Who Needs Need?

By Gregg Sanderson

To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.—Ken Keyes

“I love you. I need you,” say countless songs and novels to convey that romantic thought to unsuspecting innocents.

“You can’t expect one person to fill all my needs,” say rationalizing philanderers.

“You aren’t meeting each others’ needs,” say hordes of counselors whose relationships also don’t work.

A need is anything you must have in order to be happy. It’s an expression of lack. Every time you say “I need…” you reinforce the unconscious attitude of “I don’t have…” Brandishing need is the same as celebrating poverty—physical, emotional, and spiritual. You’re just going to get more of it.

Of course, there are the physical needs to keep the body going, it’s the mental needs that screw us up. Here are some ways to recognize when a need interferes with your happiness:

  • You lose peace of mind as you focus on what’s missing.
  • You view the world through the lens of lack.
  • You view people as potential satisfiers or obstacles.
  • You seek to get, and when you get, you worry about losing.
  • When you focus on what you lack, you can’t enjoy what you have.
  • Nothing changes. Patterns repeat. Satisfaction is short-lived.

Needs come in three flavors—security, sensation, and power.

Security needs are deepest and most ingrained, and the dominant emotion is fear. You know you’re centered in security when you’re afraid—very afraid.

Sensation needs are exemplified by sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Food, too. Anything that stimulates the senses. You know you’re centered there when you are run by a craving. Frustration is a good indicator of a sensation need, although it also points to the next flavor…

Power needs: control, prestige, authority. The reaction from the power center is usually anger or some variety thereof.

In other words, NEED IS THE ONLY CAUSE OF SUFFERING, and “suffering” is any emotion that rejects what is here and now.

So what?

  1. When you feel good about the way things are, your emotional reaction is positive.
  2. When life doesn’t fit your pictures of how it should be, negative emotions rule.
  3. You can change those unconscious pictures to include things as they are.
  4. When you do, you feel positive more often and everything works better.

Points 1, 2, and 4 are obvious. Simple observation. But what about point 3? How in the world can you change those unconscious pictures? If I knew what they were, they wouldn’t be unconscious.

There are several ways, and they all work. My choice is Living Love—The Science of Happiness, which presents 12 “Pathways to Higher Consciousness.” It was created by Ken Keyes Jr. in 1972, when he published the Handbook to Higher Consciousness. Whenever I suffer, it’s because my “pictures” or “programming” is out of line with one or more of the Pathways.

When I want to stop suffering, I just have to change the program—like a computer. Instead of: “There’s an app for that,”I know “There’s a Pathway for that.”

Of course, I need to be willing to change. The First Pathway is a good start. It goes: “I am freeing myself from security, sensation, and power needs that make me try to forcefully control situations in my life and thus destroy my serenity and keep me from loving myself and others.”


“I am freeing myself...” It’s only me, nobody can do it for me.

“…that make me try....” I only try, never succeed at controlling things. Do you?

“...destroy my serenity...” and how! It’s called “stress.”

“…keep me from loving myself and others.”

The bottom line. Love is where it’s at, and we have eleven more pathways to get there. Tune in next month.

Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at http://www.newthoughtglobal.org.

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