We all experience that vague, nagging sense of lack. It’s the feeling that something is missing, though we don’t know what that something is. So we try to fill the void with accomplishments, lovers, possessions, alcohol, religion, food, volunteer work, or what have you. They might bring temporary satisfaction, but ultimately the emptiness returns. So, what is it that we are really missing?
Beingness. The quiet, ineffable state of simply being. We’ve all experienced it, while either engrossed in an activity or relaxing with no thoughts. At these times nothing else is necessary; we are whole, satisfied, and blissful.
But we often lose our beingness. We get hurt or distracted by people or things. We react with anger, fear, desire, or resentment. We no longer feel content to just be; now we feel the need to attain something, whether it be an experience, a possession, an accomplishment, praise, or love. We are in a state of lack, of not-enough. Even if we do attain our goal, the satisfaction won’t last for very long because the thought that we are not-enough remains. No matter how much we attain, we cannot be satisfied because what we need is not external acquisitions but the feeling of completeness. This can be experienced only as being, not as having.
Why is it possible to lose our beingness? Because it is constantly with us. We get so used to it that we lose awareness of it. It’s just like breathing: since we do it constantly, we are not aware of it. Our beingness is thus unconscious, so we live unconsciously. Unconsciousness is what allows us to be distracted and reactive. With no sense of beingness, we feel like nothing, and so we look outside ourselves for a sense of fulfillment, of being alive.
How can we remain aware of our beingness? By dropping our ego. The ego is what causes us to compare ourselves to others, worry about our future, regret our past, think of ways to manipulate things for our own benefit, resent or criticize others, and inflate ourselves with self-importance. These thought patterns take us out of being and thrust us into the stressful world of mental constructs. These constructs cause fear and anger because we are afraid that they will be shown to be false (which they are). Without the ego’s shenanigans, we can simply be.