Regrets and a sense of lack

 

All of us experience regrets sometimes.

When it becomes recurrent and strong, it may be worth taking a closer look at what’s going on.

Regrets wouldn’t be here in that way unless there is a sense of lack. A sense that I am missing something, and that what I lost gave me what I am missing. It filled the whole in me. It completed me somehow.

And that sense of lack comes from a painful identity and a set of painful beliefs.

It could be: I am unlovable. I am unloved. I am not enough. I am not whole without a partner. I am not loved/lovable without a partner. I don’t have the right education. I don’t have enough money. I am not safe.

Those unquestioned stories can be questioned. Those unloved stories and deficient selves can be loved. Those embattled stories and feelings can be rested with.

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Emptiness feeling

 

Many experience a feeling of emptiness. I remember it especially from my late teens and early twenties, and I still have feelings of lack come up now and then (which is a type of emptiness).

I would guess it comes from some sort of neglect early on in life. And most of us have experienced that at some point in time, in one or more areas of life. We didn’t get our needs met. Even if our parents were caring and healthy, we may still have experienced a sense of neglect at some point.

Parts of us feel neglected because they were, usually by others when we were small and felt dependent on them. And these parts may still feel neglected because we continue to neglect them. We try to distract ourselves from them when they come up, because they feel uncomfortable, and we do so through work, entertainment, analysis, food, love, sex, and so on. We continue the pattern of neglect, which continues the sense of lack, or feeling of emptiness.

There are a few different things we can do when the emptiness feeling is here.

We can meet our needs, in an ordinary and conventional way. If I feel alone, I can seek company. If I feel unloved, I can seek out someone who loves me. If I feel un-nurtured, I can do things that nurture me. This is very natural, and very sensible.

Another is to reverse our tendency to neglect this neglected part of us. I can meet it. Allow it. Notice it’s already allowed. Rest with it. See its innocence. See that it comes from love. See it’s worried love. Find love for it.

I can also do explore it through inquiry. While resting with it, I may notice sensations as sensations, the images connected with it as images, and the words connected with it as words. I can ask simple questions about these. For instance, does the sensation really mean what images or words says it means?

 If I only do the first, the neediness behind it may create trouble. If I only do the second or third, I am neglecting some very basic human needs. If I do the second without the third, I may continue to perceive the emptiness and lack as real, solid and true.

Creating a problem, selling the solution

 

It is one of the oldest tricks in the book: Create a problem, then sell the solution.

Or more often, create the appearance of a problem.

Christianity creates the problem of sin, and offer the solution of salvation.

Buddhism creates the problem of delusion, and offer the solution of awakening. (Of course, you can also say that the suffering is real, and awakening is one solution – but it is not by any means the only practical solution.)

The fashion and body industry creates an impossible ideal, and offers makeup, jewelry, clothes and dieting and exercise programs as the solution.

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