The Need to Be Needed

Recently, the Dalai Lama published an OpEd piece in the New York Times that caught my attention, although that's not peculiar as I regard him as the most sane person on the planet. He wrote that we all have the need to be needed. Infants need caregivers as a matter of life or death, but as they grow into childhood and beyond, if they feel useless or unseen, an acute pain will grown in their hearts and minds. At the other end of the spectrum, the elderly often feel pushed aside, not appreciated for their life experience, and discarded even while the body yet breathes life.

Buddhist philosophy exhorts the individual to perform actions to benefit all beings, with the inference that at our best we are "givers" and not "needers." Yet, the Dalai Lama pointed out the pathos of human existence. Unless we understand that we are an vital part of the universal sphere, that we are very much needed to create a kinder reality, it is like being cast out to sea in a boat with no rudder.

In short, we need each other desperately. The parts are more than the sum of the whole and to be whole, all of us has a part in this drama called "life."




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