Tuesday, October 11, 2011


"The feeling of lack is the 'mother' of our dreaded emotional experiences. It is a physical/bodily sensation. We experience it as a kind of inner hollowness or emptiness. We try to fill this lack with some kind of 'doing': We shop, start projects, dream about new relationships, practice a religion, join groups, have children, and whatever else we think can fill this hollow core.
This emotion - the feeling of lack - is anxious, insecure, and compulsive.
As long as we are identified with the experience of lack, we will operate from a position of insecurity and fear.
As long as we believe that we are lacking, we will live in fear and desire.
We are constantly calling out to the world, "Fill me - I need another hit!" People try to fill the void with accomplishments, acquisitions, hopes, and dreams. But our holes are bottomless. No amount of material goods or achievements can ever remove the painful identification with lack that will always return in moments of doubt, boredom, crisis, or fear." Eric Gross from "Liberation from the Lie"

Do i have a feeling of lack?, now, sometimes, always?
How can i determine if i have lack?, or maybe a better question to 'reveal' if i have lack would be, "is any of my behaviour a response to lack?"
Answer is "of course."
When i am hungry i am responding to lack when i seek food.
But then, there are times when i think i am hungry but i recognise that eating is a substitute for another unspecified wanting.
When i feel cold i seek a coat or heater, but then i recognise that there are times when i feel cold and everybody else is feeling warm... More often i am taking my coat off while everybody else is keeping theirs' on. This is a case of responding to a lack of 'cool' (pun intended)
When i could use a took to facilitate a job, i am responding to a lack of finger strength to turn a nut, but i have a shed full of tools 'just in case'

At a more subtle level is the question "how does a sense of lack determine my identity?"
Before i get into "my identity", i need to reference "a sense of lack".
It is a 'sense' of lack that we are talking about. Actual lack isn't the issue here. It is perceived lack that is the issue. That is the lack, when filled, promises a feeling of satisfaction. In particular a feeling of satisfaction in how i feel about myself.
This bring me to "my identity". This is my 'sense' of me. The concept i hold of who/what i am. This concept was being formed from birth and an early lack was probably when i was prohibited from suckling my mothers breast. After that there were a profusion of frustrations where i was stopped from doing what i wanted or made to do what i didn't want to do. Maybe even more basic is the (possible) lack of security i felt when i was expelled from the womb.
Regardless of the details, i recognise a lifetime of trying to be 'more' than i thought i was.
But now...
Have things changed? Am i still 'ruled' by a sense of lack? Am i writing this from a sense of lack?
Certainly i experience from time to time overeating. i experience anger and frustration when politicians talk rot with an attitude of knowing. (and many other examples)
So yes, lack is still in my life. I cope with disapproval with hardly a raise of emotion these days. Overeating happens a lot less often than it used to.
i feel lack but have a choice about responding to it.
Meditation seems to be what has given me the space to 'see' situations more objectively. To see what i would have done automatically with enough space to decide to do something differently.
Vipassana Meditation in particular has shown me that pain is only partly physical. That pain when tolerated, it changes. To be more precise, my attitude to pain changes. The pain is still there (say the pain in the legs from sitting in one position for an hour) but i don't need to be ruled by it. In extreme cases the pain that i thought i couldn't tolerate any longer has transformed and become a doorway into amazing revelations.
It has shown me that suffering is the mental overlay placed on pain. That suffering is self perpetuating. We feel a pain then tell ourselves how bad it is going to be and respond to that. Sometimes building a large complex story with immense suffering.
i am standing. i am breathing. How wonderful is that? How amazing it that?
How can there be actual lack while that is happening?

How can there be lack,
when this organism works?
i appreciate.

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