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Ex 4 Meditation

Preference versus Need

Preference versus Need

Resolving Need Based Programing

We have touched on how it is important to perceive of ourselves as having aspects and awareness’s at higher levels than our rational mind. This implies that our awareness is, if you will superior to it. Developing this thought construct is empowering, it gives us the power to change ourselves rather than providing limitations. One of the areas where we benefit from being empowered is in our impetus to continue on our growth path, precisely what we need the most. Our intent and desire to grow must remain strong, and nowhere is this more evident than when one chooses to work on flawed-needs-based programming.

By needs based programming I refer to that part of the rational mind that determines what we need to feel safe or happy. The rational mind creates need in the process of integrating experiences and their outcomes. The rational mind is a controlling awareness, and over time develops needs based on preferred outcomes. These needs are for “certain circumstances, situations or even outcomes” to occur. When they do not occur, we become uncomfortable to varying degrees. The result is our emotional state is greatly affected by our rational minds desire to meet our needs. This is why a focus on identifying and reducing need based programming is so important to personal and spiritual growth.

When we start to work on ourselves, we get an initial boost from our desire and intent though it will not be long before we start to look ahead. When we look ahead, we often see a long and challenging road. Yes, the journey can be a long one, and the weight of it can dampen spirits. Our perceived needs can derail our plans, and make us prisoners. The burden of the future is often too great, and can break ones spirit. The key is to turn our focus from fulfilling the need of the moment to the need itself as we are experiencing it. To get past our needs we must be willing and able to notice them first. By noticing and acknowledging them we can then dig deeper to understand how we came to take them on. By understanding this we can work through and past them.

The question many have is where to start. I am a firm believer in the idea that we can find what we need to be doing by listening to our own life. We can use our developing honesty and sensitivity to energy honesty, along with some common sense to help us identify problem areas related to needs programming. We have discussed some of these already, as well as how we see the flaws in our programming when we begin to work on honesty and taking personal responsibility. Hence, we start to resolve needs based programming by paying attention to our reactions in the moment as we do with our honesty. This is the best way to change us from actors in a play to the playwright’s we truly are.

When we observe ourselves we may notice we like certain types of people, experiences, ideas, colours, clothing, material possessions of all kinds, smells, foods, places, shapes etc... Over time, we allow certain things to become needs and may not be aware they are needs until we lose them. We need a good or certain job to feel positive about ourselves, we need people to act particular ways and so forth or else we feel uncomfortable in various ways. When needs are not met, we react with lower emotions. This occurs simply because we allow ourselves to need instead of prefer certain things.

What we like is strongly influenced by the mental programming that results from our integration of experiences. Certainly, we are born with certain traits and tendencies, and the influences of culture, heritage and family values affect how we integrate our experiences and thus establish our personal tastes. Nonetheless, our experiences play a more significant role.

Exposure to experiences that results in a positive response results in the creation of thought forms that seek to repeat the positive response. We start avoiding alternatives that do not yield the desired outcome. This leads to stronger negative emotional responses to these other experiences. This does not mean they are wrong for us, just that we do not like them. Over time we make things we like into things we need, something we have to have to be “happy”. This form of reality is an example of the illusions, or delusions if you will, of the rational mind. When forced to do things we do not want to do we are uncomfortable, edgy, we may even respond verbally or physically. This applies whether what we are trying to avoid may be in our best interests or not.

Our programming has us believing our needs are not only acceptable, but also true or beneficial. People often mistake need for love and get the two entwined in a mess. How often have we heard people state -”I need you”, or “I am nothing without you”. These sound endearing while not saying such words infers you do not love or care about someone. While this type of statement is common, making it does not necessarily mean either of these is true. Need is not love, need is addiction based on the rational minds need to control outcomes. There likely is love being felt towards the other person, however, it is not love that states “do not leave”. If someone you love chooses to move on, you would want him or her to do that, even with the loss to yourself.

I will digress for a moment to touch on love. Love is certainly a misunderstood and overused word. It is often mistaken for other emotions and is frequently associated with the mundane: such as, “I love my morning coffee” or “I love a good movie”. The feelings can certainly be strong, and powerful; however, the feeling is not love. Love is not an emotion in the same manner as compassion, devotion and sympathy, or even anger, malice and fear. Love is “something” unto itself, unconditional, beautiful and wonderful, kind and compassionate all at the same time. It is more a state of being rather than a response to experience. Imagine love as a white light going into the prism of our experiences and our emotions as the colours that come out from the prism. We can love our spouse without needs getting in the way. We can find a deeper and closer connection with our loved ones by not needing, by loving for real, without conditions.

It is time to examine need in a clearer light. While few would argue that we have many needs in life, a great number would argue that they are not hurting or restricting them. People think or feel this way because they do not understand needs and their influence. To understand how needs affect us we need to look at: 

  • What kind of “thing” a need is
  • How we create needs
  • How they manifest in our life (and how they impact us)
  • How we identify our needs
  • How we reduce and eliminate unnecessary needs 

What is a need? 

Need is a thought construct like any other thought we have. Need is created as the result of how our rational mind interprets and integrates experiences and outcomes. In Buddhism, the need I am referring to would be termed wants or cravings, a difference primarily in terminology rather than intent or meaning. These wants or cravings are our reactions to unfulfilled need, and are not the needs themselves. The need is the underlying imbalance in our rational mind that manifests as our wants, cravings and so forth.

The underlying imbalance in our rational mind is the result of errors in how our rational mind interprets our experiences and our responses to them moment by moment. When experiences yield outcomes that we like, regardless of any actual benefit to us, our rational mind remembers. If the feelings evoked by experiences are strong or repeated often enough in a variety of experiences, the rational mind focuses on either repeating or avoiding them, depending on the nature of the feeling. However, the rational mind often bases its integration of experiences on faulty, superficial or self-conscious observation (subjective), hence the imbalances. Factors affecting our reaction or the degree of imbalance include the nature of the experience, the strength and level of our reaction to it and the duration of our emotional response. It can take from one to a great number of experiences to create a need-based program in our mind.  

We can examine needs as Maslow1 did, in terms of a hierarchy; however, as some of his detractors have noted, each of us develops our own hierarchy. For instance, one can act in support of strong personal beliefs, even to the point of overriding fundamental physiological needs. Nonetheless, his work provides valuable and interesting ideas around need such as what kinds we may have, how we create them and how they can affect us.

[1] A.H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review 50(4) (1943)

It is important to note that need is somewhat of a generic term, and interpretations of the word vary. I can say that unsatisfied need leads to the manifestation of lower or negative emotions. I cannot say that these types of emotions are solely the result of unsatisfied needs. To highlight this let us say that we have a strongly held belief about something, and we experience a situation that appears to conflict with our beliefs. We will react to this, whether we notice it or not, the degree of which will vary from person to person.

Is our emotional reaction due to an unfulfilled need? Our discomfort may be solely due to the conflict between what we perceive in the moment and what we have believed to be the case from previous experiences or it may include a perceived a threat to long held beliefs by our experiences. The initial discomfort or anxiety is due solely to the conflict between the thought forms. We may have additional reactions to it, such as the perception of a threat, when our rational mind then integrates the experience itself and our reaction with all the other thought forms in our mind.

How we create needs

It is also fair to say that the creation of many of our needs relate to what we have come to find comfortable or accustomed to and perceived threats to our comfort. Certainly, we have some inherent needs due to our being incarnate in physical form. I am referring to the need for water, food, shelter and perhaps companionship. We do not choose our physical needs, such as for water, food and shelter. We do choose our mental needs through how we, given our unique nature, integrate experiences. Obviously, our experiences are included in the integration; however, it is important to note that it also typically includes potential futures or imagined experiences, experiences we have not yet had. The mind bases imagined realities on projections from current realities and experiences. Our imagined future includes the wants and needs we perceive now and are as real to us as we make them.

The needs created by our rational mind can be associated with two basic or root needs, both the result of our evolution. They are the need for security and control as in our flight or fight mechanism. Certainly, this helped us to survive when every day was a struggle, and still serves a purpose in alerting us to danger so we can deal with it. The problem is that our rational mind creates need even when there is no threat to our safety or survival leaving us in a flight or fight situation. To get a better understanding meditate on how you have reacted when you want something in particular and do not have it or cannot get it. Those unfulfilled needs will have resulted in the manifestation of varying degrees of negative or lower emotions, energies you can learn from by examining them.

We create these needs because our rational mind has a strong tendency to attach value to things, people, places, memories and belief based on our reaction to them. This valuation leads the rational mind to try to repeat experiences it deems beneficial or good, and less of the alternatives. This process leads to attachment that, in turn, leads directly to need.

The needs we created are rarely the result of an individual experience. For the most part, they are the product of our integration of numerous experiences. We have touched on the idea that when our rational mind deems something important it wants more of it. We need water and food to survive; physiological differences aside, we do not need only particular foods, or a bigger house. Needs such as these do not start out as need, they morph into needs over time.

At this point you may be wondering how our reaction to experiences alone can create needs. The reality is they do not, not alone anyways. The needs we create are the result of an untrained rational mind. The rational mind is untrained in that it uses poor reasoning and faulty, superficial and self-conscious observation when integrating experiences.

For instance, say we feel very uncomfortable in a certain situation. Our rational mind will try to determine the reason for this and may attribute the discomfort to the wrong source. This will affect future assessments and we may mistakenly try to avoid what we believed to be the source of our discomfort in the future. When we encounter the source, we find ourselves wanting to get out of the situation. If we cannot get out, we put up the defenses. We react this way because our rational mind has connected the source with our root needs for control and security. Unfulfilled needs lead us to feel that our control is threatened, or we are not safe. When this happens, we tend to react strongly and not usually in an appropriate or beneficial manner.

We can list some of the factors that affect and/or foster the creation of needs. The list below covers key elements though it is not a definitive list. As with all concepts, meditation on the ideas presented is the best way to explore their obvious and deeper meanings.

They are: 

  • Our overall mental health (less subjective, active, open, highly cognitive)
  • How “in the moment” we tend to be
  • The type and nature of our beliefs
  • Strength of our sense of self
  • The strength and duration of our reactions to experiences
  • Our attachment to the outcome
  • Familiarity of experiences leading to repetition and exclusion of options
  • A repeated reaction in different experiences where similar or associated elements exist

How needs manifest in our lives

With a better understanding of what needs are, and how they are created, we can look at how needs manifest in our life, and their impact. Remember that needs are associated with core flight or flight mechanisms, and we often allow reason to be overridden in order to fulfill them. In doing so, we often do something or act in a fashion that is not in our best interests. At the same time, it is important to note that not all needs are equal. The range of influence of needs runs from the trivial to the profound.

In general, the more we need particular things, the less we desire alternatives. Over time, we can begin to feel uncomfortable and start to avoid alternatives. The rational mind is merely reacting based on programming. The results we perceive seem positive when we get the outcomes we want. Conversely, undesirable outcomes result in the manifestation of lower emotions such as anxiety, discomfort, tension and apprehension.

Think of our reaction, our thoughts, emotional and physical responses as being the result of strain, if that will help. In this analogy, the strain is proportional to our distance from the desired outcome and the strength of the need for that outcome. The further we see ourselves from what we need, and the greater the need the greater the strain. This strain is what manifests as emotions. If the need is strong enough and remains unfulfilled, it leads to the expression of stronger emotions. Again, the desired outcomes are not necessarily of benefits to us, we have just come to need them.

Needs manifest differently depending on one’s experiences and circumstances. We all respond uniquely to experiences, hence our needs and their influence over us varies dramatically from person to person. Words that offend one can make another laugh, or one’s need to feel safe can mean they do not take overt risks while for another it results in their being scared of going outside.

We manifest needs differently because we have unique experiences; hence, each of our rational minds develops their own needs of varying strength and influence. Nor are needs independent of one another. This results in significant variation in how they manifests in our lives. The manifestation of a need for material comfort combined with the need to feel powerful would be very different from a need to have authority over people and the need to feel powerful. In addition, two needs can be in opposition to each other putting one in a no win situation. An example of this would be having the need to be compassionate and caring combined with the need to be selfish and insular.

Need manifests itself in our lives by exerting a strong influence over the choices we make. It affects what we like and dislike in things, people, ideas, and beliefs and so on. We tend to view such things as part of our personality, or perhaps individuality; this leads to the tendency to view them as immutable rather than as transitory. This is not the case. We do not necessarily seek a particular thing or experience because of something inherent in us; often we have simply come to need the way they make us feel. We confuse the two. Take the desire to own a flashy sports car or big home. Often, we do not actually desire the actual things themselves; we desire the feelings that we believe we will get from owning it.

We develop needs as mundane as the colours of things, or the way we arrange our living space to significant needs related to self-esteem and morality. We do not so much as choose needs as we allow them.

Any long-term influence can lead to a need for that same influence. Familiarity can lead to need as one can become so accustomed to the familiar that they feel out of their element when not in familiar circumstances or surroundings. They did not consciously choose to need the familiar; the rational mind simply filters it out. We do not notice it until it is absent. We fail to realize how little time it takes for some act to become a habit. Consider how long it takes for something new to lose its luster or how quickly we can become accustomed to new things, when we choose to.

Those that choose to work on their needs may find their resistance to changing themselves takes one of several common forms. We can overcome each of these beliefs, as they too are thought forms. I would dare say that if you are reading this, you are either addressing them now or have addressed them already.

Examples of thought forms that can inhibit us are: 

  • “I like the way I am” - A great number of people see little value in changing their needs.
  • “I’m handling them” – People have great coping strategies, that is they believe they have found a way to mitigate or get around their needs
  • “They are too big to handle” - It is true that reducing our individual needs can seem a daunting task; however, it is not necessarily so.
  • “Change is a threat” –powerful and highly connected beliefs can create strong emotional and mental blocks to change.

How we identify our needs

We are not likely to be able to make significant progress in reducing needs if we cannot identify them, and in order to do so we may have to do some preparatory work. In general, the reason we do not deal with our needs, besides not recognizing them as such, is we did not understand their influence on us, nor developed the awareness to prevent or resolve them. If we had this knowledge or awareness, we would have fewer needs, and would be able to both identify and correct the ones we develop.

The starting point in developing this awareness is through creating and empowering new thoughts, ones that acknowledge we have areas where we need to grow, that we might be mistaken in our beliefs and ideas accompanied by the intent and desire to do so. Put another way we must have willingness, even eagerness to examine ourselves; we need to accept we have areas we can improve and be open to changing even what we may hold dear. If we are to progress past our needs it is essential to create and empower these types of thought forms. We also must be working on personal honesty and responsibility. The reason for this is it is very difficult to notice our needs without honesty and to change something we do not accept responsibility for.

While we work on creating a new awareness about ourselves and about how our minds work, we can begin to work the next step of finding out what our needs are. The way we perceive the needs we create is through their affect on our emotional self. We have many needs, the majority of which are somewhat benign, that is they may be limiting, but they really do not “hurt” us; though if your path is one of spiritual growth even benign needs must be addressed.

Some needs are almost readily apparent easily while others require a more introspective gaze. You likely encountered some of your own needs programming when you went through the Honesty Table exercise. Every time you are angry, nervous, tense, scared, worried, and uncertain or whatever the lower emotion is, it is likely you have bumped into a need.

Earlier, in a figurative sense, I referred to the idea that unfulfilled need results in strain that manifests as emotions. I am not saying that all emotions are the result of strain, only that all needs, when strained result in emotions. The trick to identifying need is to notice the strain, the emotional response, when we experience it and using our attention to look for what triggered it.

Odd as it may seem, noticing emotions is not the same as being able to clarify which ones we are feeling. Determining the emotions we are feeling at any point in time requires, in addition to honesty, a certain amount of sensitivity. I dare say the majority of people have a challenge in conscious awareness of their emotional state. The intent of the material presented here is to help alleviate this.

The way to develop your sensitivity is by working on your honesty, by spending time in meditation and by enabling thought forms that support your efforts. I will not understate the importance of having thought forms empowered by the intent to be aware of one’s feelings and a willingness to examine any of them. These are necessary in order for one to reduce the influence of thought forms that seek to maintain the status quo.

As you are likely aware already, seeing or noticing needs, and figuring out what brought them on are two different matters. Nevertheless, it is important to identify needs if one seeks to resolve them.

One can employ some general techniques to aid in identifying needs. We find many of these have parallels to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, which emphasizes that people have the ability to make change in their lives without having to understand how or why the change occurred. This approach also requires, on the part of those that seek to change, a personal investment of time and effort.

If you are working on your own, you can use any or all of the following steps to help you identify your needs: 

  • Notice when you “feel different”, when there is a shift in how you feel or you notice you are reacting or have just reacted to an experience.
  • Try to get a “picture” of how you feel to go along with the memory of the experience. The point here is to remember the feelings the experience triggered.
  • When you have calmed down try to match the “picture” to any other thoughts or memories. This is to determine the reason for your response, not the validity of it.
  • Try looking at different areas of your life such as work, people close to you or aspects of yourself that may need work.
  • Try automatic writing. If you cannot find the words try writing about what you are feeling and thinking. Try to not force the words out, rather, let your mind go blank and write whatever comes to mind about the experience. These will be the closest to the truth.
  • Keep a diary to help you refer back to other similar events; this may help to pinpoint the cause.

There is one additional and very powerful tool we can employ to identify needs. This tool is a byproduct of how our rational minds work. Earlier, we touched on our built in flight or fight instinct, and that this instinct is important and powerful. Our rational mind, figuratively speaking, uses this mechanism when needs are threatened, and in a way that we can learn to notice when it does so.

Our poorly trained rational mind generally associates unfulfilled needs with threats to either our sense of control or security. When the threat is control based we feel a flush in our chest, we feel a threat to our sense of security as a knot in the pit of the stomach. The former tends to lead us to act out; the later has us wanting to curl up into a little ball. Make no mistake, when we notice we are feeling either of these “sensations”, we know that we have bumped into a need even though it does not necessarily mean we know what the need is. Do note that our physical and non-physical bodies are not distinct aspects of us, they are highly connected, hence when I state where we feel these emotions in our chest or stomach I do not mean that these organs create the energy rather these locations are where we notice the energy.

To eliminate the need one must first explore and then understand the source of the need, as described above. Accomplishing this infers that one is sensitive enough to perceive the flush in their chest or the knot in the pit of their stomach. Localizing the location of where we “feel the reaction” is not always easy. Often people cannot localize the source as either from their chest or their stomach. This is mostly a matter of sensitivity and honesty; however, it can also be the case that a number of different needs have being exposed. When this happens, the approach to take is to note your feelings, and the details of the experience or situation for latter examination.

Generally, if one is not accustomed to examining their feelings they are less likely to be able to identify the emotions they feel or their source. This may seem difficult to overcome, and it will be if one is unwilling to want to know what they are feeling, or would rather just get past or over them.

We have decades of experience with ignoring our feelings for a plethora of reasons. It takes time to reverse this. To do so we must start creating new thought forms. Although this is a time consuming effort, it is critical. We create these thought forms when we change the way we perceive the world, and start to “tell” our rational mind that we are willing and ready to be honest with ourselves, despite the consequences. We program our non-conscious mind through our self-conscious observations. By continuing to be faulty in this area, we allow issues to not only continue but to flourish.

How we reduce and eliminate unnecessary needs

We can make changes in our needs programming when we get in touch with what is going on inside us, in our minds. While our developing honesty serves us, as we go through this process, there are some points to remember. When making changes to needs programming do not tackle too many at the same time. Indeed, one at a time is more than sufficient unless they are smaller issues, or entwined with others. We can spread ourselves too thin by taking on more than we can handle. I also suggest that you be cautious in how hard you push yourself and in how much you take on at any one time. Trying to change needs can be overwhelming. I have known people who went through long periods of painful turmoil when they either asked for too much at once and or tried to convince themselves they did not have needs issues.

One of the biggest challenges with needs programming comes when they involve dependencies on or with other people. This is a touchy area for more than a few people. It is common for people to remain in situations that are not healthy emotionally, mentally or physically as thoughts and feelings of indebtedness, fear of change or helplessness and the like can hold us back. It is also important to understand that, while recognizing the needs of others helps develop empathy and compassion, that the needs and “rights” of others cease when they infringe on yours. If you are trying to find a balance between the needs of someone else and your own issues remember these points: 

  • Does satisfying the needs of others mean sacrificing yourself?
  • Do you feel someone will withhold love, caring or support should you not satisfy their needs?
  • Do you feel that someone’s hinges their needs to you by making you somehow responsible, and ask yourself if this is where you want to be? 

Certainly, we must respect the needs of others, but they must accept responsibility for the needs they have chosen. You did not choose them for them. You are not them, and in the end cannot do their work either. In each case you must decide whether your responsibility is to assist or not, how much to give, and for how long. If you lie to yourself about the situation and convince yourself that you have no responsibility when you do it will come back to you. This also holds if you confuse compassion for others with your own “need to be needed”.

Having identified a need one can now work on removing or resolving it. There are a number of ways to do this; psychologists and psychiatrists use them all the time, with mixed success. There are commonalities amongst the techniques they use. The steps they take, in common, to help people with their needs issues contain elements listed below (unordered list): 

  • Identification
  • Examination
  • Self-dialogue
  • Understanding
  • Ownership
  • Release 

The reason psychologists and others who help people work on their needs and other personal issues use a number of steps is because they take an indirect approach to identifying and resolving problems. We benefit from this approach when we apply it to ourselves, though will also look at how we can take a more direct path by working directly with the energies of our thoughts and emotions. It is fair to say that the greatest challenges we face in doing so are overcoming our subjectivity and ignorance or lack of knowledge in areas where we lack experience.

Overcoming our subjectivity and relative personal ignorance is a challenge. There are a number of ways to do this, and I will reiterate that one of the first steps is to accept our ignorance and develop the desire to overcome them. Without this step, there is little movement. It is not sufficient to think we ought to do something. We must want to see beyond the filters and blocks we have created and the lies we tell ourselves. This is where outside assistance often helps. We may not see our issues or even want to where others can and do. We face this gap when we work independently.

In order to deal with need ourselves we must take advantage of our knowledge of need. I will explain what I mean by this as how we use this awareness may appear counter-intuitive at first. Needs are thoughts, and thoughts are energy or vibration. To neutralize a vibration we must cancel out the energy, and we do this with energy of the same kind. Hence, we overcome harmful or restrictive needs by opposing them not by resisting or fighting them. In order to resist them we would need to use our “good”, which locks up the need. One can do this if they have an abundance of good; however, few do and there is a better way. For example, you do not eliminate hate by resisting it, by fighting it with the good in you so the hate does not surface; you eliminate it by hating the hate. This locks up the energy and renders it inert.

Earlier I mentioned that the unfulfilled needs manifest emotional energy, and we perceive it either as a threat to our control or security. In terms of what we just covered, this means that we can deal with our need for control, or security by opposing it directly.

Say we have a need for a particular thing, person or even for a belief to be true. That is, we feel that “I need X or Y in order to feel safe” or “need X or Y in control”. To eliminate the need we must create and push a thought that is directly opposes the need. The way we do this is by our thoughts. When we feel the need (the flush in the chest or knot in the pit of your stomach), and the energy it manifests, we push back at it with the energy that we feel. The though we empower with this energy is “I DO NOT need X or Y to feel be safe” or “I DO NOT need X or Y to be in control”. We do so with all the strength and will we can muster, and do so when we feel it, not after the fact. This can be an inconvenience at times, but you must push back every time you feel the need. The empowered thought form directly opposed the need based thought form locking it up and rendering it inert.

This act may need to be repeated a number of times to be successful because it is hard to find exactly the right energy to push back with. We can do this more effectively if we are in control of our thoughts and can perceive the energies we seek to oppose. In addition, needs can be strong and mustering the energy to direct at it in one act takes considerable focus and personal power. The result is we may have to chip away at particularly strong needs.

An additional challenge that can prolong the process is we may have other thought forms that make it hard to oppose a need head on. If we are in a relationship, and our partner decides to leave, the typical response is to feel the need for that person as an ache, a knot in the pit of your stomach or for some a strong flush in the chest. The need we feel is not typically just the need for that person to be in our life, there are invariably numerous needs involved. We may have needs related to our imagined futures, to our destiny, to companionship, income, for friends to see us a certain way or for almost countless other reasons. What we feel may be from the combination of energies manifested by the synergies of our unfulfilled needs rather than one need standing alone. Each of these needs will manifest energy that resists and reduces the energy we are using to oppose the need as doing so threatens them.

When we work on our needs, we need to accept that they can restrict or even be harming us. At the same time, some needs may even be necessary at various times in ones lives to provide stability. Take the person who has developed a need for approval from others as well as a need of a defeatist nature, one they rely on so they can blame others for their problems. To work on both at once would be very difficult. In such a case, the person should work on the need that is causing the most problems or the one they feel they can handle first. Needs may be limiting or restricting; however, needs are not inherently right or wrong.

In all this, it is important to remember that we had the power to create the need; therefore, we have the power to end it. Meditation is of immense benefit to us as we go through the process. In meditation, we learn to reduce the noise in our conscious minds so we perceive beyond our physicality without the minds interference. This allows us to zero in on a particular experience to observe it objectivity and perceive the particular emotions or energies our need manifests. We can then oppose the energy with greater accuracy and power. Naturally, developing the sensitivity to sort out individual emotions takes time; nonetheless, exploring this energy, even putting words to it will aid us in identifying our need. Even more importantly, it provides a link to the thought form or forms that gave rise to it.

Having identified the individual vibrations that a need manifested we can work directly on the originating thought form(s), that being “need X or Y”, as this is the energy we must oppose to eliminate the need. We do not need to we can track the source of the energy in our awareness, by that I mean the thoughts that manifest the need. The need is a separate thought form created when we integrate experiences. When we eliminate the need this way the original experiences are not loss, nor are any other thoughts we had or created at the time. Only the need goes.

The degree of effort required for this process is dependent on our abilities as well as how ingrained and reinforced the thought form has become. If needs issues are severe, I recommend reading “The Handbook to Higher Consciousness”2 by Ken Keyes. It is great resource to help you identify and work directly on eliminating needs based programming. In the book, he teaches a method that can help you to understand needs programming, ones that aided me a great deal, and which has become an active part of my everyday life. Alternatively, seek professional assistance in working on your challenges.

[2] Ken Keyes: “Handbook to Higher Consciousness”, Living Love Center, 1972

We all have our own hierarchy of needs. Needs become core needs when subsequent experiences continually reinforce and empower them. They are characterized by a high degree of connectivity to other thought forms and needs we have created throughout our lives.  We may even have built in severe physiological responses along with the need. To work on these types of challenges we must build foundation elements that reduce the enabling thought form first. This makes eliminating seem virtually impossible; again, it is not. We take one-step at a time.

We can do all of these on our own; however, they can be a challenge as we are highly subjective when it comes to personal matters. We do benefit from an observer who can help us see our situation less subjectively, that does not make outside assistance a requirement. We can and do overcome many needs throughout our lives. This happens when what is new gradually becomes familiar to us and some or most of our discomfort goes away; it also happens when a more important need forces us to. The problem is that we develop significantly more needs than of we are unaware of, and they have become part of our personality. Just remember that personality is not rigid, it changes all the time.

In life there are only two things” we actually need, nourishment and shelter; everything else is a bonus. All other needs, outside these two are the result of our rational minds programming. This makes them real to us, in a sense, but only real in our mind. Our minds can be a poorly programmed mechanism, one that learns to demand certain “things” in order to be happy or comfortable. Our rational mind is making the demand, not our true selves. When I am having a bad day, I say to myself “well, I ate today” (thanks to my father for this one). The translation of this statement is “I have my basic needs satisfied, and anything beyond that is gravy”.

We have needs. That is a fact of our reality. There is no getting around this. We follow where our needs lead. Substance abusers bodies lead them as much as their minds. People who need the approval of others are every bit as addicted. When you get angry it is because your need for control has not been satisfied. Jealousy is one emotional result of need programming. Of course, our way of reacting to need is also dependent on other parts of our programming.

We all have found ourselves reacting in a manner we cannot easily control, or stop. You feel an emotion such as anger come upon you and it takes control over your responses. You react, as you have been accustomed to doing. The initial emotional response usually runs its course, fading as we get further from the moment of the event, unless the influence continues. What does not go away is that aspect of us that gave rise to our response. This remains even when the influence or trigger is long gone. These obscure cycles generally escape notice. We can reduce and eventually remove them by working on the root thought form(s) associated with it. This is where we want to focus our efforts.

Root thought forms express themselves in many ways in our lives. They are powerful, having been built-up and subsequently reinforced by many experiences. This is what makes them so challenging to deal with. Any one need can manifest in many ways. We remove the need by chipping away at all the needs we perceive until it is gone. No one experience will likely be sufficient.

The benefits of reduced needs programming are many. We often mistake need for passion and desire, and that without need we would lack these qualities, au contraire. What we do is stop wasting our energy on fulfilling “needs we do not need”, worrying about a future that does not yet exist, waiting for the end of the work day, or for the weekend to come. Life becomes fuller as we learn to be more in the now. We get a bigger, clearer and more appreciative taste of life because we are doing what we really want to be doing “right this very moment”, and not what our programming tells us.


Needs Based Programming and Emotions Cycle


How Needs are Created


Steps in Identifying a Need or "What Do I Need?"



© 2009 Allan Beveridge