Needs are energy that flow through us. Although usually not as powerful as emotions to get a felt sense of, they can be connected to with mindfulness. By bringing a need into our awareness and connecting with how important that need might be for us, we can generate feelings associated with the need, such as joy when an important need is met, or grief when one is not met as we would like.
By using our mind to generate the sense or image of a need, we can connect to that sense and cultivate increased energy through our mindful awareness, through our empathetic noticing.
Sometimes we cannot connect to a universal need. It may be buried too deep in our consciousness. But we can cultivate its energy in a similar way by first, “faking it until you make it.” Since universal needs are by definition within us all, the need can be found in a sense by blowing some air into it, or by associating it with something where the need is more obvious.
For instance, someone may have lost connection to their need for community. Maybe the person is shy and so to protect themselves over the years they convinced themselves they do not need community. Now they have become aware of how alone they feel. Slowly at first, the person can try to “feel” what it would be like to have community. They can imagine a scenario where they were in community and they were held by that community. With their imagination they will start to connect to their need for community, which was probably driving the feelings of loneliness.
Often times when we first become “re-aware” that a universal need–especially a significant one–has been buried and unmet for a long time, we may feel grief and sadness, or joy and gratitude, and everything in between. Whatever may come up, it probably will be powerful.