The Founding Story of the Self (week 7)

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I thought of I want as a feeling coming from something felt to be lacking; a desire for what I thought would fulfill the lack. Some answers to this question were: a job, financial independence, and continued good health.  There were moments when no answer came forth, and in those moments I seemed to have no wants, the question seemed unnecessary, even superfluous.

I thought of I need as essential, more basic than a want. And so my answer to this question was that I had a need to feel a sense of comfort or safety, I needed to relax my tense focus on finances and safety issues, I needed to open up and appreciate the benefits of space, what is ‘already here‘ with less emphasis on the concerns I construct.

But “I want” and “I need” both seem to be stories that I narrate at some level, and upon further investigation the distinction that one is more basic than the other seemed to be another story I tell, a qualifying narrative simply to make sense of two different words. Both ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ refer back to a center, a location in time that seems to keep renewing and reestablishing as sensual experience continues.

I was listening to some jazz music, and I sat back to observe the play of sound in space, and I noticed the instrumental accompaniment to the melody was a kind of narrative, carrying the context within which the ‘meaning’ or the melody told it’s tale in rhythmic time. In that moment I saw how my stories were similarly directional in time, carried along as stories connected to other stories as they built a kind of momentum, referring from past to future with emotional urgency, particularly around safety and security of this feeling of ‘me’. I also saw how that experience of listening to jazz was one model pointing to another, my description of the narrative experience here, and organized and ordered around my sense of me — examples of models atop models that the readings refers to. Swimming in the music of my own telling, trying to remember to listen to the silence in between, moving sometimes in opposition to, and also ‘with’ the flow of experience, and sometimes even ‘as’ the flow…


About David Filippone

I have been a student of Tarthang Tulku’s Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) vision for over twenty-five years. For the past twelve years, I’ve studied TSK and Full Presence Mindfulness with Jack Petranker, director of the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI). I have also participated in programs offered by Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Center. For the past several years, I have curated the CCI Facebook page, which is often TSK-focused, and I serve on the CCI Board of Directors. The CCI Facebook page can be found at the following link...
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3 Responses to The Founding Story of the Self (week 7)

  1. David says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Regarding wants and needs, I agree with you. I get a very clear sense of how I ‘project’ my desires through stories and images into the future. For instance, I now have a hankering for an Apple iPhone, and so I imagine myself in the act of using it, I go on line and read about it and all the applications for it, thus reinforcing my images of it, and my desire or emotional connection to it. But I realize I won’t allow myself to have this gizmo unless or until I find work – in the future. What a story! I tire myself thinking about it! :-) I really do get a sense of the wasted energy surrounding my projections.

    Thanks for drawing my attention to ‘The Alpha Effect’ program. I find this fascinating, and somewhat related to the way TSK inquiry can be used. I passed the website link on to a friend.

    Best wishes,

  2. michaelg says:

    Another comment on your post, David. What you said about the narrative in music is very interesting. It gives me an insight into a program my 13 year old son is taking: The Alpha Affect, where they listen to music (Mozart, Gregorian Chants) for hours through headphones. They are allowed to draw, do puzzles, toss a ball, but aren’t allowed to read, write, or play video games. My own son is drawing more sophistacated pictures, and other kids have had dramatic affects: one boy who has been color-blind for ten years sees color again, another girl ,who has severe hearing loss, has improved hearing by 50 decibles (I think it must be through bone conduction). So your comment about the narrative of music has caused me to think that the narratives of Mozart and the chants are affecting people on a basic level (physiological, neurological) and that in order for this affect to gather momentum, it is important to turn off the usual external narrative influences of our lives as much as possible. –Michael

  3. michaelg says:

    Hi David. Your post on how needs and wants can differ, reminds me of a line from Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album: something like, “Your debutant knows what you need, but I know what you want.” I think I have that the right way around. If so, the inference is that through our wants we can enter into a more vital relationship with who we are. Needs tend to be more utilitarian,–hungers constructed whole from the cloth of our conventional roles in life, while wants can be a more spontaneous flowering of who we are, even though we may not acknowledge those sides of ourselves. But I guess both wants and needs tend to lead us around without much awareness on our part. In terms of the reading, I found it surprising that, among the five elements of self, the Narrating self seems to be the main source of our sense of being in time. I don’t understand it yet, but the whole energy of wanting and needing seems to be what drives into a future. Interesting, no? Michael

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