The gulf between our wants and needs can be as deep as the Grand Canyon.
Our physical needs are clean air, water, food, shelter, and clothing.
Equally as important is the need for us to be loved and to give love.
The feeling of being connected to others is vital—a soul need.
On the other hand, what do we want? Oh, that list is probably interesting! And a lot longer. It might include fame, fortune, a skinny body and a great romance. And perhaps we also want to be acknowledged for accomplishing something great and meaningful!
But what is meaningful?
I believe whatever brings forth a feeling of well-being is a meaningful need—not a want. How often do we experience real satisfaction or fulfillment? And from what? Our motivations lying under our wants must be explored if we are to find true fulfillment in life.
We may think success will bring it to us, but what is success?
Stephen Covey writes that people often climb the ladder of success only to find it leaning against the wrong building. When this happens our values have gotten out of sync with our soul needs.
Careers may all but consume us while we neglect those we love.
Yet, on our death bed, will it be our career that we agonize leaving? Or will it be saying good-bye to those we love? Or will we have regrets?
Spiritually wise people continue to teach the importance of learning to die while we are yet alive. Thus I recommend imagining our last day on earth and ask ourselves what is still missing. What do we regret?
Each of us has been born to accomplish some purpose. The universe calls us to bring our gifts to the world, for this is how consciousness evolves. We are all a part of the upward movement that spirals towards greater consciousness.
But how do we know when our purpose here on earth has been fulfilled?
Richard Bach has written there is a clear answer to that question. Are we still breathing? If so, there is something still for us to do. We are not finished here.
But what is it? All that I’ve read on death and dying indicates that those who die without regrets leave the happiest.
Without regrets. What do we regret not doing? What is unfinished in our life? Are there strained relationships? Is there something we always yearned to accomplish but never risked or took the time?
Many people who have been given a short time to live radically change their lifestyle. They focus on what truly has meaning for them and cut out spending energy on unnecessary activities.
Also they do their best to mend fences.
I believe our real needs are to connect in healthy, satisfying ways with those around us, as well as with our mind and our bodies. And even our money. Everything is relationship—an exchange of energy.
How balanced are our relationships? Has our exchange been more to giving? Or more to receiving? If so, our life doesn’t feel balanced and at ease.
So what is left undone?
We may think we have all the time in the world to take care of these matters, which is what Dr. Jung calls a neurosis. This attitude gives birth to procrastination and living a careless life, which results in many regrets.
We may not want to think about our death, but it truly is a very important consideration. Regardless of how Western culture has taught us to avoid the subject, calling it negative and maudlin, denial doesn’t remove the inevitability of death.
In fact avoidance adds to our stress, causing us to feel fragmented and unbalanced in some way.
Yes, death is inevitable, though those under thirty five might argue the point. Remember when you felt immortal? Those were the days!
Living as if each day is our last helps move us towards that which really matters. It causes us to focus on our real needs.
Since we don’t know when death will occur, it’s wise to start with this day.
Perhaps writing a paragraph about that which gives your life meaning is a good start. And then focusing time and energy on your values.
The truth is that you are a spiritual being having a human experience. Make this lifetime count! You deserve it.
And the world is a happier place because you sought that which was valuable and meaningful. Due to our interconnectedness you are in a real sense helping all of us!
I thank you for caring about our world. We’re all in it together.