Have you ever had the feeling that in spite of everything being close to perfect in your life, you still feel a sense of emptiness? Even though we have received a good education, enjoying optimal health, have an interesting friends circle, are financially secure, deeply loved by our friends and family, pursuing a successful career, have the latest gadgets, and the freedom to make our own decisions, yet something seems to be missing.
By nature, to be satisfied we must have certain needs met in our lives., Our first concern is our physiological needs such as food, water, sleep, and shelter. Then we move on to security, which is certainty of our health, finances, and employment. Once we feel secure, we are able to strive to achieve our goals, and then seek a sense of achievement that may include a career or relationship. For many of us, this is the last stage that we strive for because at this point we are too busy dealing with the tasks at the office or managing life at home. Life becomes mundane and the only motivation for us to wake up in the morning is the responsibility of having to dress the kids for school, cook for the family, complete household chores, and get to work. By the end of the day we feel drained by all the tasks that we have performed for others, but nothing for ourselves. This is the reason for our feeling of emptiness, and is often fulfilled by a temporary sense of satisfaction through retail therapy or indulging in unhealthy cravings.
Once our basic personality needs are satisfied, it’s time to fulfill the needs of the soul, which will ultimately remove the feeling of emptiness. The first desire of the soul is to grow and evolve. We can achieve this by participating in activities that will challenge us and expand our minds, for example, this may include participating in a healthy discussion on philosophy, joining a meditation or yoga class, going fishing, skydiving, learning a new language, or even going back to school. When we come across senior citizens who have decided to enroll in classes again or involve in a new activity that doesn’t fit their nature, we are often surprised. They do this simply because their soul is seeking to grow. As soon as we move out of our comfort zone, we begin to challenge ourselves and expand our minds. We start feeling more fulfilled and confident because we are growing. It is difficult to find time for personal development these days, but once we start and experience the joy it brings, we will make it a habit to schedule time everyday only for ourselves.
As we grow, we will automatically sense the second desire of the soul, which is the need to contribute. Very often if you ask people what has made them truly happy, the response would be that they have made a difference in someone else’s life. The soul has a desire to offer its abilities to a cause larger than itself. We can easily find a cause that inspires us, and devote our time, knowledge, skills, and talents for at least an hour every week. This act of contribution brings a sense of meaning and significance to our lives, and removes the feeling of emptiness.
There has never been a better time in history when we have had so much easy and affordable access to knowledge, classes, or events. All we have to do is decide what we want to learn, and dedicate a few hours each week to that activity. This is also the greatest time to offer our support and skills to a cause, as life is becoming more challenging for everyone, and those who are currently contributing need our support.
If we are feeling the sense of emptiness, let us seek to fill it with something of value that will not just satisfy our personality needs, but make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. Let us consciously expand our knowledge, awareness, and talents by moving out of our comfort zone by devoting time to our personal development, as well as contributing to making a difference in the lives of others. As we nourish and serve the purpose of the soul, our dormant talents, creativity, and sense of awe will come alive, which will ultimately lead to a more fulfilled and joyous life.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy, I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Tagore