Are “needs” a bad thing? Especially the the need for connection?
Lately I’ve been inspired to think about needs vs. wholeness.
On a spiritual level, we can access wholeness any time- the place where there are no needs and you are always complete.
But on a human level, we can’t deny that we do have needs. We have a need to eat, a need to go to the bathroom, and I believe…a need for connection.
Do we have to disown our human needs and desires for the sake of being spiritual, for the sake of becoming masters of our reality?
I’ve been seeing a lot of people on Quora asking about relationships and how they relate to spirituality. Basically, they’re asking if it’s possible to be spiritual, realize their freedom, and also be in a relationship with another person at the same time.
On a deeper level, they’re asking this:
Is it ok to desire connection?
Is it ok that I have a need to connect with others?
They’re great questions, especially since throughout history spirituality has gone hand in hand with isolation and renunciation.
And I believe it’s because of this:
We’ve been taught that we have everything within ourselves. We exist. God is within us. We are sovereign, therefore, we shouldn’t need anybody in our lives, right?
The hidden message underneath the words of some of these teachers is that we need to transcend our humanity to know God. To know ourselves as divine, we need to reject our humanness and our human needs, including connection.
When you read those words, do they feel good to you? Does it feel good to deny a part of yourself, a desire that you have?
The answer is no. It doesn’t.
Because as long as we are human, we will have human needs. We will have human desires and dreams. We may be awake or enlightened but as long as we are still in a human body, we will have human experiences.
We do not need to transcend our humanity to realize our freedom, we actually need to embrace it.
To realize your freedom and who you really are is to realize and see that you are divine in your humanity. You are divinity right here, right now, even if you consider yourself a wretched sinner or the most saintly human.
You find your divinity in your humanness, in your human desires, needs, and dreams. There is nothing you need to transcend.
So that’s why I’m talking about connection today, one of the most basic human needs. Let’s take a look at what’s really going on here.
In many spiritual circles, we are sometimes being taught that the desire for emotional and physical connection with someone is a bad thing on the spiritual path. We are taught that we should refrain from any and all intimate relationships if we want to realize our freedom.
Why is this happening?
I believe it’s for 2 reasons:
1. We as a society are terrified of true connection and vulnerability. Our heart has been hurt too many times by being vulnerable and getting rejected, so we shut down. It’s safer and easier to not connect.
2. We’ve all been so hurt and lonely by the lack of connection in our lives or unbalanced experiences of connection, that we try to convince ourselves we don’t want it or need it. We’ve shut down and banished the parts of us that do desire connection so far away from our awareness that we don’t even realize they’re there anymore.
But they’re there. As human beings, spiritually aware of not, we all need connection. To deny this is to deny a very real and important part of ourselves.
On a spiritual level, everything is indeed within us. The kingdom of God is within.
But on a human level, everything we need is not within us.
We may be awake, enlightened, or living in complete denial of who we really are. But none of that matters- as long as we are human beings in human bodies, we are going to desire connection.
We’re wired for it. As much as plants need sun to grow, humans need connection – to know that they are not alone in their experience. It’s an integral part of our DNA and how we evolved as a species. We need connection to survive.
Even an enlightened teacher can have wounds and resistance to connection. And therefore, they will then teach others that it is not helpful to be in relationships when you are on the spiritual path.
But we need to remember that this is but one truth, not the only truth. And your truth may be that you want connection.
I’ve been working through some of my connection issues lately. Here’s what I’ve discovered:
I have always desired connection. I have always desired to be truly seen, known, and understood. But I didn’t get that as a child. I was not seen, known, or understood.
So I shut that part of myself down. I pretended it wasn’t there. I ignored that need for connection because it wasn’t getting met in my childhood. And in doing so, I felt disconnected from the world and especially, myself. I often felt lonely even in a room full of people.
On the other hand, some of us have the opposite of the connection wounds that I did. They were completely overburdened by a parent/partner that shared everything with them and then expected or even demanded them to “fix” or “heal” their issues. This is another type of trauma in the experience of connection.
I actually wouldn’t call this “connection.” I would call it “feeding.” But for many of us, this may have been our only example of what relating to another person looked like. Thus, we equate connection with smothering and being overburdened.
These types of wounds then cause us to shut down and resist ALL types of connection, instead of just the unhealthy dynamics. Again, we then banish our desire for real connection into the depths of our subconscious, pretending it never existed.
I acknowledge and understand this. For some of you, it may feel more “freeing” to cut off connection with everyone and focus mainly on yourself for a while. There is nothing wrong with this. You know best what experience you need in any given moment.
But if you do desire intimate connections and relationships, this is me giving you permission to choose that. You don’t need to be isolated to become free. I’m living proof of that. Sometimes, it may even be exactly what you need.
You can have BOTH.
What I’ve realized is that we can have both. We can be on a spiritual path AND we can be in relationships with others. We can have our spiritual sovereignty AND we can have connection to others from that same space.
We don’t have to isolate ourselves in monasteries or mystery schools anymore to experience our divinity. We can do it right here, right now, in the midst of society AND other people.
While we may need isolation at times, we may also need connection at times. It depends on what feels good for you in the moment. YOU get to decide what you need and when, regardless of what any spiritual teacher says.
Here’s what I’m choosing for myself in my relationships now that I’ve embraced my desire for connection:
I’m choosing deep, intimate connection with others while remaining completely sovereign. Meaning, I don’t want to share my life and connect with someone in the expectation that they are going to fix things. I simply want to share my experiences with someone, just for the sake of sharing. Because I am the one doing the healing. I don’t expect anyone else to do that for me.
This is what I want in return from the other person I’m in a relationship with, whether it’s a friend, family member, or a romantic partner. I want them to feel free to share their experiences with me without expecting me to fix them.
That’s actually the real definition of unconditional love: accepting another fully in their challenges and joys, without the desire to change or fix them.
Lately, I’ve been integrating these parts of myself that desire connection. It’s like waking up a dormant part of myself that thrives on sharing intimately with others, connecting on a deep level, and exchanging love freely. I had no idea how much I really desired this level of connection.
And I’m realizing that it’s part of my purpose for being here at this time. I desire to help people reconnect to themselves and to one another. Connection, empathy, and the love that it fosters are some of the most powerful healing forces in the universe.
Because how good does it feel to be truly seen by another soul? How awesome is that experience?
I’ve chosen to now embrace my desire for intimate connection in a new, sovereign way and consciously create it. I know that by doing so, I will attract like-minded souls into my reality, those that also desire true connection on a deep level with healthy dynamics.
I also know that by making this choice, all the parts of me that don’t want to connect will come into my awareness. They already are.
My soul is bringing into my awareness all the parts of myself that are afraid of connection, don’t want it, and most importantly, don’t feel worthy of it.
I’m feeling and integrating them step-by-step. And as I’m doing so, my heart is opening wider and wider. I’m embodying what I desired to be before I came into this life: complete, unconditional love.
My passion is to share this love with the world. I want to help people embrace and accept every single part of themselves and their reality, to embody their own unconditional love. And I want to remind them they are worthy of changing their reality by making a choice, just as I am doing now with my choice for connection.
Because spirituality aware or not, living a life without connection is simply not very much fun. I’m realizing this now on deeper and deeper levels.
It’s perfectly natural and spiritually good to embrace our human desires for connection and relationships, not the other way around. We don’t need to be alone to be spiritually awake or aware.
So I propose a new way of looking at connection and relationships when it comes to spirituality: Let’s embrace our human needs and desires, like connection. Let’s acknowledge and accept those parts of us that want to be seen and known, not push them away for the sake of our spirituality.
Because even if we banish them from our awareness, they’re still there. You can never eliminate a desire by pretending it’s not there. You can only embrace it.
The new spirituality is about embracing our humanity and all the human aspects of ourselves. There’s no longer a need to deny or renounce any part of our physical existence.
Connection begins by opening our hearts up to each other and being willing to be vulnerable. It starts with realizing that the pain it’s causing us to not connect is greater than any pain that potentially being rejected brings.
Our hearts are endlessly resilient and are patiently waiting for us to open up and be vulnerable with those precious humans in our lives.
And in doing that, we will change the world. One open heart at a time.
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