Do you have needs? The gospel according to Maslow is known as The Hierarchy of Needs. The idea of needs, and the opinion that we have some, if not many, seems to have become a cornerstone of many schools of psychology and psychotherapy and, well, numerous other therapies. From a spiritual point of view, we are spirit and not form, as such our body may have needs but we do not!
So let us explore the spiritual answer to the oldest question, Who Am I? in light of the Brahma Kumaris’ revelation that we are a spirit and not a form.
The Basic Biological/Physical Needs: Even at the most basic physical level the ‘spiritual perspective’ might cast a little doubt over the veracity of Maslow’s ideas. From the spiritual perspective, when we acquire food/shelter/clothing etc. we are not doing so for ‘me’ but for our body. Our body has need; we must take care of it. Taking care to our body is quite different from desiring something for me!
The Need for Security: All ‘things’ come and go. Material ‘things’, including all forms ‘out there’, come and go. Mental ‘things’ including all thoughts and feelings ‘in here’, come to pass...literally! But the one and only thing that never passes or goes anywhere is the soul! If this is fully ‘realized’ then security and survival cease to be relevant. Our need to be secure arises from the belief that we are a form that we occupy. And forms can be threatened and destroyed but not the soul.
The Need for Belonging and Love: A need for belonging is often confused with the search for a sense of identity. We learn to identify with ‘ideas’ like family, club, profession, nation, religion and race etc. so that we may derive the feeling of belonging. From a spiritual point of view this is a form of insanity! At the very least it is very non-spiritual! It is also what gives rise to the ego or the ‘false self’ or misidentification. And as for love, in summary when we realize love is what we are, then the need to find it, acquire it and keep it falls away, to be replaced by the giving of it in whatever way is appropriate to the situation/scene/circumstances etc. Only then is true love known.
The Need for Esteem: When esteem is believed to be dependent on and defined by achievement, status and reputation we can see how this ‘apparent need’ drives much of human activity in the world today. Esteem essentially means estimation, which means value, which means worth which is always momentary; on status, which can be lost at any moment; and on our reputation, which can be destroyed by a few keystrokes! Once again the spiritual point of view reveals an awareness of real worth as something that is only found deep within the self...itself! It is an awareness of our value that arises only from the act of giving of our self without seeking any return. Arising in parallel to this inner source of worth is the awareness of the impossibility of loss, which is the foundation for the ultimate sense of security; nothing real can ever be lost.
The Need for Self Actualization: From a spiritual point of view the idea of self-actualization means self-realization. In order to crystalize ones true potential one first has to realize who/what one is. Someone who knows they are a spiritual being has no need to grow or fulfill anything. They are intuitively aware that they are already all they can ever be i.e. nothing needs be developed; nothing real can be added to our authentic self. Fulfillment is already a reality i.e they are already endowed with the capacity to be loving, peaceful and creative.
Adapted from Mike George’s article, “Do YOU Have a Hierarchy of Needs?”© 2012