

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