Respecting our individual developmental imperatives.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Why do I use Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs so often in my articles? Because it informs us of a universal key to a successful life as an individual and as a culture.

Culture.  We all need one to live.  However, if and when that culture becomes too rigid, too intolerant, it stops being the supportive, nurturing, positive context we all need for whole, healthy lives.  We human beings are complex in our make-up, in how it is that we experience our world, our environment, and in how we, as individuals, want to respond and behave within it.  Each of us, while we do all share an essential common core of basic needs: water, food, air, shelter, love…, as complex beings are also very different in many ways.

We all experience and relate to our world in a somewhat different manner.  Some people are more oriented toward an auditory experience of the world.  Some the visual, or the tactile.  And there are many other aspects of our lives which we all approach in different measure, with varying degrees of passion.  We all have available to us the realities of logic, mathematics, healing/medicine, art, architecture, music, taste/food, physical capabilities; balance, strength, motion, sensuality.  There are so very many aspects of our lives and our world which we all can and do find ourselves drawn to, interested in, to varying degrees.  And they are all equally valid*What we find ourselves naturally drawn to is the path we need, as an individual living organism with both physical and spiritual components.  The path which will lead us to realizing our individual developmental journey in this life.  It is, in fact our developmental imperative.  And, again, they are all equally valid*.

This reality, of individual developmental imperatives, while so common sensical and simple at it’s base, has profound implications for us within our cultures and interpersonal relationships.  Currently, in many cultures, there is an expectation, sometimes a quite rigid expectation, that within the culture we should all follow a highly regimented common path.  This can, and often does, apply within our interpersonal relationships and especially marriages.  It can, and often does demand, that one party accept a subservient relationship to the other.  Often, but by no means always, the subservient role is expected of the female.  It is hard, real hard, (all but impossible?) to get in touch with and express one’s individual developmental imperative in such a situation.  Someone may want to attempt the argument that then the subservient person is experiencing that difficulty then that is their developmental imperative at that moment (to learn it is impossible to experience self-actualization while being rigidly held to someone else’s expectations and rules?).  What do you think?

Within healthy interpersonal relationships we often take on obligations.  Couples take on the obligation of maintaining a household, raising children, working together toward common goals.  Honoring one’s own developmental imperative does not mean being defiantly independent and resisting all cooperative efforts and arrangements in our lives.  It does mean being in touch with and honest with ourselves.  Honoring what we know to be our essential orientations and needs.  When partners recognize this reality within their own and their partner’s life, and when the individual orientations and needs are not incompatible with the needs that exist within the partnership, then all’s well.  As a matter of fact, it’s better than well, it’s excellent.

The only way it gets any better is when partners within a relationship not only recognize and honor one another’s individual developmental imperatives, but take an active interest in seeing one another succeed in expressing them.  

Today in the world at large we see individual developmental imperatives being honored, or neglected, to varying degrees.  Some cultures all but totally reject it.  When a brutally enforced totalitarian expectation of conformity is present, individual developmental imperative hides in fear.  Or there may be martyrs in it’s name.  The individual developmental imperative seems to most often demand our attention by being gently insistent.  However, if continually repressed there can be pressure that builds up behind it.  It can cry out within our being for recognition and expression.

The same is true within families, or interpersonal relationships and marriages.   It can require determination and personal effort in developing knowledge and reason for individual developmental imperative to find fertile ground.  Personal insecurities can get in the way of one’s own ability to express one’s developmental imperative and it can cause us to try to repress it in others.  Within close relationships knowledge of one another combined with trust and reliability are important.

We don’t come into this world “blank slates”.  We arrive with a developmental imperative already well underway.  Our spirit, our mind, our nervous system are already geared for the path that will serve us the best.  And, if we are happy and accomplished at a skill which brings enlightenment, joy, and increased turn-on to life and well-being to others…then it is a win-win-win situation.

Again, there is work involved, and discipline.  Work and discipline are not bad things when applied to the expression of that which we deeply love and seek to honor with our being.  In that context work and discipline feel right and we recognize the value they can add to our achieving that which we desire.

*So why the asterisk, the caveat?  Because there is something we need to acknowledge and honor in order to preserve our individual ability to access, explore and fulfill our lives.  It is really very simple:  we need to acknowledge and honor the basic needs and lives of everyone else as if they were our own.  Which means if we perceive our developmental imperative as requiring us to harm others, to inflict physical, psychological and/or spiritual harm:  mutilation, deprivation, destruction, upon others, then we need to rethink how we are interpreting our perceptions.  It is likely that if we find ourself having such thoughts that they are an expression of anxiety and fear.  Emotions often stemming from, at sometime in our past, our having been harmed, significantly physically, psychologically and/or emotionally mistreated.  And/or quite possibly that we are suffering from a neurological impairment resulting from an insult to our brain.  Possibly from a physical or chemical insult, or resulting from experiencing significant prolonged stress.  What is needed is an experience of pervasive healing:  and that experience will not manifest by harming others.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Play The Victim To Circumstances You Created

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

“Don’t play the victim to circumstances you created.”  I saw that statement on Facebook and it hit me like cold shower.  Wow.  So simple yet so profound.  I would alter it some to read;  “Don’t play the victim to circumstances that you helped to create.”  The latter statement sums up what is going on with the issue of illegal immigration to the U.S.  The U.S., as a nation, is experiencing the consequences of decades of supporting tyrants and greed in Mexico, Central and South America and elsewhere.  Everyone who believes it is too much trouble to  pay attention to politics needs to wake up, politics can and will affect your life!

What do we expect when the U.S. government, and U.S. corporations, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting leaders and methods which render countries unlivable for vast numbers of the populations of those countries?  

We cannot as a people continue to ignore a simple reality;  we need to be working to build a culture which is supportive and nurturing of whole and healthful human life.  And we need to support such efforts elsewhere.  What we are doing now, as a matter of national policy and culture is worshiping the “bottom line”.  It’s all about the money.  We have become a species in which too much of what we, as a species, are engaged in seems hellbent in destroying our environment…and ourselves.  Often or always in the name of corporate and/or personal “profit”.  It seems human kind these days has narrowly defined “profit” to include only monetary or material gain.  This is proving to be a very costly error in reasoning.

In order to correct things one thing is certain, there needs to be balance brought back into our economic reality.  There is an absolute need for us, as a species, to recognize our mutuality and keep each other’s well-being in mind.

Why focus on something so mundane as money rather than lofty sentiments about love and/or spirituality?  Because what is happening with the material wealth we possess is a visible measure of what is happening with our spiritual reality.  No matter all the high platitudes being written and spoken, the truth of our internal state is apparent in our external state.

We usually think of external/worldly change happening as a result of an internal change, however, the reverse can also be true.  Sometimes when we realize the absolute need for an external/worldly change, and act upon that realization, the dynamics precipitate a fulfillment of the change within our psycho-emotional make-up.

So, as we look around at the increasing poverty and suffering of the many on one side of the scale and the extravagant, inordinate wealth of the few on the other, isn’t it obvious what needs to be done?   The only question is how is it going to happen?  Because when things get too far out of balance, the natural tendency toward a viable balance will assert itself, that’s as inherent a reality as gravity.  (As above so below, as below so above.) Will it happen in a caring, thoughtful manner or in a chaotic, traumatic series of events?  Like so much else that happens in this world, it’s all up to us.

July 2017: I need to add that the predatory exploitation of developing and/or “third-world” countries has not been limited to the United States or corporations headquartered in the U.S.  Also, the problem of refugees and immigrants is not limited to the United States.