Understating Needs

Bringing our attention to the level of needs enables us to first of all shed light inwards and get in touch with that basic level. And even just that, meeting and identifying a particular and essential need, has a rewarding healing effect. For in that moment, our inner abstract wound is suddenly exposed and revealed to us.

..in case you missed the 1st part of this post, I recommend reading it: http://meditativeartschool.com/thoughts-feelings-needs

We no longer are in the dark, wondering about the pain we feel, for we know where it hurts and can address that. Furthermore, even in a case where we are completely unable to meet our fundamental need, we come face-to-face and acknowledge we have a certain basic need. And allowing it to be there, even if it is unmet. This in itself it gives us tremendous power. The power to want, to need, and the power to choose.

Within the power of choice is the option to choose to grief or morn.

The power to mourn

Mourning an unmet need, be in relation to something small or big is a choice we can have only once we have identified our need and accept that it is there. Mourning an unmet need may seem insignificant, however the nourishment and comfort it can provide us with is of great value. It can give one tremendous support, and allow us to provide care for and tender empathy to ourselves. A very deep level with in us is touched when we allow our needs to be, to exist, to be out in the open. It is a form of self-respect for our basic human self.

When we see that need, our own need, seeing our vulnerability, our humaneness, ourselves as a living creature, and we embrace that level of bare universal needs, there is a great and very fundamental acceptance.


Intimacy with ourselves

Not all our thoughts are worth thinking, and not all our feelings are worth feeling. Both – thoughts and feelings can be very manipulative and tricky. It is important for our inner wellbeing to examine both thoughts and feeling with a level of self-compassion and yet a level of separation from them. Staying absorbed in the “I” that is the owner of them.

We must develop deep honesty with ourselves, naked and bold when trying to examine thoughts and feeling, to see what truth they actually hold, if any.

Needs, in contrast, are primal, and more intimate, they are universal, they also go beyond our needs as human beings. Needs are the foundation upon which feeling and thoughts which arise. All feeling arise from a need which is met or unmet.


Range of needs

The term need ranges vastly –

My need for basic security, for safety, for food and shelter, rest, sleep, relaxation, warmth and quiet.

My emotional need for companionship, love, care and direction, guidance and inspiration.

The need to belong, to grow, to express and be heard, to be seen, to connect, to be accepted, to contribute, to matter.


What do you need right now?

Sensitivity, tenderness, for softness, for strength and power, for motivation.

Respect and dignity. Joy or play.

Perhaps you long to satisfy a finer need for meaning, intimacy, freedom and authenticity.

Need to celebrate and rather, to morn.

NVC and Depression

Marshall Rosenberg – the father of Non-Violence Communication, which has developed this very thought expressed here, and which has methodically systematized it in a profound way, explains depression is a state of not knowing what one needs and how to fulfill that needs.

He was an extraordinary person that let his life be led by compassion and empathy. He dedicated his life to helping people clearly define and differentiate between their thoughts / feelings / needs and strategies.

This may sound simple and even trivial, but he was able to assist countless of individuals with this understanding as well as to create significant positive social changes all around the world.

Looking at depression from this point of view, I find that perhaps the most common need that leads people to depression is the need for meaning.

The need for meaning

I have been traveling around the world from my early childhood, meeting, living and exploring different cultures and I clearly see depression more common in the places in the world that are more resourceful, commonly called “developed countries” or privileged societies.

It seems that one needs a certain level of comfort and to have their basic resources met and unthreatened, before longing for deep meaning. More sophistication, complex thinking and free time may be needed for boredom to arise and for the sense of being isolated from a greater mass, to be felt.

I see these all as very valuable, and important to be met, acknowledged and confronted. Just like thoughts and all other feelings, boredom, sadness, loneliness and depression too is something we, if we are true to our spiritual goal, must make use of.

Not fearing depression and yet not simply letting it be but confronting it, meeting, feeling, hearing, touching it as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it may be, examining where it is arising from. Learning of that unmet need that is behind it, can provides us with a great opportunity to confront all that is here, all that we are.

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