The Myth of Neediness – April 27 2020

The Myth of Neediness – April 27 2020

The mind… observes the so-called outside world and sees its own structure… In a word, the mind looks at unity and sees diversity; it looks at what is timeless and reports transience. And in fact the percepts of its experience are diverse and transient; on this level of experience, separateness is real. Our mistake is in taking this for ultimate reality, like the dreamer thinking that nothing is real except his dream…


When we look at unity through the instruments of the mind, we see diversity; when the mind is transcended, we enter a higher mode of knowing – turiya, the fourth state of consciousness – in which duality disappears. This does not mean, however, that the phenomenal world is an illusion or unreal. The illusion is the sense of separateness.

Eknath Easwaran,

from a discussion of maya in The Bhagavad Gita


So much of our time is spent in the mind. Speculating. Trying to ‘figure out’ our life–what we should do next, what we should have done yesterday, what they should have done, whose fault is my unhappiness, what do we need, where can we get it–in spite of the fact that speculation never really works.


We never really ‘figure out’ anything. The ‘problem’ of life cannot be solved in the mind, for the mind can only seek happiness for us in the outer world, where happiness does not exist. And when I am seeing happiness as ‘out there,’ I am defining myself as needy. I am seeing myself as lacking. I am seeing myself as separate from my fulfillment. 


By staying in the mind and looking at the world through the paradigm of the mind, this will never change. There never will be enough. There always will be something else that is needed. There never will be the experience of lasting happiness.


Happiness, bliss, joy, contentment–these qualities reside only within the Self. Within myself. Always.


In our meditation, we go beyond the mind, transcend the mind. We move into this fourth state of consciousness–beyond waking, sleeping or dreaming–which in Sanskrit is known as turiya. Literally The Fourth State. In this state of transcendence, the sense of separateness disappears. And with the falling away of separateness comes the dissolving of the experience of lack and neediness. For if unity is the Truth of the universe, I can’t possibly be lacking anything for there is nothing outside of my self. To know myself as the oneness is to want for nothing. To feel myself as this oneness is to find contentment and the possibility of happiness in my world.


The next time we feel needy, rather than try to figure out where we can go to get the need fulfilled (or what’s wrong with me that I have it), we might consider choosing not to be identified as this mind in which the neediness lives. We might choose instead to make the effort to know ourselves as that which is beyond the mind.


Today I will choose to see myself as full, rather than needy. I will walk into a situation asking myself what I have to bring to that situation, rather than what I might hope to get.

Still life, ambrotype, Studio City, CA