The driving force of our live. Motivating everything we say or do.
Love. Belonging. Connection.
Comfort. Safety. Peace. Nourishment.
Mattering. Understanding. Care.
Freedom. Authenticity. Honesty.
Meaning. Growth. Contribution.
Play. Rest. Movement.
Universal. Connecting all of us in our humanness. The young and the old. The rich and the poor. The men and the women. Regardless of our skin colour.
We have them, even if we know nothing about them. We suffer, when they’re not met. We feel good, when they’re satisfied. Our feelings, like the most precise instruments, lead the way, opening the door to ourselves.
Are you a beggar?
Yet, there is a crux to it. The lack. The scarcity. Ever creeping in through the cracks in our psyche. Like a hungry baby that’s impossible to feed, always wanting more.
Like in this story of a beggar, who “had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.”
Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now.
Ready for an experiment?
We can whine about it. We can blame the world in which we live. We can try and fix ourselves. Or, take part in a small experiment.
If you could experience your needs from a place of lack, from a place of longing or from a place of abundance. What would you choose?
So, are you up for it?
Pick a need. You may think of something you long for today, a need not met at this moment, or this week. To start with, pick something that’s fairly simple, not something you were deprived of your entire life.
Now say to yourself: I don’t have… (e.g. I don’t have peace) or, I lack…., I miss… – check what works best.
How does it feel? Is it light or heavy? Pleasant or unpleasant?
Now, say to yourself: I want… (e.g. I want peace) or, I long for … Check what works best and repeat it a few times to let it land in you.
How does it feel right now? Is it light or heavy? Pleasant or unpleasant?
Now, remember a time, when this need was met in your life. Try to remember a specific situation, as clearly as you can, including the place, the colours, the time, the fragrances.
How does it feel?
You may notice, that you have access to this quality, to this essence, wherever you are.
So now, how about trying:
I have… or, I am… and no one can take this away from me.
If it feels right, repeat it a few times and let it really land in you. If it feels phony – find a sentence that fits. Perhaps: I’m learning… and no one can take this away from me. Take a moment with this sentence and notice how you feel right now.
Which felt best?
I would like to invite you to do this practice, perhaps daily. Just pick a need, use the sentence that works best, and sit down to contemplate the fullness that your life is.
To live from our abundance
Now, that’s not the end of the game. I have not invited you to spend the rest of your life in quiet contemplation. On the contrary. I wish all of us could live from our fulness. From our abundance.
Only, when there’s less of a hole that cries to be filled, when there’s more relaxation within, we go into the world less like beggars.
We can still go for what you want. It’s inherent part of us being alive.
Only now, the wanting becomes more of a conscious choice. A choice that takes into account the resources and the capacity to give – our own, other people’s, and the Earth at large.
* This practice stems from Nonviolent Communication – an approach created by Marshall B. Rosenberg, and this exercise is inspired by the process ‘Living energy of needs’ by Robert Gonzales and ‘Connecting with needs’ by Miki Kashtan.