Seven Essential Needs

From The SpiritWiki

The Seven Essential Needs are the seven needs the Physical Unit is required to meet in order to grow, develop, and finally achieve and maintain strong Connection. [1] The seven essential needs are listed below.

Syncretic Terms

Seven Essential Needs > Cognitive Interests

Related Terms

Human Development : Seven Essential Needs > Active Need Fulfillment, Attachments, Basic Needs, Defense Mode, Deficit Mode, Dependent Need Fulfillment, Destruction of Attachments, Disconnection, Ego Modes, Growth Mode, Hierarchy of Basic Needs, Hierarchy of Cognitive Needs, Realistic Empowerment, Seven Toxic Needs, Toxic Socialization

Video Discussion


Seven Essential Needs

Essential needs are equivalent to "basic needs" in that they represent an "an energizing state that, if satisfied, conduces toward health and well-being but, if not satisfied, contributes to pathology and ill-being." [2] The Seven Essential Needs are:

The Basic Needs

  1. Physiological Needs -- We all have needs for food, water, air, clothing, exercise, sleep, freedom from pain. [3]
  2. Emotional Needs — We all have needs for unconditional support, acceptance, and inclusion. We all need to feel we are wanted and connected to something. We all need to feel that we belong.
  3. Cognitive Needs -- We all have a biological drive to know and understand the world.[4] [5]The need to be in touch with reality. This truth is self-evident and expressed at a very early age. “Mommy, why is the sky blue?” “Daddy, why are you angry all the time?”
  4. Psychological Needs[6] -- We all need to feel good about ourselves, to to feel powerful and efficacious, to have high self esteem, to "have faith in ourselves," [7]to successfully manifest or will/Intent in creation, to create the world we want. We all have a need to express[8] and unfold.
  5. Environmental Needs The need for safe, secure, nurturing, and aesthetically pleasing environments. Safe home, safe spaces, secure finances, consistency, and stability. Safety includes the absence of assault of any kind, including physical assault (e.g., spanking), emotional assault, and psychological assault. Stability includes the emotional consistency of stable parental relationships. Financial stability includes resources sufficient to remove the anxieties and uncertainties of survival.

The Higher Needs

  1. Need for Alignment with Highest Self - in Humanistic psychology, self-actualization.[9] Presuming the existence of a “soul,” or a spark of Consciousness that exists independent of the physical body, we need to align our bodily ego, our body’s self or Bodily Ego, with this higher level our Self, our Spiritual Ego.
  2. Our biological programmed Need for Connection with family, Spirit, Highest Self, the ancestors, and God.
    • It is not enough to actualize our highest self, we need to go beyond and actually make a strong connection with this inner Self.
    • This is a common desiderata of human spiritual systems. In Transpersonal Psychology, transcendence; in Christianity, Islamic, salvation; in Buddhism, enlightenment; etc.) In Transpersonal Psychology, this is known as transcendence; in Christianity and Islamic traditions, this is known as salvation, “Entering the Kingdom,” etc. in Buddhism and Easter traditions, enlightenment). In Sociology, this notion is expressed in a Christian form in Troelstech’s conception of mysticism as the “perfection of the spiritual life” and “unity with the divine” (Steeman, 1975). Evelyn Underhill points directly to this need when she says that we have an “innate tendency...towards complete harmony with the transcendental order, whatever the theological forumula under which that order is understood” (Underhill, 2002). Jung referred to this as the experience of the numinosum (Jung, 1938, p. 6).
    • In Vedanta, this is the highest need, the most " outstanding urge in people is the search after the abiding spirit or God. There is an inherent desire in every man to experience the abiding spirit, and until he reaches that goal there is no hope for real peace of mind."[10]

Need for Love

When unmet, the need for love, positive regard, and attention can become desperation, and be exploited by disreputable or mentally ill actors. See for example Layton who cites Jim Jones attention and manipulative praise as psychological reasons for her toxic attachment to the Jonestown cult. [11]

Esteem/Power Needs

Esteem power needs would be related to Habermas's "emancipatory interests." "At a more abstract level, the emancipatory interest involves liberating men from historically contingent constraints through a process of 'self reflection'. " [12]

Connection Needs

George Simmel speaks of " religiousness as an inner state or need of man..."[13]

Underhill says "Broadly speaking, I understand it to be the expression of the innate tendency of the human spirit towards complete harmony with the transcendental order; whatever be the theological formula under which that order is understood."[14]

Einstein says... "There is a mystical drive in man to learn about his own existence...the dignity of man depends not on his membership in a church, but on his scrutinizing mind, his confidence in his intellect, his figuring things out for himself, and above all his respect for the laws of creation" (Hermanns, 1983: np)

The satisfaction of the seventh essential need - connection. "Only the experience of one's divinity in a non-ordinary state of consciousness can ever fulfill our deepest needs"[15]

Grof also notes that "Full satisfaction comes ultimately from the experience of...our own divinity, not the pursuit of material goals of any scope or kind [16].

"It is now becoming increasingly evident that a craving for transcendence and a need for inner development are basic and normal aspects of human nature." (alignment and connection) [17]

Huxley (PP) notes that Totalitarian regimes exploit humanity's need for "unity" (read Connection) by "by means of a philosophy of political monism, according to which the state is God on earth, unification under the heel of the divine state is salvation, and all means to such unification, however intrinsically wicked, are right and may be used without scruple."

St. Teresa of Avila notes speaks of a need for actualization and connection suggesting that is "quenches thirst." "Oh, my Lord, if only one could be plunged so deeply into this living water that one’s life would end! Can that be? Yes: 34 this love and desire for God35 can increase so much that human nature is unable to bear it, and so there have been persons who have died of it."[18]


  1. Sosteric and Ratkovic. “Seven Essential Needs,” 2018.
  2. Ryan, R. M., and E. L. Deci. “Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being.” American Psychologist, 2000. p. 74.
  3. "But poverty, though it does not prevent the generation, is extremely unfavourable to the rearing of children. The tender plant is produced, but in so cold a soil and so severe a climate, soon withers and dies. " Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations - An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Bantam Classics, 2003.
  4. "the most important characteristics of psychological health was simply the ability to perceive clearly-that is, to see the truth, to penetrate falsehood, phoniness, hypocrisy, and so on." Maslow, Abraham. “Eupsychia—The Good Society.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1, no. 2 (1961): p. 3.
  5. Habermas's provides a similar conception for cognitive needs in Cognitive Interests Scott, John P. “Critical Social Theory: An Introduction and Critique.” The British Journal of Sociology 29, no. 1 (1978): 1. p. 2
  6. Thanks to Egle for pointing out the centrality of freedom and its relevance as an essential need. Note also that Abraham Maslow related power to self-esteem and self-respect in Maslow, Abraham. “Eupsychia—The Good Society.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1, no. 2 (1961): 1. p. 2.
  7. Akhilananda, Swami. Hindu Psychology: Its Meaning in the West. Routledge, 1948. p. 80
  8. Expression is identified as an emotional need in Akhilananda, Swami. Hindu Psychology: Its Meaning in the West. Routledge, 1948.
  9. The term self-actualization, originally coined by Kurt Goldstein, was picked up by Abraham Maslow. For Maslow, the need for self-actualization is the need to be creative, to express one’s essence and desire, and to do what one is “fitted for.” As he says, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man [sic] can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization” (Maslow, 1943, pp. 382). This is all true, but in LP psychology we would understand self-actualization as actualization/expression of Self, with a capital "S".
  10. Akhilananda, Swami. Hindu Psychology: Its Meaning in the West. Routledge, 1948. p. 51-2.
  11. Layton, Deborah. Seductive Poison. New York: Anchor Books, 2010.
  12. Scott, John P. “Critical Social Theory: An Introduction and Critique.” The British Journal of Sociology 29, no. 1 (1978): 1. p. 2
  13. Simmel, George. Essays on Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. p. 3.
  14. Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. New York: Dover Publications, 2002.
  15. Laszlo, Ervin, Stanislav Grof, and Peter Russell. The Consciousness Revolution. Las Vegas: Elf Rock Productions, 1999. p. 67.
  16. Laszlo, Ervin, Stanislav Grof, and Peter Russell. The Consciousness Revolution. Las Vegas: Elf Rock Productions, 1999. p. 8.
  17. Grof, Christina, and Stanislav Grof. The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide to Personal Growth Through Transformational Crises. Penguin, 1990. p. 31.
  18. St. Teresa of Avila. The Way of Perfection. New York: Dover Publications, 2012.