Wanting and Needing


As the annual festivities approach, I’m busy learning a seasonal song  – All I want for Christmas – to perform at the local gigs our Cheshire Rock Choir are giving in the next few weeks.

It’s a bit of annoying song to sing – quite light and superficial in a way, with a catchy melody that that doesn’t exactly sing itself; it has to be learned, so there’s some note bashing going on too.

But it’s some of the words which have given me pause for thought:

I don’t WANT a lot for Christmas, there is something that I NEED

which made me recall what Assagioli’s psychosynthesis says about wants and needs. Psychosynthesis is sometimes called “a psychology with a soul”. It explores, amongst other things, how our psychological make up is composed of an infinite number of subpersonalities. It works with the transpersonal qualities of love and will, and focusses on transpersonal qualities which we can express, but which we often block, especially if there is a conflict of wants and needs going on between some of our subpersonalities.

Examples of transpersonal qualities are beauty, courage, joy, power, inclusiveness, understanding, wonder and humour. Returning to wants and needs, we might want something, but at a deeper level, that want is the outer expression of a need – but there is often no apparent connection between what we want, and what we seek, or need.

I might want a cup of coffee, expertly prepared by a barista…but what need could be hidden behind that? Maybe I’m just in need of some caffeine because I’m tired, but sitting down in a cafe to drink my coffee forces me to stop what I’m doing and take a rest. What do I get from the rest? A break, a pause, a space to recoup my energy, a time to be still, to be in the moment? And what might the underlying transpersonal quality be? I suggest it could be peace.

Back to the song – I don’t want a lot for Christmas….OK, not much, message received. But …….there is something that I need. What might that be? The words of the song move on to the final chorus –  All I want for Christmas is you, baby.

What’s the transpersonal quality there? My guess is that it’s love.


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