Empty bowl

Isn’t it true that we feel the most alive, the most real, the most authentic, when we are going through the most challenging of times?  Had a bout with cancer?  Experienced the death of a loved one?  Job loss?  Relationship dissolution?  Career change?  Financial chaos?  Stopping any form of intoxication (drinking, smoking, narcotics, gambling, debting, sexing…)?  If you look at this honestly, the times of the greatest challenge, when life hardly seem worth living, when nothing else really matters, when depression may have set in, when staying in bed sounds as attractive as taking a walk along the beach, these are the times when you and I have been the closest to the true nature of our current incarnation.  It is undeniable.

The path of adult maturation demands that we think for ourselves.  All authority must be assumed within.  Outside authority must be systematically challenged, questioned and discarded.  I must take full responsibility not only for my current life, but for my past life and the resulting behaviors and thought forms I have acquired.   I bring this up because for most of us, we have been lied to from the day we were born.  We have been told what to believe, how to live, what to pursue, and what will bring us happiness.   How is that working for you?  Do you enjoy being a cog in the wheel?  Are you starting to ask questions, and are you beginning to figure things out on your own?  In order to do that, one must assume full self authority.  At some point, giving over your authority to anyone else, or to any group, is anathema to your soul.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  – Steve Jobs

So now, as a think for yourself human being, as you read on, ponder on this.  Is it not true for you that the times of greatest challenge, pain, and despondency were the most authentic experiences you have had?  As I sit with the men in my groups, I can pretty quickly tell who is deep in a challenging life experience.  He is not giddy with excitement about a new car.  He is not talking about his latest sexual conquest.  Nor is he ranting on about his woman and relationship.  No, rather he is humbled.  He is vulnerable.  His heart is flayed wide open.  He is authentic.  He is seeing the world through new eyes.  He is experiencing a death, and in that space, the seeds of a new existence are beginning to spring forth.  He knows in that moment, that the car, the sex and the women, all that stuff, is fairly incidental to what really matters here and now.  It is more the stuff of dreams.  In fact, he is beginning to see that this life is a dream.  He is experiencing the seeds of awakening.  And for the first time, he may be actually living in the current moment, without regrets for the past and fears for the future.

Why is it that when we feel lonely, despondent,  depressed, humbled or vulnerable, we feel life to be the most real and authentic?  Why is it that during these specific periods of time, we also feel that life is meaningless?  This is very interesting.  When we stop listening to the outside authorities telling us what is meaningful, and when we go through some of life’s most challenging moments, we find life to be empty and meaningless.  Let me restate that because this is key.  To be clear, during our most authentic moments, when we feel perfectly clear and present, life feels empty and meaningless.  True?  What do you think this means?  This is a big question, the answer of which can have huge implications on your life.  There is a huge freedom that comes from this seminal realization.

The inner emptiness is the door to God. – Osho

Now, whatever it means to you, this undeniable feeling that life is empty is something most of us do not like.  It is scary.  It gives one a feeling of being unhinged.   It goes against most everything we have been taught.  It is new and different, and most of us will do just about anything not to feel it.   During our men’s events, we refers to this experience, the little voice of emptiness, as the “little bastard” and we want to keep him little and hidden away, because at first he doesn’t feel good inside us.  It feels wrong to be living a life that is empty and meaningless.  As Morpheus showed Neo the stark sterile nature of the matrix, Neo uttered “No, It Can’t Be.”  Well, apparently it can be and it is.  Adults face the music and walk through it.  Children intoxicate and avoid.  Adults experience the freedom of truth.  Children prefer to live in lies.

Think of all the ways we as human intoxicate ourselves, all in an effort to keep the little bastard at bay.  The little bastard reminds us that death is coming.  No matter how we live this life, no matter how well we love, no matter how much we give, nor how magnificently we live, we are going to exit this place.  There is no way around it.   This truth lies at the core of every fear we have.  That is what the little bastard whispers in our ears.  And so, to shut him up, we intoxicate on life.  During most of my life  I had been living in fear, obsessed with intoxicating and avoiding.  I initially felt my little bastard when my first marriage was coming to an end.  I felt miserable, depressed, suicidal, and trapped.  Life did not feel worth living.  What was the point?  I had achieved those things on which I had set my sights.  I had the good job, the wife, the children, the house, all of the things I thought I had wanted.   However, as I came to understand, there is an emptiness in acquisition.  And so came the knock knock on the door of my mind.  The little bastard was ready to break the door down.  I had to get out.  I had to jump into the arms of another woman.  I had to start smoking.  I had to move.  I had to get a new job.   And with all those distractions, I was able to resume life in my own monochromatic dream for another 10 years.  Funny how it all works…simple, yet very clever.

There is an emptiness in acquisition.   After you have achieved something profound,  or purchased a big ticket item, often the response to yourself is something like, “Is that all there is?” or “Is that it?” or “Hmmm?”   There is an emptiness in acquisition.  After fantastic sex and a mind-blowing orgasm, it does not take long for the little bastard to whisper in your ear, “That’s it?”  Notice how you feel after watching the Super Bowl.  Right after the conclusion, there is an immediate let down.  “Was that it?”  There is a letdown after every intoxication, because life does not match up to our illusory expectations.  We strongly desire that life has some meaning, yet the truth of our feelings does not resonate commensurate with our desires.  The little bastard speaks the truth.  Damned that little bastard!

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.  Henry David Thoreau 

A glorious and magnificent life is one that is lived in truth.  Most run from the truth, preferring to live in a sort of dream state rather than make the dedicated effort to understand this amazing life we are privileged to call home.  As we embrace all of life, and not just the “good” stuff, have you noticed how life gets simpler.  Fears abate.  Synchronicity abounds.   Mysteries unfurl.  You begin to understand things from a much larger perspective.  Everything starts to fit into a paradigm which makes sense of all situations.   Unfortunately, you can’t learn this stuff by reading about it.  You must live it.  You must learn to embrace all of it.   You must walk through the fears and expose them for what they are.  The payoff off is immediate and substantial.  Your energy will rise.  You will be humble  You will be vulnerable.  You will be wildly attractive to both sexes.  You will feel and recognize the interconnections of all beings.  Life will become magical.  And all of this is available, right now, just on the other side of this moment,  by simply beginning to look at life honestly and on your own terms.  It is your life.  The invitation is to live it exceptionally.

About the Author

Jay Cradeur Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.