Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of people’s needs in 1943. The hierarchy of needs has continued to be the clearest, simplest description available today. The hierarchy is divided into two broad categories of needs: hygienic needs and self-actualization needs.
- Hygienic needs must be satisfied at some level for people to be psychologically and physically healthy. These needs are
- Basic physiological needs, such as having air, food, water, sex, and sleep
- Safety needs, such as feeling life is predictable, having a stable job, having enough resources to live, having health
- Love and belonging needs, such the need to have people who love and accept us, to have friends, and not feel ostracized
- Esteem needs, such as the need to feel self-esteem, confidence, achievement, and respect for self and others
- Self-actualization needs are needs for higher qualities of being:
- to solve problems
- to be creative
- to act morally
- to understand oneself and others
We could extend Maslow’s hierarchy to a third level, spiritual actualization, at which people feel the need to be servants to others, devote themselves to others’ welfare, freely give love to all in their sphere of influence, and lose the need for wealth and acquisitions.
Any time you feel lonely, unhappy, hopeless, depressed, unloved, unsafe, victimized by life, insecure, unworthy, worthless, a failure, ugly, unlovable, ostracized, and in any other way unhappy, you are making yourself feel those feelings—they are entirely within your own mind and the reality you’re creating. But you learned the assumptions and perspectives that result in those feelings from the material world. You didn’t have them as an infant, and you don’t need to have them now. But every time you feel these desperate feelings, it is because of something you’re believing about yourself and reality that is entirely untrue. It is a fear created by the material realm, but it is a lie.
Learn to listen to your spiritual self and you will learn that these things are lies. One by one, you can eliminate them from your life.
The focus on the material realm, with its ignorance about our nature as eternal beings having a physical experience, its focus on individuals getting and consuming at the cost of others, its promotion of competition that results in treating people as objects, its promotion of the importance of having wealth, property, and beauty, and its suppression of the inner sense of love and compassion, leaves people unsuccessfully grappling to satisfy the lower level hygienic needs their entire lives.
People in our materialistic society don’t feel safe and secure because of violence, selfish disregard people have for each other and the constant threat of losing a livelihood because businesses treat people as disposable furniture. They feel desperately lonely and separated, are subjected to criticism and bullying that makes them feel unlovable, may be part of one of the many groups that are ostracized, and many can find a sense of belonging only in dysfunction groups such as gangs. They are convinced from childhood that they must be beautiful, wealthy, educated, and successful to be worthy.
The only two natural fears that humans have are fear of loud noises and fear of stepping off heights. All the other fears are taught to us as we grow up. All of the feelings of hopelessness, frustration, anger, guilt bitterness, loneliness, have become assumptions we learned and we now live our lives based on. We are creating realities of fear. These fears come from the conviction that our basic hygienic needs are not being fulfilled: the need for safety, the need to feel worthwhile and valued, the need to feel loved and belonging. To calm the fears, we control, our spouses, our children, and ultimately, ourselves. If we lose control, the fears cause us to panic.
But all of these fears and the threats to our basic hygienic needs are entirely in our minds; they are produced by the assumptions we hold that we learned as children. To grow to have bliss, we must face each of these assumptions and the fears they produce, one at a time, with the realization that we are eternal spiritual beings, unaffected by anything in the material realm.
Our assumptions that we will be unsafe, are unworthy, and are unloved must be replaced by the assumptions that we will never die and the spiritual beings we are can never be harmed. No tragedy can destroy us. No desire we have is important enough to make us frustrated and unhappy. No threat to our job or our health matters because we are simply having the physical part of an eternal existence, and we will learn from the tragedies as well as the triumphs. We can be blissful in the face of any circumstance in which we find ourselves.
We must replace the assumptions that we’re not worth anything or not talented or not beautiful or not educated with the knowledge that we are the pinnacle of existence in the universe, along with our brothers and sisters whom we seek to serve because we regard them as the pinnacles as well. There is no one more worthy than we are. No one with any position or wealth is more important in the eternal universe; position and wealth are temporary qualities that will fall away. Our wisdom may be limited now, but only because we’re at a stage of our eternal growth that is not as wise as we know we will be. We’re at the first stages of growing into the wisest souls in all of eternity—every one of us.
We are not judged. No one outside of humanity and ourselves judges us as being worthy or unworthy. God doesn’t assign levels of worth. You are not less important than a king, president, physician, or concert pianist. You are perfection—you are the universe’s masterpiece, and you know others are also the universe’s masterpieces, so you can regard them highly just as you regard yourself and they regard you.
You are loved, unconditionally, with no judgment that you’re doing something wrong or might be separated from your lovers—God, those who have gone before you into the next plane of existence, and the people around you. Not one eternal being in the universe doesn’t love you as an ardent adolescent who has seen his beloved and realizes that she loves him with equal ardor. You are sought after and embraced, at every moment in your eternal existence. Nothing you could say, nothing you could do, nothing you could ever be, could separate you from this love that envelopes you like a warm, soft blanket. You will never be apart. You can sleep quietly knowing when you awake, the beloved will be smiling down at you.
All of the fears of the physical realm you have acquired in childhood were lies. They were taught to you by a self-absorbed material realm that itself was crying out to be safe, worthy, and loved. But those who reared you didn’t know how to satisfy their needs. They were, themselves, reared in the physical realm that teaches people to fear. And so they passed along their fears to you.
You must break out of that prison. When you realize the eternal spiritual being you are, you will no longer fear. And when you stop fearing, you will find that you are consumed with love—you are love. You always were love, but the fears kept you preoccupied so you couldn’t express it or feel it. When the fears go away, you will become pure love. And in becoming pure love, you will become one with God.
Your bliss will be in realizing your eternal nature. And when you realize that you are an eternal being having a physical experience, the fears will fall away. You will have no fear; only love.
You are naturally loving, happy, and blissful. The deceptions of the material realm keep you from the feelings you would naturally have. The assumptions you grew up with were that someone could take away your security at any time; you are wrong, unworthy, and stupid; you are unlovable and those around you may withdraw their love at any time if you displease them. And so, you are filled with fear. But those emotions are unnatural. They weren’t in you as an infant, but they were in you by the time you were an adolescent. Where did they mysteriously appear from? They came from the people around you in the material realm.