About 10 years ago I came to a cross roads in my life. I had been teaching communication workshops for several years on how people could learn a compassionate way of getting their needs met.
But something made me stop. I resigned. I was confused at the time and didn’t realise what was really going on except a sense that what I was doing was hurting me. My work with the Course in Miracles was still at early stage but somehow I knew that for me I had to drop all that was different form the Course to really get at what the A Course in Miracles was teaching.
I found the following words coming to my mind “I want to find peace independent of getting my needs met”. In the years following that inner significant promise to myself my external circumstances gave me plenty chances to learn that lesson over and over!
The quality of the peace that I had found by the mutual meeting of needs seemed good at the time but afterwards left me feeling an increasing sense of unease. Even though I was aware of the importance of seeing the other persons needs as equal to mine and knowing that I could not get my needs met at the expense of someone else, I felt that I was somehow being dishonest deep down.
I found that the more I took seriously my individual separate needs the more I felt I was missing out on the true picture. The more I believed that the loving thing was to meet people on the level of need the more I experienced that I was not truly joining with them.
I felt that even though I was using words that implied that the other person was not responsible for my unmet needs and negative feelings I was still somehow blaming them for my lack of peace.
I was tired of the bargaining process that seemed endless. A set of needs was met or I was happy one day but then the next day I would have to do the same dance all over again.
I wondered if I could listen to myself and others in a way that reminded me and them of the peace of mind that was still present even though needs were not being fulfilled.
I started to learn that forgiveness, empathy, and healing only occur in the mind and not between separate people.
“In the holy instant the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body’s interference, and where there is communication there is peace.” T-15.XI.7.
For I while I was tempted to see that meeting our individual separate needs was something to be avoided but then I realised that was a unworthy form of denial:
“The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world. Its abilities can be and frequently are over evaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial.” T-2.IV.3:8-11
The answer I eventually realise was to just getting on with meeting our individual needs but without making them the focus of our day. And how about not making the fulfilment of everyone’s needs something wonderful and almost spiritual and just seeing it as normal consequence of believing that we are a body. I found needs fell into their proper place when I joined with Jesus in my mind which was the same as joining with everyone. Everyday problems were no longer my main focus but choosing to return to my mind became my everyday path to inner peace.
I remember the relief of experiencing being in a relationship where I was not concerned about my or the other person’s needs because I knew that everything was fine. I could then be normal, kind and loving free from any concern about connecting my or the other person’s well-being to needs.
Being free from evaluating relationships in terms of needs became the same for me as meeting people with judgement. I still realize that I have a lot of work in generalising this lesson to all relationships