A famous advertising executive once said, “We’re never going to make a commercial that says you’re okay, exactly as you are.” For most people, happiness is just within reach of their next achievement or possession. If you’ve led a so-called successful life then you know from experience – the craving can never be satisfied. It seems like a God-sized hole that can never be filled – it does not need any convincing – just Google happiness and wealth.
Why are we such easy prey to advertisers who convince us that buying this or that will make us happy? It’s because we’ve bought into the narrative self so deeply that we think we are that. And in doing so, we mistake our yearning for the infinite with the thirst for the finite.
Have you heard people say that they feel incomplete, like something is missing in their lives, or that there’s a hole no matter how much they accomplish or how much money they make? Ironically the most successful people who achieve their goals again and again, often come to believe that their hunger can never be filled.
There is a deep longing to go back to our Source, but we are born and bred in the material world. Society’s paradigms engrain this in us and so, we frame this mystical longing into the only language we know – that of the material world. So, we chase after thing, after power, after a person. Inevitably though, there is no satisfaction because the longing has not been satisfied. It continues to manifest conquest after conquest – there is no end to it.
The root cause is the narrative self, that story of identity that we have spun for ourselves. It’s like we wrote ourselves a life script, took on the hero character, and then forgot that we are in the play. It may be hard to believe but awakening is literally like waking up to the fact that we are just playing a character, and all of those immensely important things that we were prioritizing in the play are really just meaningless. As an illustration, that is why people who have near-death experiences suddenly find themselves totally reprioritizing their lives, with a completely different outlook.
A well-being beyond material pursuits fills the hole, or to state it more accurately, brings on the realization that there was never any hole. We already are okay, and deeply connected to the Source. We can not exist without the Source, how can we have ever forgotten that? Against that eternal backdrop, the narrative self is recognized as just an old collection of thoughts, beliefs, and stories. We lose the constant need to protect it, and we see our connectedness to all existence. If we are everything, then what is there to protect, and against what? Fears drop away, including the fear of death.
Earnest Hemingway said, “Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.”
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