A Letter to Neale: Can we really ‘need nothing’?

Reader Question:

Dear Neale... In your books God states that we need nothing. It's a wonderful idea. When we need nothing then we are truly free of cares and anxiety. We have peace of mind. But is it realistic? Yes, I can see how we need nothing to exist. Life continues forever. I have no fear of death. From all accounts death is a wonderful experience. But there are many more horrible things than death like slowly starving and living homeless, which you've had experience with. How can we gain that wonderful feeling of needing nothing when we know that the body needs certain things in order to avoid suffering?

Your friend, Ned.

Neale Responds

Dear Ned: try settling for needing "almost nothing." Obviously, an argument can be made (you've just made it) for humans needing certain things in order to avoid suffering. But how much? That is the question. How much do we really need? Looking closely at this question can give you a brand new perspective on life. It can change your perception of your daily experience.

So settle for needing "almost" nothing, Ned, and see if this doesn’t bring you one step closer to God’s truth. The fact is, we need nothing to survive, as you point out. Now if you want to exist in a certain form or in a particular way, you may have it constructed that you “need” certain conditions to exist in order to do that. I think that you will find, however, that those conditions are minimal. And the older I get, Ned, the more minimal they become—makes me wonder how I could have thought for all those years that all those things were “necessary” for me to be “happy.”

I would also add this, Ned: "Suffering" and "pain" are not the same thing. Pain is an objective experience of physical and/or emotional discomfort. Suffering is your thought about it. If you are okay with whatever pain you are having, if you are at peace with it, so to speak, you will not suffer. You will experience the pain, yet it will not have to be "suffered," but only experienced. The two are not the same thing. Ask any woman who has joyfully given birth.

This is true of both physical and emotional pain. One can experience the pain of loss, for instance, without suffering. The pain is good. It’s a good thing. It informs us of our humanity; it tells us what means something to us. Yet we do not have to suffer because of the pain, but simply feel it. Feeling the pain and allowing it to “be”—without resisting it, but noticing it, honoring it, and letting it simply be there, telling us whatever it is telling us about ourselves—is a spiritual practice that can heal and end all suffering.

With Hugs & Pure Love,


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