Is your life ruled by a continual sense of lack?

words & photo by Brian Thompson.

Most of us believe that we lack something in our lives. We think there’s something we need to obtain before we can be happy.

What do you feel you need to be happy? What do you believe you're missing in your life?

Do you lack time, money, or recognition from your boss? Do you lack respect? A better paying job? Do you lack self-confidence, or more skill in a certain area of expertise? Do you lack dedication to your chosen craft or profession? Do you lack love, friendship, or family ties?

Maybe what you think you lack is more physical or material in nature. You think you need more money in order to be happy. You need a bigger home with more space. You need a new car, new clothes, a new phone. You need that cool new toy.

There’s always something new to desire, isn’t there? We’re never completely happy. We’re always searching for the next thing to amuse us for a few more moments. We’re always on a quest to achieve, acquire, and obtain! Our sense of lack fuels us. It keeps us busy — but it also distracts us from realizing our true happiness, that which is already within each of us.

True happiness is found in the cessation of desire.

If we believe that we're always lacking one thing or another, then we’ll forever be looking towards external things to find our happiness. In doing so, we keep ourselves stuck in a perpetual state of lack by not acknowledging the perfection of the present moment. When our life is ruled by our sense of lack, we’re no longer in control and our desires consume us.

We can free ourself from this needless suffering by realizing that we are not in the perpetual state of lack we believe ourselves to be in. Happiness isn't found in wanting the present moment to be different, it’s in accepting it without needing anything more than what you already have. True happiness is being absolutely content, no matter the circumstance. Inner peace has no resistance, it’s pure acceptance of whatever the moment brings. It’s in having a calm and clear mind, unobstructed by any thoughts of lack or desire.

When people live in a state of lack they make poor decisions, which only contributes to their pain even further. Their ability to be rational is compromised by the feelings of desperation that overwhelm them.

Blinded by hunger or cold, a person will do whatever it takes to survive. If a person has no money, they’ll be driven to do things they’d never otherwise consider, including acts of dishonesty, theft, violence, or self-harm. Even if a person is grossly under slept, their motor functions and cognitive functions are seriously impaired and can result in dangerous behaviours. Scarcity is the cause for virtually all of our personal, cultural and societal problems. Yet much of our sense of lack is un-real and non-phsyical — it’s all inside our head.

“You will receive everything you need when you stop asking for what you do not need”
― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Where might your happiness be compromised by your sense of lack? Do you believe that you’re lacking emotionally, intellectually, physically, or materially?

Know that your sense of lack is only a thought. It is a desire you've latched your mind onto and that you find it hard to let go of. It’s your attachment to the idea of lack that's causing you pain, not the lack of the thing you want itself.

When your focus is placed on external pleasures rather than your internal well-being, your peace of mind is compromised. When your priorities are skewed, everything begins to fall apart.

If you believe that something can take your happiness away from you, then it always will. Only when you truly believe that happiness can emanate from within — without any sense of lack, need or desire — only then will it be realized in all of it’s purity and clarity.

When we attach our happiness to a sense of reward that must be attained, we’ll forever be striving in hopes to attain it. The moment we create a perfect ideal of happiness in our minds, it becomes a thing that’s impossible to achieve. Only when the search for happiness is called called off will it present itself to you.

Don’t fall victim to your own ignorance. Stop waiting for something outside of you to make you happy. It begins and ends within you — here and now.

Happiness cannot be found, it can only be realized in the present moment you’re in.