The final step of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is self-actualization. This is the fifth article of the You need a Reality Check series. To read the previous articles please click the links below.
This final step is hard to put into words because it is up to personal feeling. Once a person has confronted the ego, as in the last step, said person is believed to be enlightened. This final step has many different names depending on the culture and the time the enlightened experience occurred.
Christians call this oneness with God. Buddhist call this nirvana. Hindus call this the Atman. People of science call this bliss. Everyone is using the same definition, just different terminology.
Self-actualization is not a physical place but a state of mind. This state has been called bliss and oneness with God because it is believed to be the place of complete understanding. Once a person is enlightened, he or she has become awaken. Writer Eckhart Tolle gives his audience a much clearer and deeper explanation of this awakening in his book A New Earth.
Although self-actualization is the final step, there is a process within the state. The process goes as follows: discontent, suffering, knowledge and enlightenment. Examples of this can be seen by many mythical and physical truth seekers.
Jesus was discontent with the state of the world He lived in. He suffered being an outcast and the mental dis-ease. He acquired his knowledge through the word of God and by seeking out the truth personally. He reached enlightenment and spread the word of love throughout his area. Buddha was discontent to see poverty. He suffered emotionally and physically by giving up His possessions. He spoke to others and looked within for knowledge. Finally, He reached Enlightenment. Albert Einstein was discontent with the world’s lack of knowledge. He said “I want to know God’s thoughts.” He suffered being an outcast, being looked down upon and being ridiculed. Not to mention that constant struggle of using math and science to explain such an abstract idea. Once he gained the knowledge that was required he started having visions of time and space being one. He finally reached enlightenment when he discovered E=MC^2.
You may also be on the path of enlightenment. The fact that you are reading this article and have gotten this far is proof that you are discontent in some way and you are seeking the truth.