Wish, Want, Need — The Three Levels of Desire

The 3 Levels of Desire

Wish, Want, Need — The 3 Levels of Desire


We like to use words freely, such as wish, want, and need. We wish we had more money. We want a new car. We need more time. But, how often do we really think about what those words mean, to us and the rest of the universe?

Let’s start with the word “wish.” It’s such a simple word, somewhere between the realms of prayer and magic. As kids, we wished upon a star. As adults, we wish that driver ahead of us would get out of our way. But who are we asking and what do we hope to achieve by these requests? Have you given it any though at all?

In its childlike form, a wish has a dreamy, magical intent, usually self-serving, though in an innocent way. Then we “grow-up” and realize that the physical world doesn’t revolve around us like we once imagined it, we become a bit jaded and a wish becomes more like a frustrated request to the world to get what we think we desire at that moment. It is an admission of our perceived powerlessness against forces beyond our control. But are they?


And what about “want?” This has to be one of the most over-used words in the vocabulary. It is a step-up from merely wishing for something, although the two words are related. We may wish something was true, but we want something now. When we were younger, we wanted a lot of things-a skateboard, a doll, or an ice cream cone.

Now, we want a better-paying job, a bigger house, or a new car. The basic desire is the same, the objects of that desire is still seemingly beyond our current grasp without some outside assistance. If only our boss could see just how much more we were worth, they’d pay us more. If only we had more time, we’d get all those chores done. We want it all and we want it now! So, what’s so wrong about wanting these things? Don’t we have to want something first before we can get it?


Then, all of a sudden we need it. We can’t live without it. Recently, I heard a child pleading with his mother for a comic book, he said, “But Mom, I really need this! If you love me, you’ll buy it for me!” Of course, the mother had been through this before and said no. The young boy switched tactics to tearful begging and as a last resort, threw himself down in the middle of the busy store and wept pitifully. The mother simply said, no you don’t need it and that’s final. We hopefully have not resorted recently to temper-tantrums, but we are all most, likely, guilty of using this word “need” in a free-and-easy manner. If want is a step above wish, then need is wanting threefold.

There are few things we need in life, we have come to think of these things as the “bare necessities.” Think about the all-so-innocent phrase, “I need a haircut.” So, what would happen if you didn’t get a haircut-ever? We would have very long hair. An annoyance maybe, a threat to your security perhaps, and end to our life doubtful. We can justify our so-called needs, we do this quite regularly-either out loud or to ourselves. “If I don’t get a new car, I won’t be able to get to work,” you may justify.

And, that could be a very true statement, if you lived twenty miles away with no public transportation. It is still a justification of desire. Of course, if we’re going to spend all that money for a new car anyway, shouldn’t it be just the one we were drooling over in the showroom window? As the saying goes, justify or die. But would we really die if we didn’t get that $80,000 Lexus with keyless locks, air-conditioning, cruise-control, leather seats and push-button global positioning in it? Doubtful at best.

The ante has been raised; we need something. Our desire for an anticipated result has increased to the point of expectation. We are still putting ourselves at the mercy of uncertainty. Not because we couldn’t afford that car of our dreams necessarily, and there are certainly enough of them being driven around DC proving that to so, however, it isn’t desire that makes something real, it’s action.

Justifying Desire

It’s not how much we need a thing that will produce or manifest it into our lives. No matter how many times we drive by that showroom and dream of exchanging last year’s model for this years, we will never get what we want-because the very act of wanting is a statement of lack in the physical world. We will manifest that which we give energy to , in this case, we expect our desires to go unfulfilled from outside of us, that’s what shows up–the condition of wanting it. We should be grateful for that which we know is already ours-give thanks to the Creator for giving us free will and absolute love.

If we offer only prayers of lack, indeed, that is what we will get. If we begin a prayer with, “Oh Father I beseech thee, help me in my hour of greatest need…” what are we really asking for? Where’s the action on our part in that plea? It’s not that “Our Father” hasn’t already answered your prayer, it was answered before it was even asked. Instead, we should begin our prayer with, “Oh all-loving Creator, that you for that which I already have.” By the time we have vocalized a prayer, it has already passed through many layers of unconsciousness into conscious awareness and finally processed by our higher brain functions to produce the spoken word.

Divine Prayer

God doesn’t need us to voice our desires and all too often the original content is drastically altered before it is voiced. Correcting our language for our children may be common practice but even they usually know on an instinctive level what we really mean. Instead of this cycle of desire for things outside of ourselves, we can help ourselves best by relying upon the one thing that is absolutely, positively guaranteed: God’s Love. It is this realization which breaks the cycle. Here is the simplest, most effective prayer you can offer to the Divine: “Thank you for all that I have, all that I am, and all that is mine for the asking.”

It is just that easy. The Universe is yours for the asking. The secret is to let the Universe provide in its own time and in its own way. You are a co-creator with the Universe; there is no wish, want, or need which goes unanswered which comes from the level of positive intentions. And, so it is.

Blessings, Rev Debra Brady

Note: I am now available for phone, email and chat readings. Contact me through my FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiritualSpa/

Original post 2012; updated 2016/2019. Based on a “sermon” I gave at Arlington Metaphysical Chapel in Virginia, around summer 2001.

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