There’s a sense of incompleteness in many of our lives.
We have felt it since adolescence, if not since early childhood. It’s a feeling that something is wrong with us, missing, or disconnected from the world.
It can give birth to loneliness, a sense that we don’t fit in, or a sense our lives lack purpose.
We crave connection and intimacy with others. Sometimes we seek it through online social networks, but this is like eating cardboard instead of food. It may temporarily make us feel full, but it is not nourishing.
Technology drives us to use dating apps to find the perfect someone, but the dating doesn’t bring intimacy. We look at photos of what other people are doing in the world, read about their adventures, and feel like we’re falling short.
We wake up each morning and reach for our phones, seeking distraction through something interesting, exciting, any kind of dopamine hit. We settle for this convenient blip over the difficult and meaningful action of living rich and fulfilling lives.
Our technology invades every moment of space and quiet, filling every gap with videos, songs, podcasts, audiobooks, short online reads, news, social media, quick tasks, messages.
We don’t wait in grocery lines, we peruse our online world. We don’t chat with the lady waiting beside us at the DMV, we “like” and swipe.
We fill our craving for connection with consumption—buying, eating, and watching—to gain a fleeting satisfaction that is long gone by the time our credit card bills arrive.
This sense of incompleteness, this gnawing feeling of need that lurks in the quiet moments we are alone and undistracted, is rarely faced head-on with eyes wide open. Instead, it is left ever-present but unacknowledged and unseen.
The tragedy is that if we could stop—even for just a moment—and allow ourselves to feel the discomfort of that disconnection, we could take a different path.
We could find a wholeness, a unity of our being that comes from being self-aware and then extending our awareness beyond ourselves.