The world in our time is full of empty bodies. People are in constant pursuit of how to fill the perceived “void within”. We have separated ourselves from the world. Yet without us it cannot be called the world it is called the earth (Bible: Genesis 1:26).We exist in pieces rather than whole; constantly seeking for other piece in order to “feel” complete. If we don’t get the “other piece” in money, success, or status, we will be looking for it in other people: in relationship, love.
The social networks are abuzz with activities of people connecting. A teenager sends 10 short messages every ten minutes. She simply cannot be solitude for minutes (Deresiewicz, 2009). According to her we live solely in connection to others. We seek knowledge “outside there” to help us discover ourselves. The Greeks consulted the sacred oracle at the temple of Apollo in Delphi (Eckhart, 2005). Today, motivational speakers are screaming positive attitude while preachers have reinvented the spiritual wheel in a bid to change “our thinking”. Well all that has not availed much .In Africa, people visit witchdoctors in almost as much as they seek a pastor’s counsel. In other words we are disconnected from ourselves. This makes us exist in two forms, which is a fallacy-hiding from ourselves.
So what can fill this “perceived void?” I guess I should be answering the question what “perceives” the void in the first place. Because this is the uniting factor; which can see void. It is that part of us that can “see” void. Well we cannot see void, can we? If we do then we make it tangible by giving it a form. But what is the form of void? It sounds abstract doesn’t it? Just hold on.
Emotion, success, failure, bad or good have always come and gone, that is, if you have lived a few years, you have seen them somehow. When we are asked who we are we limit ourselves to stuff about us; the content. It is not strange to define Donald Trump as a billionaire. To my understanding, we are not talking of Mr. Trump, but rather his billions. And yes there were times he never had the billions but he was still Mr. Trump. We were poor before we were poor before we became rich yet we existed. We lost our loved ones but we still continued living. We did some “bad things” but some how we are here. So does it mean we can exist without emotions success, failure, good or bad? Yes we can. These are our contents, our needs, and our creation. Which one is important; us or our needs? If we don’t exist then we won’t have any need! In fact, we define success, failure, good, or bad. They don’t define us. Since when did the creator become a subject to his creation? Never!
Our ego always gets gratified when we get all we want. So the needs only satisfy our ego. But we can live without the two: ego and needs. Whatever satisfies the ego does not satisfy us. So what satisfy us or rather who is Us? Me is the man that outlives pain and suffering; that, which is not inflated by ego because of the success.
The Contradiction; A Better and Beautiful Me band the Paradox
One of my biggest struggles since teenage hood has been financial limitation. I looked around as our neighbor took his children to stool. I hated the fact that we could be so poor. Deep down, I despised these kids. Really they must have denied us something, now that they own a lot of stuff.
Everyday their parents would wake them up early in the morning: to milk, go to the shamba (plantation), feed the cows, before going to school. On the other hand, we would wake up late and spend time of the day working in their shamba (plantation) while ours die of weeds. During harvest we would go work in their many shambas for a bag of maize as the wage. So I started collecting the remains (corns/maize) from their shambas and selling in the nearby market to supplement our income. Soon I would have clothes for Christmas, buy books and helped my parents pay part of my school fees.
Lillian, one of the neighbor’s daughters however, challenged me. “Leung, why don’t you clear one of your shambas (plantation) and plant it?” That was it. I was in grade nine then. We ended up with surplus, bought our own bulls and cleared more shambas. What’s more I am in college courtesy of the income from shambas. My parents were amazed at my determination. Yes I was determined to disapprove our rich neighbors.
I passed the final examination while Lillian did not. When I asked the professor what he could do to assist. “It is possible but she has to pass the entrance exams”, he said. I decided to conduct her remedial classes and provide necessary material she needed. But my parents could hear none of this. They even banned her from our home since her parent was staying in the countryside. It seemed the best time to revenge, my parents must have been thinking so. And yes my mind dimly thought of the same, but I was not going to bulge.
Just in time I realized that I had read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and was in page 216 of the New Earth. For sure some of Tolles theories were infiltrating me. I was becoming more conscious of my action. I guess my subconscious was dismantling the ego and establishing myself who sees people and not their limitations
New Earth point of view has influenced my understanding of people. How could I hate such kind of a person as Lillian? Well, I was brought up knowing that rich people are thieves! Even if they haven’t stolen from us (we didn’t have anything to steal anyway), they had stolen from other people (mind conditioning). I did resent them with every bit of me because I concluded that all rich people plus their children were bad (treating people the way you imagine they are treating you).
It is the paradox of life. Those whom I hated gave my life a meaning. The kindness of strangers stopped Dorianne Laux from killing herself “A woman once held the door open and waited for me to pass through.... a handicapped lad lifted his almond eyes and smiled at me. They always found me”, seem even to be waiting (Housden, 2004).
Action Points in Activating Me
It is now obvious that we supersede our needs. Knowing me gives me the power to control what happens around me and not being a puppet to situational changes. I am not a product of crafted spiritual beliefs. This means that I am not a creation of religious dogmas. If you were not there won’t be religion. Don’t be deceived, no one can tell you who you are. It would just be another concept of you (Eckhart, 2005).
Give to the world what you think it is withholding from you. It always seem like we don’t have anything to give. Well we have a lot because the power to acquire is provoked by the ability to give the little we have. When I felt that Lillian’s family denied us the opportunity to develop, I thought it would be prudent help without making her feel that she owed me anything. So today smile to a stranger, hug someone passionately. Do this continually without expecting the same from anyone. You will be surprised because it will come back to you in away you never expected. Be open-minded. These powers are both intrinsic and innate. Everybody has something to give.
Don’t allow circumstances to determine your happiness. When J Krishnamatur told his followers that his secret is never minding, he simply meant was that he was not subject to situation (Eckhart, 2005). Moreover they fluctuate. Rather align yourself with now in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Failing to align ourselves with Now means we are either seeing now as a means to an end, an obstacle or an enemy. This view denies us the fulfillment of life because we are constantly seeking an ideal life, different from the present one. This is another creation of the mind which only serve to satisfy the ego (which we need to kill anyway), which we have seen is not us (Me). I decided to ignore my parents view because I found it rather old as well as there was no way they were going to sop doing something that bringing me satisfaction as this. In fact, I had told them that my hard work attitude had been ignited by Lillian’s question.
This present moment is inseparable from the present life. Once we have accepted that fact, life become favorable, people become of help and situations cooperate. This must keep going on until our ego is removed from the picture. The poet asserts in Ecstasy. “On a chilly dark, when wind and snow are weeping outside and I picture the entire world having peace and at peace and all and sundry are comfortable and temperate (Housden, 2004)”. Yet we must come out of this wishful thinking and start living this life today.
What could be truer than this?
Every man (woman) has the good “Them”. So focus on them, not their content. We has a lot to give to as well as to receive from others. The value of our giving will largely depend on who gives. If it is our ego that gives, then we would want to be honored among the most charitable people and if it receives we would want to be announced as the most deserving or most qualified to receive.
No one can claim to know me than I do myself. They only know about me. What they say is therefore not who I am but rather their perception of me. Therefore I can only maximize their potential by never minding them. By so doing they won’t try changing me and neither will I try changing them. My happiness is not dependent on situations. No situation is permanent but my happiness is. I am the sole custodian of my destiny.