If we could read the secret histories of our enemies, we should find in each person’s life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
To practise Makikh means that you are open to perceiving truly and accurately the needs of others from their position (including an awareness of their start in life, family of origin, childhood, teenage and adult experiences). It includes the deep desire to meet those needs if practical, that is to give Service. It is the basis for looking for “win-win” solutions when in conflict with others. Makikh can also allow us to become aware of what our own true needs are.
Everyone seeks to have their needs met and how they set about meeting those needs is determined by their nature, conditioning, history, environment and available level of will. A knowledge of Makikh enables us to recognise that others are trying to meet their needs even if this means they are acting out an unpleasant or destructive pattern that may bring harm to themselves or others. Makikh lets us see that the unpleasant behaviour of others arises out of the pain of unmet basic needs rather than being an attack on us.
Certain qualities are characteristic of Makikh:- Inner silence and patience which allow others to express their need in their own way and time. The inner silence allows openness and acceptance and through developing such qualities we can access information from our Higher Self. This deep inner silence “washes out” our own busyness and activity so we can become available to intuitive wisdom, enabling us to see the difference between needs and wants. Meeting needs leads to satisfaction whereas wants came from desires and meeting them only leads to more wanting. Needs are necessities of life, and when they are not met, we fail to fulfil our potential, become unhappy and stressed, and get ill.
List of Basic Needs
(adapted from Guy Pettitt)
- Food, liquids, shelter, sleep, oxygen, light, warmth, exercise – all of good quality and in the right amount. Enough money flow, or ideas on how to get it harmlessly. (=access to enough of the earth’s energy. How much is “enough”?)
- To have security, to receive love, (including affection, right touching, tenderness, gentleness, mutual trust with absence of fear), to be cherished, to belong (to family, group, or tribal tradition), to be understood, to be accepted and recognised, to be forgiving, to have self-respect, to have self-esteem (esp. from parents or parent figures.) To give love. To love one’s self, one’s parts, one’s history (especially the Inner Child), one’s potential.
- To accept and respect one’s own body and the bodies of others. To accept feelings and urges as proper and vital, even if choosing to not always act on them. To learn the difference between sexual and affectionate touching, and to be comfortable with either. To accept one’s need for psychological and physical intimacy. To learn what it is to be a man or woman, and how to be with a lover appropriately. To accept one’s sexuality and the sexuality of others. To accept one’s desire to reproduce, protect, and nurture children, or/and to find a channel for one’s creative energies that is wise, loving and satisfactory.
- To grow, to develop our potentials, and to have challenges. To be curious, to find out, to know, to understand, to seek meaning, to achieve progress, to gather the resources that one needs while still recognising the needs of the whole of which one is a part (ecosystem, groups etc.) To choose, to learn how to use time skilfully and wisely. To develop one’s capacity to love. To train oneself in the right use of the will.
- Beauty in sound, form and colour. Fun and humour.
- To speak and to be heard. To choose. To do what one believes is right for oneself if it is harmless to oneself and others. To inquire. To defend oneself. To be just, to be honest, and to be fair.
- To grow. To improve our skills. To practise the Goodwill Patterns:- to learn and practise true humility (Makikh), to learn and practise fairness to all (Kenoota), to learn and practise seeing the good in all things (Khooba), to learn and practise loving self-diagnosis and self-correction of errors in the mind (Abilii), to learn and practise peace skills (Rukha), to learn and practise holistic or synthetic vision (Dadcean b’Libhoun). To learn and practise clear communication. To know one’s deepest values, and to develop a stable hierarchy of values by which to make decisions. To have a meaningful existence: To relate to others, individually, in group, and as a human family, in meaningful ways. To contribute. To relate to something greater than oneself. To recognise a scheme of things in which we have a part – a pattern in which we logically belong, with a purpose to account for the vicissitudes of life. To have a sense of inner life – an “essence” impregnating matter, some subjective, spiritual, “plus” factor that links us with some wider field suggesting continuity. We each know we are part of something larger than our self, larger than the life visible to us. We need to have a loving attitude towards the Source of Life. To have order. To contact one’s own inner source of peace and express the peace and other qualities latent within the Higher Self Harmony. To seek for truth, and to understand ourselves – our composition and why we function as we do. To trust life. There is a deep need to serve others and develop one’s potentials.
Identifying and working with basic needs
Study the list of basic needs and list those which are not being met satisfactorily in your life at present. Choose one of your most important unmet needs (you can repeat this exercise with other needs later).
Now write your answers to the following questions in relation to the need you have chosen to work on.
- What do you do when this need is not met? Describe how you behave e.g. finish the sentence “When my need for X is not met, I….” Include your inner dialogue “I say to myself….”
- What do you feel when this need is not met? Observe your feelings and record them “when my need for X is not met I feel….”
- What do you believe or imagine when your need for X is not met and you are feeling and doing the things you do as a result? Observe your thoughts, images and beliefs and record them. “When my need for X is not met I believe/imagine that….”
- What expectations (or demands) do you have of yourself and others when this need is not met? “When my need for X is not met, I expect that….”
- Write down what you think, feel and do when those expectations are not met. “When my expectation for X from myself or from others is not met, then I….”
- Reflect – Is doing those things getting you what you need? Is it doing so without harm to yourself and others?
- Come up with 3 ideas as to how you could get the unmet need met more wisely. Check with yourself that these new ways are both harmless and balanced. You need to consider the likely effect of each strategy on yourself and others.
Understanding the behaviour of others
Think now of five people, past or present whose behaviour you find annoying, frustrating or downright wrong. The overall person may drive you up the walls or it may be some particular behaviour of theirs that winds you up. Consider particular “types” of people or behaviour that reoccur in your life. Identify what it is about those people and their behaviour that annoys you.
On the basis of this, write down three qualities, actions or behaviours that especially bother you (i.e. righteousness, neediness, attention seeking etc.).
And now ask yourself some questions and answer them -
- Is there a part of me that acts like this also?
- Is there a part of me that admires this behaviour in some way?
- Is there anything about this behaviour that could be “right”?
- Is there a part of me that would secretly like to behave like this, but has never dared?
- Can I see how this person is seeking to get their needs met through behaving like this?
Blessed are those who seek to understand and meet the true needs of others, for they will create prosperity on every level.
My own experience of Makikh
As a child I learnt (as my work as a therapist has taught me most people do), that my needs would not be met and then as a means of handling that, not to know what my needs were. In the various training courses I’ve done in a career spanning 20 years, over and over again my failure to acknowledge and recognise my needs was pointed out to me by the people I trained with. I found this confusing and felt that I was being criticised and undermined.
The occasion when I recognised the relationship between my unmet needs and my reactions to others was on a training course in biodynamic therapy when a woman whom I couldn’t stand talked about her experience of having an unpleasant encounter with a flasher and then not being believed by her parents. I thought she was being precious about her experience, which compared to the stories I had heard as a counsellor specialising in working with abuse survivors was, in my view, trivial. I resented the amount of time she was taking up in the group. I was contemptuous of the other people for taking her pain seriously. I hated her.
What lies beneath is my own experience of my mother putting me out of the room where the adults were talking, so that I was exposed for the second time to inappropriate sexual attentions when I was eight or nine. My failure to validate the impact of this experience, born to some extent of my exposure to devastating stories of ongoing abuse, led to my dislike and rejection of this woman. I still see what I went through as nothing compared to the suffering other people have known, but it remains an incident that did huge damage to my ability to form happy and successful relationships with men.
So when it comes to Makikh, seeking to understand and meet others’ true needs, I’m rather in the remedial class! I’ve been inappropriately meeting what I imagine other people’s needs are and failing into a good game of “martyr” for years.
I believe that it is appropriate to focus on identifying and meeting our own needs healthily and it will naturally lead us to a place where it becomes possible to see that other people, no matter how destructively they behave, are attempting to get valid needs met. The better I understand my own destructive patterns in this light, the more compassion I can show others when they do the same thing.