When it comes to living a happy, fulfilled life, what is it that trips people up? One of the biggest factors I notice is the way people handle their own personal needs. We all have needs at many levels. The person’s perception and understanding of their own needs is not always accurate. Nonetheless, there are very real needs that have to be met if a person is to live a fulfilling life. At the most basic level we have a need for food, water, shelter and clothing. But there are needs at many other levels.
There are spiritual and emotional needs that have to be met by others if a person is to live a fulfilled life. For instance, most people do not do well without somebody loving them in their life. It is hard to be successful in creating something of value in the world without someone supporting them spiritually and emotionally in that endeavor.
There are two factors that lead a person to have a dysfunctional relationship with their own needs, and that keep them from having their needs met. The first is a unrealistic understanding of personal needs. The most obvious example of this is in an addictive pattern. Some people think they need large quantities of food to be happy. That perceived need is so very real to the person as they take a bite of their favorite food. But it is not good for them, past a certain point. There has been an erroneous assessment of a need in the human psyche, and that can result in an addictive pattern relative to food. And then there is substance abuse, in which a person believes they need a drug or a drink to make them happy. Or how about a bigger house? Is that a real need? Perhaps it is if you have a big family. But it may be an attempt to fill a spiritual and emotional need that could never really be filled that way.
People also make erroneous assessments of their needs with other people. They may believe that a certain person could and should fulfill their emotional needs in some way when that person is incapable of doing so, even if they wanted to.
The second factor that leads people to have a dysfunctional relationship with their own needs is their attempt to manipulate the people around them to fulfill those needs. This attitude is so prevalent that it often does not stand out when a person adopts it. The underlying attitude goes something like this: “The universe hasn’t gotten around to satisfying my needs. I’m going to take the matter into my own hands. I’m going to demand that my needs be met!”
Even if a person has accurately assessed their own needs, the attempt to force others to fill them never brings happiness. This is particularly so when it comes to emotional and spiritual needs. Have you ever found that it worked well to demand to have your emotional needs satisfied by someone else? At all levels, there is something that goes horribly wrong in a person’s life when they attempt to force the world to comply with their emotional demands. For one, it shows a lack of faith that the universe is already about satisfying your needs. The truth is that what you need is already in motion; it is already coming to you. And you short-circuit that process when you take the matter into your own hands. There are needs that truly should be filled in your life, and they will be filled, but just not right now.
It’s the “just not right now” part that can become so troubling, because there can be a void in our life in the meantime. What fills the need is coming; it’s just not here in form right now. There is something that’s coming right now—it may be beginning to come. But it’s not coming in its fullness right now, and here you are with a need. What are you going to do?
The real fulfillment of true needs begins to occur in a person’s life when they find stillness and peace in the present moment in the midst of any voids they feel. It occurs when a person doesn’t demand that their needs be satisfied on some kind of arbitrary basis, as the person thinks they should. So the first imperative is to stand still. The next is to realize that you may not yet be receiving all of what will come to you and all of what should come to you in the fullness of time, but you are receiving something. When that something that you are receiving is fully received with gratitude, no matter how meager it may seem to be, what you find is that the one thing that you have received is attached to a whole stream that is behind it. That whole stream that is behind it may be all backed up behind this one thing; and if that one thing is not received, all the rest of that stream cannot be received. You may want it and it may be destined to come. Maybe it should come, but it can’t come until the one thing that is in front of you is received, because all the rest is in line and it’s waiting for you to receive that one thing.
We live in the middle of a universal flow, and if the flow isn’t flowing, our needs are not being met. You may want them to be met, but they can’t be without that flow. A key factor in the flow is gratitude, and how we receive what comes.
Now, what comes isn’t always the most wonderful thing that we had in mind. To us, it may seem distasteful. This is often true related to the people in our life. For us, there may be something distasteful about that person who has actually shown up in our life. We’d like to avoid them, or have them improve themselves and then come back. Or perhaps we could trade them in for somebody else. Gratitude for what comes, however it comes, in whatever package, and real receiving of what comes, are essential for flow. With that flow there is the fulfillment of our needs.
We live in a universal flow, and if that flow is flowing, the universe is working to bring you what you truly need—maybe not what you think you need but what you truly need. We have described that flow as a figure eight because there is something flowing from us out into the world and coming back (in the lower part of the figure eight), and then there is something flowing up from us into the unseen, invisible Source of all life, and something to be received by us from the invisible Source of all life (in the upper part of the figure eight). We have spiritual needs that include the need to receive the universal power of love from within us and the light of understanding that lets us see clearly and know what to do in our life.
But what if that light is shining on something that is distasteful to us? I think that is what happens for many people. It can be a shocking experience to really see the truth, personally, because the light of the truth shines on all the terrible things that are present in a person. And I put it that way, not to put down our humanity but to say that that’s how it is often experienced by people. For many people, there is something inside them that is telling them how terrible they are. Usually that message is buried deep within someone, and when the light comes on, they see it. Can we face that head-on? I’m not saying we are truly terrible, but there are those patterns in our humanity that are terrible. We have had our part, as people, along with the rest of the world, in all the horrible things that go on in the world. And if the light shines, we end up looking at that—or we shut off the light.
Or there could just be a fear of what you would see if you did turn on the light. So a person thinks, “I might see something horrible about myself, or about other people, and I would see what is terrible in the world around me. I don’t know if I could take that.”
When a person is ruled by that fear, they are holding back the flow of what would come from Source—and with that flow, all the light and all the love and all the truth, all the brilliance of that, just because they might not like what they would see.
That can block what could flow from within a person. And if love and truth within a person isn’t flowing into consciousness and into us energetically, it is not flowing out either. We cannot bring into the world what’s not coming into us and through us. If we don’t allow it in, it’s not flowing out.
So much hinges on this ability to receive what we judge as distasteful, that might cause us some discomfort as human beings, whether it’s coming to us from out of the world or whether it’s the light of spirit that’s coming into consciousness. It might be distasteful; it might be uncomfortable. But it’s worth it! Be uncomfortable! A human life is uncomfortable on one basis or another anyway. Let’s be uncomfortable in the flow of the universe, not uncomfortable because we are withering away without that flow.
Here is Jesus’ teaching on this matter.
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
I had a friend I worked with years ago in a corporate setting. He considered himself a Christian and he quoted this verse to me: “Do you really believe that? I don’t!” He was being honest, because he didn’t really believe that the universe will provide. He was very much in the belief that he had to fill his own needs. I noticed that he didn’t get along well with other people, which wasn’t a surprise given his underlying attitude toward life.
There is a universal flow, and there is a reason why our needs should be filled—so that we are nourished and empowered to bring the gift that the universe has to give through us, so that we can be energized to bring life and life more abundantly, so that we can make a difference in the world, and so that we can fill the very great need that this world as a whole has. The world has a need. It isn’t just what it thinks it is, but the world has a need, which is to reconnect to this pattern of universal flow. We have the potential of doing something about that need. It’s not going to happen if you and I don’t trust that, in doing so, our needs will be taken care of.
So I’ll make this more specific, in the second person: Your needs will be taken care of if you are fulfilling your destiny. Do you believe it? You have to cooperate in the process. You have to receive what is being given to you. If you are fulfilling your God-given destiny, your needs are being filled. This is the path to an experience of abundance in every way.