In times of difficulty, it is remembering our values – both internal and external – which will see us through.
Yesterday, I was sitting with Rosa. We were both concentrating on something at the time and so were both silent. Usually in these quiet moments, I am reflecting on something in my mind. Sometimes, I am concentrating with my thoughts entirely consumed by whatever it is I am engaged with. And sometimes, I am thinking about nothing at all. Yesterday, I took a break from alternating between total engagement and mindless staring to turn to Rosa, as I have come to often do, to ask her a question. Sometimes the question I ask is something to do with what I was doing prior to turning to her. Sometimes, it’s a question asked out of concern and consideration for her, “Are you okay?” or something like that. And sometimes, I ask her a more directed question.
“What’s in your mind?” I asked her this time as I rolled my head to the right and caught her eyes with a smile.
“I’m just thinking…” she replied as I turned back to look at what I was doing, “I’m just thinking, ‘What is my agenda?'”
The question she was posing to herself had me taken aback at first. Many things that Rosa and I ponder in the privacy of our own minds have a significant weight or potency to one of us yet remain meaningless to the other until context is given.
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
Rosa went on to explain that she had been thinking about the fact that everybody does what they do for a reason. “Some people,” she told me, “haven’t got a clue why they do what they do. Others,” she continued, “seem to have an idea but really don’t know. But whatever anybody does,” she had said, “they always do it for a reason. Everybody has their own agenda,” she explained, “everyone has their own idea of something that is good to do or something that is bad to do. People want to feel something, so they do things that make them feel that way. Some people know why they want to feel that way and others don’t. So,” she had told me, “I was wondering what my agenda was.”
I sat with her words for a moment and concluded that she was right. While I had come upon the realisation that very few people actually know why they do what they do before, Rosa’s question had pointed to a previously unexplored area of that trail of thought. It pointed to the notion that we, as the people we are, tend to be inspired to make the choices we make based on, usually, one primary desire. This one primary desire may be different for everybody, based on the fact that we have all had different lives, but nonetheless, the driving force behind most if not all of the choices we make is defined by something which we are always looking for. That something, considering our relentless search for it, is perhaps something we are yet to truly find anywhere.
There are four basic, core, humans needs. These are as follows: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Love/Connection. These can be further simplified into three categories. Balance, Identification and Connection. Balance (associated with the first and second chakras) is the need for things to reach a state wherein we feel comfortable, centred and where joy is accessible easily. Identification (associated with the second, third and fourth chakras) is the need to feel significant and identified with and by others. And Connection (associated with the third, fourth and fifth chakras) is the need to connect with others and oneself, define and communicate our needs and develop bonds with other people. All of these needs are being met in one way or another all the time. How we are meeting these needs (be it in a destructive, dis-empowering way or a constructive empowering way) will determine the levels of positive and negative emotion available to us at any given moment.
Based on the way we are brought up and the things we see, hear and feel in early life – and consequently experience repeatedly later on – one of these 3 (or 4, if you’re going by the original definitions) becomes the default top priority need. Whichever need becomes the top priority need thereafter determines the sorts of things any person requires in order to even access a regular feeling of happiness, empathy and compassion.
If somebody has Balance (Certainty and Variety) as their top priority need then they will thrive in a comfortable environment in which they feel safe and secure and have all of their material and physical needs met. Somebody with Balance as their top priority need tends to be able to feel good on a regular basis without any particular stimulation if they have enough food, water, an appropriate temperature in their environment, a reasonably active sexual life, a comfortable and well-lit living environment and so on. Take those things away and anybody would feel less happy than usual but if somebody with Balance as their top priority need does not have these things then they can become bitter, depressed and even cruel. The natural benefit of being someone who has their need for Balance met to a degree of happiness means that you will understand when too much or not enough of something is happening in your life and you will be able to adjust things accordingly.
If somebody has Identification (Significance) as their top priority need then they will thrive in an environment where they feel admired, listened to and are able to feel sure about themselves and their actions. Somebody with Identification as their top priority need tends to be able to feel good on a regular basis without any particular stimulation if they have a wide circle of friends, regular praise and appreciation as well as gratitude for the things they have done when they concern others, a job role or occupation which enables them to be in service and so on.
Take those things away and it becomes very difficult for anybody, let alone someone with Identification as their primary need, to be happy. If this need is not met in a constructive, empowering way then the person will begin to act selfishly, coldly and will perhaps become manipulative or overly dramatic. The natural benefit of being someone who has their need for Identification met to a degree of happiness is that you will be a comfortable performer or public speaker and will always be able to maintain clear boundaries thus increasing happiness for yourself and others around you.
If somebody has Connection (Connection/Love) as their top priority need then they will thrive in a environment where they feel appreciated, are considered and have somebody or several people consciously aware of their emotional needs. They will always require the utmost love and care when emotional matters arise. People with Connection as their top priority need tend to be able to feel good on a regular basis without any particular stimulation if they have a lover or a close friend with whom they can share their deepest feelings and the opportunity to connect with lots of different kinds of people as well as others around them doing all they can to maintain a loving energy in their environment. As with the other needs, when these important circumstances are taken away it is difficult for anybody to feel happy with ease but when somebody who has Connection as their top priority need does not have circumstantial reinforcement of this need, they can become apathetic, tender and sensitive, highly emotionally volatile or easily provoked into an emotionally charged reaction and so on, not to mention extremely lonely. When the need is met in a constructive and empowering way, the natural benefits of being somebody who has Connection as your top priority need are that you will have a high level of empathy and will always have a desire to help others, you will be a fantastic and attentive lover and you will always seek understanding rather than knowing.
Taking into consideration what I shared here, I reflected on Rosa’s question to herself, “What is my agenda?” And I told her that I thought that it is the top priority need that determines anybody’s inclination towards doing or saying anything they do or say. After considering what I had said for a moment, she agreed.
Of course, within our patterned behaviours and routines in our daily lives, there will be a lot of rituals which have developed to meet the needs we all possess which fall into place as being less important to each of us than the need we hold as our top priority need. As we all possess every one of these basic human needs, there will always be something we are doing which will be – either constructively or destructively – fulfilling these needs. However, if we can identify which of these needs we are currently prioritising as the most important and adjust our habits according to a more harmonious and constructive way to feel good in this area then we will see significant improvements in our levels of happiness.
Remember, the needs which we are priortising as “top” in any given moment is subject to change once it is being fulfilled in a positive, constructive and empowering way. Thereafter, if the need is continually fulfilled, the benefits will serve us to fulfill the other needs in a more sustainable way too. So if we set in place habits which fulfill our need for Balance in a sustainable way, the benefits of Balance will allow us to fulfill our other needs for Identification and Connection. Once all of these needs are met, the door to our spiritual needs opens and we can experience expansive growth on a soul level on a day-to-day basis.
I spent the day yesterday and some of today reflecting more on this idea and I came to something… If we can identify our own top priority need and meet it in the most empowering and constructive way available to us in any given moment then we will be unlocking greater levels of happiness for ourselves. As I said above, if we have done this and are able to set in place habits and activities which fulfill our other basic needs too then that enables us to feel happier more of the time. Furthermore, if we consider what I wrote above, we can begin to easily identify the top priority needs of the other people in our lives and those we meet in fleeting experiences. Once we can do this, we can gently, with care and consideration, offer them our presence in a way which will aid them in fulfilling their top priority need in a more constructive and empowering way.
And thus, our agenda transforms from one of self-service based on a survival need to one of serving others based on one of the two spiritual needs. The spiritual needs are Service and Growth. These needs are easily accessible and effortless to fulfill once our initial survival needs for Balance, Identification and Connection are adequately met in a sustainable way.
If all of our needs are met in a sustainable way then when things become difficult, we can rely on a pre-installed, pre-solidifed relationship with ourselves. In knowing what it is we value within ourselves and in our encounters with others, we can make choices based on these things rather than on old, patterned choices. And we will therefore succeed in our endeavours.
I trust this will serve you well.
Keep it real,
Live, love and play!