What are our basic needs? Food, water, shelter, clothing, sunlight and sleep. Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who created the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. His description is given below. The first is physiological needs, second is safety and security, third is love and belonging, fourth is self-esteem and last is self-actualization.
Now when we look at these needs, especially the ones listed by Maslow, we find that for many of us they are still applicable. If we combine the physiological needs with the basic needs comprising food, shelter, sleep and sunlight, we may find that some of us are deprived. Malnutrition, lack of sunlight and sleep can affect many of us. How do we attend to this subject.
Sleep is a very essential part of our lives and yet some of us are suffering from insomnia and inadequate sleep because of stress induced thoughts. The need for safety and security is powerful and has to be attended to. What is safety and what do we have to do to protect ourselves? We have to study our environment and habitat. How safe and secure is it? There is fear, dissonance and conflict surrounding us.
Love and belonging is a vital part of our lives. How many of us feel unloved and uncherished? What can we do about it? The next one is self-esteem and self-worth. How do we work on it? Last is self-actualization to become what we wish.
I hear the word needy used frequently by others. It is a very strong and nasty word. How ever it does convey that someone is wanting. I love words and I am a wordsmith. Why can we not be more generous in describing someone? Are we aware of the actual meaning when we use words like this. I will give some examples, disadvantaged, unprosperous, clingy.
Are we describing ourselves? What are our thoughts about ourselves in respect to others? Which need is playing up? Do we have to indulge in self-pity? Let us address this in a detached way. To understand our need pyramid, we must understand pratyahara (sensory withdrawal). Pratyahara can only happen through the practice of relaxation.
How do we relax?
We become aware of ourselves as we are. We are sitting either on a chair or in a classic meditative pose. We are still and we are aware of the sounds around us but they are not engaging with our thoughts. It is as if we are washed over with the sounds and our thoughts are coming and going. We are seers. There is no engagement on our part. Our eyes are closed. We are still and unmoved by the sounds. Now we become aware of our breath.
Visualize the breath moving in and out of the left nostril. Count backwards from 27 to 0.
Switch to the right nostril, repeat the same thing and then count the breath from 27 to 0. Now become aware of the breath flowing in and out of both nostrils. Visualize it as a triangle, going in through both nostrils meeting it at the eyebrow centre and descending from the eyebrow centre through both nostrils. After a while, count the breath backwards from 54 to 0. What is essential is that one does not make an error in the counting, because then one has to start from the beginning.
What have we done? We are practicing pratyahara. This enables us to view ourselves dispassionately and this in turn enables us to see others as we see ourselves. When we become adepts we will find that we become less NEEDY, which means that we are restoring our sense of harmony. It changes our perception of the world.
When there is harmony between the mind, heart and resolution nothing is impossible. Rig Veda.
Aim Hrim Klim