Climbing that Hierarchy of Needs Mountain
Today we are continuing this weeks series of posts on the issue of how complementary therapists (and others in the helping professions) can get comfortable with the process of earning a fair wage for what they do and what they offer the world.
Back in the 1980s there was a TV show called MacGyver, staring Richard Dean Anderson (this was before he achieved mega-stardom in the Stargate TV franchise).. and each week his character would save the day with nothing more then a paperclip, chewing gum, a transistor radio, and a rolled up copy of the National Geographic magazine.
In a similar way, today I am going to conjure up another insight about money and complementary therapists using only… Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the chakra system, a quote from Duane Packer, and a well-known saying from the New Testament.
In fact, let’s make it really hard… let’s throw in Swami Muktananda as well.
Impossible, I hear you cry… can’t be done.
Well, I am up for the challenge. You see…
In the New Testament, Jesus replies to someone asking about whether Jews should be paying taxes to the hated Romans, with those famous lines of scripture… “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, Give to God what is God’s.”
And there is a great insight about money, caring, and spirituality contained within this simple saying… although we need to tease it out a little.
Duane Packer also has a saying, suggesting that when someone is walking the spiritual path they need to be level appropriate.
He believes that many of the mistakes which men make, in terms of religion and spirituality, is when we confuse the different levels… when we get Caesar and God confused, when we blur the distinctions between physical and spiritual realities, when we try to act all spiritual when really we should be focusing instead on our physical needs.
For example, take two life-lessons… the need for self-worth… and the need to discover unconditional love.
On the surface, they look very much the same… but each lesson is actually very different.
When someone is learning about self-worth, then they are learning to put themselves first… but when someone is learning about unconditional love, then they are learning to surrender their narrow definition of self, and also to focus on the needs of others.
But although it sounds very spiritual and worthy… if someone needs to learn about self-worth, if that is their primary lesson at that stage in their life… the one thing you don’t teach them about is unconditional love. If they need to learn to put themselves first, then the last thing you want to teach them is “Stop thinking of yourself… start putting other people before your own needs”.
And when an individual is growing up, if all goes well. through the developmental stages, the learning of self-worth should come before the learning of unconditional love. Self-worth is something we should learn when we are a child hopefully, and unconditional love, a love which extends out to others, when we are in our late teens. And in terms of the chakra system, self-worth is a Solar-plexus chakra learning, while unconditional love is a learning relating to the Heart chakra.
If someone progresses through life-lessons in the correct order, then they learn the lessons of the Solar-plexus chakra, and move on… they build a firm foundation… before moving on to the Heart and the higher chakras.
And this is something which is also reflected in Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs and the stepped pyramid diagram. The lowest steps of the pyramid concerns our physical needs, then the next is our social needs, then the next is our emotional needs etc… and an individual can only move safely on to the next, higher level if they have built a firm layer below (or else they create a very wonky, unstable pyramid).
But if someone skips a lesson…in terms of the pyramid of needs, or in terms of their chakras… If they try to practice unconditional love BEFORE they have fully integrated the lesson of self-worth… then that’s when they can have “serious” money issues.
That is the important thing to understand… if you try and skip a level / lesson, then it makes your pyramid unstable.
Example, I once did a session with a man in his late 20s who was brilliant at manifesting money… and then giving it all away. In his life, he had probably manifested a million pounds easily… and then had given it all away to friends, family, charities…
And at this stage of this life, he was living in a small, rented flat… wondering… “What about me? When is someone going to come along and look after me?”
And when we drilled down to his core issue in this area… we found that it was because he was being level inappropriate.
He was practising unconditional love BEFORE he had safely and fully integrated the lesson of self-worth.
And that my complementary friends is the problem I see in our community, time and time again, people who give and share unconditionally…
… but who also need to put the emphasis on themselves as well, who need to strengthen their own feelings of self-worth.
Because when we see a great master like Swami Muktananda go around, practising unconditional love, we fail to see also those earlier stages in his life, all the struggles he went through which helped him fully learn his issues of self-worth… when he learnt and integrated the lessons of his lower chakras, of his pyramid of needs… so that later, when he was going around, loving unconditionally… then the Universe supported all his physical needs without his even needing to ask.
And that is true for all the great Masters down the ages… we see them as finished products… and miss the process they had to undergo to achieve their state of grace.
So if you having problems earning a decent amount of money to support you… perhaps you should park the unconditional love for the moment… and take some time cultivating your feeling of inner self-worth. Before you give to others, just make sure that you are also able to give to yourself.
And here endeth the lesson for the day.
(c) Brian Parsons, August 2016.