Being satisfied can fulfill us. Feeling dissatisfied can cause us to experience an emptiness in our hearts. But what do we mean when we talk about satisfaction and dissatisfaction? Well, this is dependent primarily upon the internal values that we cultivate at any point in time.
When we are driven by material and superficial values only, we find ourselves oscillating between the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of being, or not being, healthy, beautiful, rich, elegant, famous, and everything related to those desires: comfort, social influence, privileges, recognition, personal and professional success for instance. In such cases, outward appearances and material possessions directly affect our levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and our corresponding thoughts, feelings, and reactions, create mental and astral constructs that tie in with the ‘world mental images’ often reflected by the media and social networks.
Would it be totally reprehensible to wish for such ‘satisfactions’? After all, beauty, art, cultural maturity, material wealth, comfort and professional success are all necessary, so our primal consciousness tells us.
From a personal cultural perspective, we often desire attributes that are outside of our reach, and are not necessarily attainable. Do we not try to be ‘good and perfect’ people? But rather, is not the reality that we find ourselves oscillating between the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of being, or not being, sufficiently intelligent, good, loving, trustworthy, efficient people, even serious spiritual seekers? These desires make us avoid, at all costs, being caught on the ‘bad’ side of this tenuous line, a line imposed by cultural traditions and so easily defended by our own ethical and rational consciousness.
If we look more closely, we can see however, that the two arcs of this pendulum do in fact share similarities; the momentum that swings us between being satisfied and dissatisfied is driven by our desires, whether these are based on possessions, appearances, or just plain vanity to appear greater than what we really are. But for those who long for a spiritual life, the warning resounds: be careful! The desires of a renewed soul, of a higher consciousness, cannot be equated with the desires of the ego.
When we gain the right insight, we come to realize that we are ensnared in our own mental expectations and emotional desires, and in the majority of cases they only bring us dissatisfaction.
And what drives this dissatisfaction? Our emptiness, our lack of spirituality, the gap between what we are and what we are meant to be.
Often, in our desperation to escape the emptiness, we end up losing ourselves even more.
We try to fill the void with alcohol, drugs; we become workaholics; we travel the world seeking fulfillment outside of ourselves; we immerse ourselves in our love for our family and friends; or we throw ourselves into ancient religious dogmas trying to purify our personal ethical and moral norms by adopting speculative spiritual concepts. There is no end to what people will do to try to fill this void.
But let us presume that we possess a deep spiritual longing and that we genuinely seek the true meaning of our existence. Then we also come to understand that this endless attempt to fill the emptiness within us cannot be achieved through these endeavors.
Drugs and alcohol take away our lucidity. Love forms attachments, which cause us frustrations. A lifetime of devoted work sees us pushed aside by the next generation eager to prove themselves. Years of travelling the world only brings us back to our starting point to realize that we are still ourselves. Religious dogmas prove to be empty of substance and no longer feed our souls. Ethical norms, in this time of so many transformations, divide the traditional from the innovative. And what of the countless books filled with spiritual ideas? Our heads are overflowing with affirmations that struggle with contradictions, while our hearts are empty of true feelings. But why is this so?
We walk upon a road ruled by the illusions of good and evil, the transitory and the impermanent. We struggle to keep the pendulum on the side of ‘goodness’, but invariably it swings back to its opposite.
Then it is possible that because our expectations are thwarted, we fall into a depression, we experience anxiety, and because we feel we cannot cope with these negative emotions, we resort to chemical medications in order to help us face the day.
All because we wish to escape the emptiness!
There is a link between when our minds project an image that anticipates an expectation, and the stimulation of the desire for this to come to reality. Then, when the desire fails, or is only partially fulfilled, we feel a growing emptiness in our hearts as a consequence. We become disappointed, dissatisfied because our expectations, which were just a projection of our minds, were not forthcoming.
However, this experience also gives us a growing insight, a deeper understanding of our current soul quality, our soul state. Deep within us we begin to comprehend the limitations of this endless fluctuation between satisfaction and dissatisfaction, doing good and doing evil, and our impotence to bring this pendulum to a standstill. We fear the consequences of dissatisfaction, of the negative side of life, and we feel this as an abyss of emptiness in our hearts.
However, such an insight, such a confrontation with our personal limitations, the delusion of our lives, can bring forth a longing of the heart to escape such a prison, to find a way, a path out of this labyrinth, this quagmire.
The emptiness is then no longer something that must be filled by us, but becomes a space to be made ready for the Spirit.
Then one day, when we can truly plunge our souls into the depths of that void, we will find that all of those ephemeral desires, whether we consider them material or spiritual, are dissolved in the Light of the approaching Spirit. Then we will also come to understand the all pervasiveness of the Spirit. Our longing, born through the suffering caused by life’s hard experiences, is no longer a desire for self-fulfillment, but a longing to surrender to the Divine Will, the Divine Grace.
Thus, aligned with the Sacred Will, we will come to realize the Unity of the Immeasurable. The Spirit will fill the emptiness with the Great Joy of True Life!
Then the words of Krishnamurti will become clear to us:
It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that, there is joy.
(Can the Mind be quiet?, p. 65. Krishnamurti Foundation Trust)