As a herbalist student I have been asked to answer the ultimate question, what do I need? Not as in what do I need to get through this day, to get through this coursework or even to get through this season, but what do I need from the universe. Not what I want, but what do I actually need for my existence and why. This is a deep and lofty question.
After much reflection on the question, my life thus far, and my psyche, I have a few answers about my needs. I need to believe in something bigger than myself. I firmly believe in a higher operation of consciousness that includes all spirits and holds them in a place of respect and love. I need to belong to that collective consciousness and shared spiritual experience.
I need to have a purpose. Beyond the basic needs for physical life, such as food and shelter, I need to serve a specific purpose. I need the opportunity to give something back to the community I live in and the people I share this time and place with. I would feel blessed if I knew my purpose provided a service to those that live beyond my time and place. I need to feel I have made a contribution, been useful and made a difference by being here and interacting. My contribution does not need to be Nobel-prize worthy, just a small meaningful difference in a few other being’s life will do.
I need to leave something behind. It may be wisdom passed to my children and grandchildren to continue a legacy of protecting nature, respecting the spirit that lives in all living things, and promoting kindness and support to all beings. It may be in the form of my writing living on for some other human to stumble upon in the future. Perhaps it will resonate with them and help them along their journey.
These are my needs to believe, belong, contribute and leave something behind. Why do I need these things? For me personally these are the needs that help me make sense of the world and still be able to get up, get out and participate in daily life. Our time on Earth is hard, we face many challenges and I need to believe it isn’t in vain. Belonging and contributing is how I feel loved and give love. It is everything I base who I am on.
At this time in my life my needs are spiritual in nature. I have raised a family, had a career and managed to eke out enough of a living to have my physical needs met. I am grateful to have enough and looking for deeper meaning and connection. I love the idea of passing on what I have learned to my five daughters and tribe of grandchildren. I need to share all the love and support I have received with any one that needs a hand-up. I have all I need. I have love. I need to share and give back.
I think these are probably basic human needs. We all seem to need to belong and feel we have a purpose. It’s worth remembering that everyone we meet likely has these needs. There has to be something bigger than us that we can add a small part to with our participation, effort and love.