When we feel empty or lacking, we feel empty and lacking.
It’s a sensation which thought gives meaning to, and that meaning is that we are empty or lacking.
The common response is to try to fill up with something outside of me: someone’s love or company, buying things, entertainment, eating, drugs, or just about anything else. Here, we react to the feeling – to the sensations and associated stories, and we react by trying to fill up and/or distract ourselves from or full the feeling.
Another response is to feel, to feel the sensations. Instead of reacting to them, feel them. Also, notice the stories giving these sensations meaning. Notice the images and words associated with the sensations. Identify them as images and words. Look at them. Ask simple questions about them to get a clearer sense of what’s there. When you can’t find more stories, feel sensations as sensations again. Identify them as sensations. This helps unglue the images and words from the sensations.
So when we feel empty and lacking, we can try to fill up or numb out, or we can feel the sensations and investigate the images and words associated with them. The first is what most of us have been trained to do by society. The second is a 180 degree turn, and it requires some combination of trust, desperation, and skill (either your own or from a facilitator).
Thanks to PG for offering the feel vs fill nutshell way of phrasing it.
- feel vs fill
- feel sensations apparently telling me to do something, that there is a hole here that needs to be filled (compulsion)
- instead can feel it, be with it, rest with it, find love for it, notice images/words associated with it that seems to give it a meaning (that there is a hole that needs to be filled by something outside of me – someone’s love, buying things, eating etc.)