Feeling deficient as a person is one the most painful of human experiences. Emotionally it can feel like bleeding from the inside. So excruciating is this experience that we tend to want an exit.
A common exit strategy is to try and fix ourselves. If we believe we are deficient, it is obvious that we are bound to want to do something about it. And here lies a trap. Deficiency is a belief we attach to the painful sense of inner absence. Trying to fix ourselves will not alter the absence. It will instead reinforce a gnawing sense of agitation in our mind and body as our psyche tries to claw its way out of that absence.
In truth, there is nothing to fix. Nothing is broken here. The feeling of absence is a messenger, letting us know that we are disconnected from ourselves. In other words, the absence is a portal to finding ourselves: a portal to connection and to inner peace.
Sounds good, yes? There is, however, an obstacle to the portal, one that happens to be the most challenging obstacle to inner peace: hatred. Hatred is what we meet at the threshold to the portal.
As we approach the sense of absence, we feel the pain of disconnection from ourselves. So intense is this pain that we tend to want to annihilate it. We do this through distraction, numbing ourselves or attacking what is inside or outside of us that we believe has caused the pain. Annihilation is hatred in action. But acting on hatred doesn’t solve our painful sense of deficiency.
In the body, hatred feels like agitation and frustration. In the mind, hatred manifests as obsessive thoughts spinning around. The overall experience of hatred is one of internal noise—harsh, rough, prickly, and painful. Overall, it it the antitheses of peace. But in order to reach inner peace, we have to go by the way of what peace is not. We have to go by the way of this noise.
We go by the way of the noise by becoming intimate with the sense of agitation in our bodies. We sense right into the discomfort. So much so that we lose the idea of what is happening to us. We lose the idea that we are deficient and we lose the idea that we need fixing. If we can then allow ourselves to feel into the absence, we lose the desire to annihilate. Our hatred dissolves and along with it the agitation in our psyche.
Feeling into the absence is a way out of suffering. The pain we feel in the absence is just showing us tears in our psyche—we are torn from ourselves. When we follow the tears, they lead us back to ourselves. When we get there, we are back to wholeness, back to feeling complete.
Photo by Anna Norris
Originally posted on Holstee’s Mindful Matter, the best place to read stories and tips on how to live life fully.
Dr. Geoff Warburton is a specialist in love and movement meditation. He enjoys baking bread and dancing whenever possible, often at the same time.