Getting distracted by the world is a big factor in losing our true selves. We desire and chase everything from possessions to money to relationships to fame to accomplishments. We then become addicted to getting them, and feel hurt or empty when we don’t get them. The more addicted we become, the weaker we are. We might complain that “life is not going my way”. We are reduced to whining crybabies who can’t stand to be without instant gratification. Something as simple as a scratch on our car, or not owning the latest technology, can rattle us. Meanwhile there are people all over the world living without electricity or water or transportation. They are more in touch with their true selves and hence more at peace.
Consumerism is rampant. People rush to buy things they don’t need in order to feed their inner emptiness. Soon after getting a possession, the emptiness returns, so they buy something else. The same is done with food, alcohol, and drugs (including legal ones such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers). The hunger will never go away as long as the true self remains abandoned.
As long as we anesthetize our inner emptiness with worldly stuff, it will persist. We need to stop gaining the world while losing our soul. It is time to cease this frantic activity and get in touch with who we are. This is the only way to inner peace. When we start to get in touch with who we are, we will find that our desire for externals will diminish.
Whenever you go through any kind of suffering, remember that suffering is not an obstacle along your journey; your suffering is part of your journey. There is no growth when you get everything you want and never suffer. It feels good for the time being, but it leaves you spiritually small and weak. It keeps you addicted to everything going your way, and you then suffer when even the slightest thing happens differently from the way you want it to. That suffering is your wake-up call. That is why it is part of your journey.