The pyramid symbolizes harmonious unity within ourselves and with the environment in which we live. It symbolizes human development. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is depicted in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization – the insight or fulfilment of one’s talents and potentialities as drive which is present in everyone at the top. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behaviour. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so on. The shape of pyramid symbolizes that a person is in harmony with himself when his highest goal of life is achieved.
Man’s needs are never fulfilled and he is never satisfied. When deficit need more or less gets satisfied, it will go away, and man gets engaged in activities towards meeting the next set of needs that are yet to be satisfied. These then become most important needs. However, growth needs continue to be felt and may even become stronger once they have been engaged. For the attainment of lasting harmony, a person must successfully complete all the lessons of human development. The fact is man is trapped in the “need cycle”.
The fundamental needs of human are physiological needs: hunger, sleep, thirst, and sex; then comes safety needs: clothes and shelter. After safety need comes social needs: affiliation, belonging, connection in society because man is a social animal. Self-esteem reflects an individual’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is the decision made by an individual as an attitude towards the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself. And, lastly the zenith of one’s life is self actualization – the insight of fulfilment of life. So, a man is always on run to fulfil his physical, security, love and friendship and esteems needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire on fulfilling the secondary or higher level needs.
Maturity comes only when a person goes through all stages of lifecycle and one faces all good and bad situations in each stage. People whom we feel have a high level of maturity possess a breadth of life experience. It does not depend on age alone it depends on experience along with reflection. When reflection happens simultaneously while experiencing something, it enriches the experience. The longer you wait to reflect on an experience, the less valuable the reflection becomes.
The pyramid always symbolises bigger consciousness of strength and energy. At the spiritual level the pyramid is a symbol for the integration of self-and soul. The base of the pyramid stands for the body, the sides show the spiritual endeavours and the top point symbolises the harmonious union of the human with the God. In all of us, there are two aspects. There is our real inner, divine self and there is also the body and intellect which gives us a separate egoist entity. With practice of spirituality, we realise that we cannot limit ourselves to the body and intellect, but merge with the Universal Consciousness.
What makes a pyramid so powerful is its ability to channel or collect energy from the higher realms of the stars, the planets and the Universe and deliver it down to earth. The bottom of the pyramid stands for a firm, earthy foundation, whereas the pointed top represents being able to reach into higher area of consciousness.
All of us are capable to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization. Unfortunately, many get bogged down and disrupted by failures to meet lower level needs. We get all sorts of experiences including divorce, loss of a job, illness, getting cheated, loss of money and many other problems which can cause fluctuation between levels of the hierarchy. Therefore, not everyone will move through the hierarchy in an identical or similar manner. Each individual moves back and forth between the different types of needs according to situations in his/her life.
Spirituality helps in broader sense; to embrace diverse modes to connect with reality beyond oneself, it makes one resourceful to tackle all ups and downs of life. Despite of one’s belief or non-belief in God, there is power in recognizing the numerous ways in which one is connected to the fabric of life. Through prayer, meditation, reflection, appreciation of the natural world, being helpful to others, or fostering deeper relationships with others, we are able to refill ourselves from sources of the environment, Mother Nature. Spirituality gives patience to pause, listen deeply, and notice the countless ways in which our bodies, minds and souls can be replenished, each moment of our lives.
Self actualization is a process which develops as one grows. People get jumbled between spirituality and self-actualization. Spiritually, self actualization is evolving into a knowing that brings one closer to an understanding of how to live in the world with a sense of wholeness and attaining the inner peace.