VI. The Illusion of Needs, P 1
1 You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness. No learning is acquired by anyone unless he wants to learn it and believes in some way that he needs it. While lack does not exist in the creation of God, it is very apparent in what you have made. It is, in fact, the essential difference between them. Lack implies that you would be better off in a state somehow different from the one you are in. Until the “separation,” which is the meaning of the “fall,” nothing was lacking. There were no needs at all. Needs arise only when you deprive yourself. You act according to the particular order of needs you establish. This, in turn, depends on your perception of what you are.
In the beginning, there was everything, and nothing was lacking. There was not even a concept of lacking, or of needs. Then came the “fall” or the “separation from God,” in which we began to imagine that things were different. We experienced ourselves in a state of separation, separate from God, separate from each other, each thing separate from us and from every other thing.
Space and time seem to exist and everything is further separated. Now I can be different from you and I can be in a different place, at a different time, and I can have something you don’t have. This had never been possible until now because before there was only one whole and there was no separation. Separation feels wrong and I want everything back. And it seems like that other one has it.
So, here I think I am. I am at this point in space and in this time. I am reduced to a bit of flesh and bones and further differentiated by sex, by shape, by size, and with the idea of time, by age. I see someone over there with a slimmer body, a younger body, and I feel deprived. I want what that person has. I have a whole list of preferred conditions having to do with the body, with circumstances, and with relationships. In each one, I seem to fall short of someone else. I have needs. I lack.
I am discontented, alone, and afraid. I want my needs to be met and yet I feel a vague discomfort about it because it seems that my needs are met often at the expense of someone else. I would think that this endless dividing of the whole would make more, but instead, it seems to produce a state in which there is only so much and I have to grab my bit before someone else does.
This incessant need to take from others what we feel we must have to be happy sometimes takes on global proportions and we have world wars, but really, we are at war in every moment of our lives. We are always jostling for a better place, a bigger piece of the pie. We see winning as the effect of someone else losing. And no matter how much we accumulate, we are left feeling needy because we don’t know what it is we lack.
Since I don’t know what I need I spend my lives assigning that role to each and every separated thing. I need a better body, a better mate, a better job, a better car, a better friend. The list is endless because no matter what I get it fails to satisfy. At some point, I have to believe there must be a better way. At some point, I absolutely will choose to find that better way.
This is my time. This is the time in which I realize that I am seeking for happiness and peace in the wrong places. I will never find peace through war. I cannot achieve happiness at the expense of someone else. I stopped trying to get more customers from my competitors and started trying to find ways to help the people in my industry. I lost interest in having a fancier car, a bigger house, nicer clothes; I lost interest in things, and I have stopped needing to be superior to someone else.
I stopped trying to make more money than the other guy and started trying to do the best job I could do. I stopped being envious of the younger, slimmer body someone else has. I stopped using this body as a way to get what I thought I lacked. I stopped using this body to reward myself or to punish myself. I stopped using this body to make myself feel better than or less than. I began to ask Holy Spirit to use this body in a way that would help us all, as a communication device, a tool to help us awaken.
I was unhappy, not because of any actual lack, but because I had a certain perception of myself, and from that perception, I decided what I needed to improve that perception. Each time I achieved something it would be at the expense of another and the guilt of taking and of further separating that which God made whole, would leave me feeling more deprived than ever. So I was doing this to myself.
The solution is full forgiveness. I start with whatever is happening in my life at the moment and I forgive it. I forgive the other person for appearing prettier, happier, richer, and more satisfied than me. I forgive myself for wanting what they have, and for coveting what I seem to lack. I forgive myself for the war I am waging within my own mind. I forgive myself for believing I am separate, separate from everyone and everything else, separate from God.
Without this sense of endless neediness driving my thoughts and actions, I am open to another way. I begin to see things differently. Instead of looking at a competitor I see a man who is confused, just like I used to be confused. He thinks he needs my customer in order to be happy and so sees me as the source of his discontent. He and I want the same thing. We both want to be happy, to be peaceful and to feel safe. I used to be confused about what would help me achieve those goals, and so I understand his confusion. I forgive us both.
The more areas to which I apply this in my life the more peaceful and happy I become. This is because forgiveness removes the barriers to our wholeness. As I forgive the false needs I placed on the body I am content with it. I don’t need it to be the way I receive attention or the way I punish myself for my perceived sins. I forgive myself and forgive my body, and that war is over. Without war there is peace.
As I forgive my relationships and I forgive myself for using these relationships as a way of getting more of what I think I need, I am free to simply love. I love the one who stands before me. This is so simple to do because I don’t need him to be anything for me, therefore he cannot disappoint me. As I get better at this and do more forgiveness work I see that no one is special. Each person receives all my love. It seems ridiculous that I have spent my life singling out individuals to love according to their ability and willingness to fulfill my needs, needs which I made up.
I want peace. I am willing to completely forgive. Holy Spirit, please help me to see clearly. Please help me when I become distracted. Please help me to wake up. I forgive myself for believing I am separate from my brothers and sisters and from God. Please help me to see where I still believe in separation so that I can let that be healed.