When I was a kid, one way my friends and I would be cruel to each other was to offer something like a piece of gum or candy asking, “Do you want one?” and when the person said that they did, we’d retort with, “How’s it feel to want?” If you happened to be the victim of this juvenile joke, it generally felt lousy. As cruel kids games go, this one is pretty Zen. If you substitute compassion for cruelty, then the question, “How’s it feel to want?” can lead you to enlightenment.
Getting to know how it feels to want can be a lifelong occupation. It does’t always feel lousy, depending on what it is that you want and how likely your are to get it. People buy lottery tickets by the billions to feel the joy of wanting a financial finale to all their problems. Children excitedly watch the clock wanting Christmas morning to come. Wanting also leads to a lot of suffering. If you feel yourself suffering, you might ask yourself what it is that you want.
Unless you are at peace with the universe, it’s likely you want something all the time. If you notice yourself wanting and ask yourself, with great humor, compassion and genuine curiosity, how it feels to want, you will gain all kinds of insight into yourself. Do you want to feel the joy of eternal peace? How’s it feel?