What are needs? Needs are conditions and experiences that, the fulfillment of which, satisfies a certain part of your being. When they remain unfulfilled for too long, this aspect of your being might become severely deprived and scream for your attention in various ways. This could even cause body or mind disorders, from psychosomatic disturbances to mental and emotional ones. More generally, it could develop into a vague and nagging sense of dissatisfaction.
Needs are not a luxury. They constitute the conditions for your inner wholeness and flourishing as a healthy and happy human being. You don't pamper the plants at your home by watering them every now and then; without water, they will wither away. Needs are your water, light, and air. However, unlike plants, you are a multi-dimensional being, and therefore your range of needs is more complex and it often becomes complicated, too.
Of course, some of your needs are far more tangible and immediate than others. We all know that a balanced diet and a sufficient water consumption are necessities. But some needs are much more refined, so much so that we often overlook them or wrongly consider them optional. In addition, some needs are unconscious, which means that we have no idea we require them so badly until perhaps one day, we fulfill them and realize that some hole inside our being has been finally filled. And there are also suppressed needs, needs that for some reason we believe we don't deserve to satisfy or needs we believe are superfluous or even distractive on our way toward more "important" goals.
So, how could you unveil the full spectrum of your needs? How could you identify which of the many dissatisfied voices inside you is a legitimate, authentic expression of a deprived aspect of your being? This is a much-required capacity, since becoming conscious of all your needs and knowing how to sate them on a regular basis is one of the most effective ways for dispelling discontent and establishing a sense of lasting happiness.
Chakras and Needs
It may surprise you to hear that the ideal roadmap to your spectrum of needs is the ancient chakra system. My study of the the system of seven chakras for already more than two decades has led me to recognize them not only in the traditional sense, as centers of energy and dormant spiritual powers, but also as a system that reflects the different dimensions of our psyche and life. Since each chakra corresponds to one of these dimensions, it also contains the relevant needs—the ideal conditions for the fulfilment of this dimension of our psyche and life. Look at the chakra ladder and you will find that it is also the ladder of your needs, from the immediate, instinctual and physical ones to the most refined and spiritual.
Here is your spectrum of needs according to the seven chakras. If you want to be balanced and content, you can use this model as your map for tracking your sources of happiness and unhappiness. There is no need to guess: when you feel unhappy or unbalanced, simply take a look at this model and examine which needs you have neglected.
As you read through the following descriptions, I encourage you to evaluate how well you are currently meeting these needs in your life, from 1 to 100 percent. For a revealing experience, return to this article from time to time and reevaluate your percentages for evidence of your growth.
Root Chakra Needs: Physical Stability
The chakra model opens with the root chakra>'s physiological and safety needs. The first chakra conveys the genuine human need to feel stable ground under your feet. You may try to disregard this need, believing that you have transcended this stage by moving to higher realms of your being, but this is not a passing stage—it is an essential requirement for inner and outer security, your ability to trust the solidity of life's structures.
The first component of physical stability is being able to rely on your body. It is possible to walk on life's path with a fragile, burdened, or even diseased body—and sometimes, unfortunately, it is unavoidable. This would not necessarily prevent you from cultivating a rich intellectual life or profound spirituality, but feeling uncomfortable in your own body makes it so much harder. As much as possible, you need the body on your side: well-nourished, well-rested, flexible, and resilient.
The second component is the feeling that you have a home to return to and at least one framework to which you belong. This includes a roof over your head, but more broadly, some group affiliation and identification. If possible, maintaining family stability can greatly nurture the root chakra.
The third component of physical stability is the ability to rely on your life's structure and lifestyle: feeling that, in general, you are held by a healthy routine in a relatively quiet, calm, and supportive environment. Maintaining proper time management, which ensures that you take care of all your needs, is part of creating such an environment for yourself. Having a trusted income is an important ingredient as well.
Sacral Chakra Needs: Enjoyment
The second chakra needs to be nourished by life's juices. Life should be an enjoyable experience, too, and there is nothing holy in suppressing this layer of yourself. Your body is not merely a functional machine; it needs to feel alive, vibrant, and happy. A healthy sexuality is important, though it can easily take the form of physical intimacy and warmth. "Healthy" means a sensual sharing that is happy and loving rather than desirous or obsessive, which may leave the sacral chakra thirsty and dissatisfied.
Make sure that every week is dotted with touches of beauty, such as encounters with the arts or nature, as well as deep pleasure and joyous physical movement. As human beings, we are not meant to endure endless and uninterrupted routine, so peak experiences—intense, thrilling, playful, and adventurous—should "disrupt" your root chakra schedule every now and then. Even having free, purposeless breathing space and time is a form of healthy disruption of your routine.
Lastly, life without the joy of creativity—activating your imagination and spirit of inventiveness with passion and excitement— easily depletes your second chakra. This doesn't have to be a complex and purposeful project; even painting or writing a poem just for fun will do.
Solar Plexus Chakra Needs: Power and Confidence
Many are embarrassed to acknowledge the fact that they need to feel powerful. However, this embarrassment leads to nothing but painful suppression. The third chakra tells us that we need to feel inwardly strong, confident, and resilient so that we can withstand all pressures, challenges, and power-tensions in social interactions and personal relationships. Another empowering component is the feeling of having clearly defined goals and destinations. It is essential to know that you are confidently heading toward self-created futures with all your gathered energies and intentions. Succeeding in achieving at least some of your goals is crucial as well.
Although you are surely not meant or able to control all events and situations in life, you do need to feel "on top" of your life, capable of directing it through will and determination. Being unable to creatively influence the events in your life is a state of third chakra deprivation.
Heart Chakra Needs: Emotional Belonging
Our hearts need to engage in a mutual flow of intimate communication with others. You must not regard the longings you experience for external loving feedback as expressions of unhealthy dependency. The experience of deep emotional exchange—not necessarily a romantic one!—is an essential type of nourishment, especially when it includes not only receiving but also your own active giving. We all require the presence of some trusted others in our life, those who make us feel like we emotionally belong and who we can be positively attached to. A sufficient level of harmony in your personal relationships is also imperative, otherwise your home will fail to provide you with a much-needed emotional anchor.
A human heart needs to feel that it has some role and meaning in its contribution to the world. This is what Viktor Frankl recognized in his meaning-based psychology: to achieve psychological wholeness, you need to identify and define your existential meaning. Moreover, you need to feel that your efforts are met with appreciation, so there must be some supportive and affirming environment to recognize that. You try as hard as you can, including when you fall or go astray, and you need others (and yourself) to recognize that your attempts mean something after all.
Throat Chakra Needs: Authentic Self-Expression
It is healthy to wish that your voice is heard and acknowledged and that your authentic self will become visible in the world. Speaking your inner world is an integral part of engaging in human society and culture. When you suffocate your expression and conceal what you genuinely feel or think, you suppress a vital flow of participation and mutual influence. You need to give voice to all that you strongly believe in. This does not imply that everyone should agree with you and respond with applause—actually, the more you dare to express, the more you expose yourself to criticism and resistance. But having even a few people who are ready to listen and to seriously consider your thoughts and feelings is psychologically crucial.
It is essential to express not only ideas and feelings, but also visions that can eventually turn into a tangible reality in the world. It is unhealthy to remain stuck in your inner world, as rich as it may be, and to leave all that hidden potential unrealized. As a part of coming out, you need to strive to give form to inner visions and dreams, whether it is an artistic expression, a business enterprise, or new ways of improving and fulfilling your life and the lives of others.
Third-Eye Chakra Needs: Mental Clarity
To achieve mental lucidity and order, people require states of deep silence. Without silence, our minds develop an overactive and frantic thinking that may even lead to self-destructive modes. Meditation is not really a recommendation; it is a need of the human mind that (quietly) screams from the depths of the sixth chakra.
When your mind is foggy, chaotic, and doubt-stricken, both your body and mind become disoriented and susceptible to unconscious influences. For this reason, you must be able to trust your own capacities of observation and judgment. You need your sixth chakra as a master that can confidently direct your being. It is thus vital to make use of any method that can sustain and promote the sharpness of your mind—from nutrition and supplementation to mental practices.
One of the major sources of mental clarity is the inspiration of great minds. Studying them through books and lectures can encourage you to attain your own peaks of intelligence and intellectual confidence. More than that, studying great minds helps you satisfy your deep sixth chakra need for mental nourishment, which is received through higher forms of knowledge and wisdom.
Crown Chakra Needs: Spiritual Union
The last set of needs, which appears at the top of the chakra hierarchy, is your subtlest, transpersonal needs. As a human being who embodies both divinity and humanity, you will remain hungry at the soul level until you experience oneness with the greater existence. It is the most refined human need to feel this type of belonging, this time not to a social structure, as in the root chakra, but to the universe and even to God.
An inherent part of the human condition is the experience of limitation: being trapped in the small box of a belief system, conditioning and thought patterns, unchanging routine, and even the boundaries of the human body. You need to feel that you can sometimes break free from this box, spread your wings and soar in the open and vast spaces of freedom and limitlessness.
You must know that you have this option of retiring from the world from time to time, and not only in the unconscious form of deep sleep. Otherwise, a growing suffocation can easily creep in, causing an unexplainable suffering and different symptoms of physical, emotional, and mental imbalance.
The last need of the seventh chakra is being able to connect with a part of you that is unshakable and indestructible. Only your eternal spirit can grant you this: the experience that despite all physical fragility and dependency, you are, in essence, a divinity expressing itself through a human form.
It may be confusing at times to embrace all of your needs at the same time. People often find contradictory voices and desires inside themselves, each part pulling in a different direction. For this reason, I have devised the seven-day chakra path (as detailed in my book, 7 Day Chakras). This easy-to-follow way of life ensures that you take care of all these needs in a way that consistently and increasingly balances the chakras and fills you with a growing sense of inner wholeness.