This system gives us energy and motivation to forage in the world for what we need.
A “go-and-find-and-get what you need and want” system for everything we need – from food and shelter, to work and play. We can only survive if we have a system which spots which resources are needed, wanted and desired, searches for them and reacts to resources that are readily available.
The SEEKING system inside us creates an internal sense of intense and enthusiastic exploration, curiosity, and interest. The SEEKING system is also connected to all other systems, for instance – RAGE can be activated when we are stopped from SEEKING; when there is external threat our FEAR system and our SEEKING system
work together to help us escape to shelter. When this system is offline and not working effectively, we don’t know or respond to what we want, need and hope for.
Activation and Expression
We experience a yearning to move towards what we want or need, with a sense of motivation, a desire to do something. We are likely to feel clear about what it is that we need giving our mind and body a surge of energy to propel us into action.
This energises the whole body, may create tingles of excitement. We experience an increased sense of determination and tenacity with regard to our wants, needs and desires. We may overcome obstacles to “go-and-find-and-get” what we need. Intense activation may also be linked to the activation of other systems simultaneously – for instance, our SEEKING system is activated with our CARE system when we become a parent.
Blocked or overactive activation
- An ‘underactive’ or ignored SEEKING system – noticing but ignoring our desires, or not being connected to needs or wants at all.
- An ‘overactive’ SEEKING system – could be indicated by addictions, including drug, alcohol and gambling, workaholism; obsessions, compulsively repeating urges or actions – where desires are met in a way that is self defeating (i.e. cause problems in our life).
This will impact on all our other emotional systems and long-term could lead to mood disorders like depression.
Listening to your SEEKING system
The SEEKING system inside us creates an internal sense of intense and enthusiastic exploration, curiosity, and interest. Your SEEKING system naturally responds to internal needs and external resources, but of course you can tune in or block it out. Noticing and attending to your desires, dreams and needs is innate – we all automatically do it as babies and children. By the time we are an adult, we may have learnt to focus more on others desires or on dreams encouraged by the media. Noticing and attending to your own interests can take skill and deliberate practice.
This is not to encourage self centred narcissism but simply to notice what it is that you want, that you desire, that you are interested in exploring. And if you are paying close attention, this will sometimes be related to others and sometimes very much focused on yourself. As a parent of lively 8 year old twins, I notice my desires and dreams are closely allied with theirs a lot of the time, that their joy is my joy; however, I also give myself permission to notice and seek out what my heart desires that is separate from them – interests, aloneness, quiet time, adult conversation, etc.
Have a moment to ask yourself how much you allow yourself to notice and respond to your SEEKING system. This question is not about how much time you get to do what you want but about the relationship you have with your desires and dreams – are you listening and attending to them (even if you have to put them on hold for practical reasons)?
Your unconscious mind is listening to your SEEKING system even if you aren’t – your irritation and frustration, anxiety and depression, can be an unconscious reflection of an ignored SEEKING system. For instance, I get more easily irritated with my children when I have been ignoring my own needs. A great example of this is how we get angry more easily when we are hungry; whether we consciously admit it or not, it is important that we eat regularly, even if we do just want to get whatever it is finished before we make dinner.