Does the world seem fractured right now? Does there seem to be more divisiveness than ever before? Without looking at any data, the answer is a simple yes. You feel it. I feel it. And sadly, our youth feel it.
And while we don’t need the data to know and feel the strong feelings of separation plaguing Americans today, a quick look at the increases in loneliness, anxiety, depression, and suicides confirms it.
So, what is going on? Why is our species, one that is so dependent on companionship, connection, and sense of community, finding it so hard to have those things? Why are so many young people in need of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications, why are so many people getting divorced, why are so many Americans ending their own lives, and why are record numbers of people having overwhelming feelings of loneliness?
Many will say that we lack wholeness. And while that is true, it still doesn’t tell us why. The truth is that most people do not feel whole, filled-up, and complete, and are actually seeking that wholeness. The problem is that most people are seeking it in the wrong places and with the wrong things.
If your car is running out of gas, and you try to fill it with water, it will not run properly. And very quickly, it will not run at all. If humans are empty of love, connection, joy, peace, kindness, and forgiveness, but trying to fill up with food, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, pornography, binging Netflix series, or gambling, the end result is disastrous.
The very things so many are using to seek wholeness are pushing us further from it. This leads to emptiness, frustration, anger, and separation. And the more you feel these emotions, the more you seek solutions with more of those same destructive vices. They actually seem to work at first, as most give you a quick dopamine burst in the brain (the feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain). But much like a piece of bubblegum, that burst of pleasure quickly fades, leaving you flavorlessly chewing and chewing.
The first step would be to understand what wholeness is. The word whole is defined as “in an unbroken or undamaged state: in one piece.” The second step is to realize that wholeness is the natural state of human beings. We are designed to be in one piece. And while we are breakable and damageable, and it would be naïve and incorrect to think we could skate through life without a blemish, we are miraculously made to be fixable.
It doesn’t help that we have large corporations and organizations that capitalize on our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, creating and selling products that move us further from wholeness. Our primary healthcare system merely names our afflictions, and pumps out dangerous medications that have no chance of actually correcting the true cause of these problems. The news outlets misrepresent, overstate, and inflate the facts to drive a bigger wedge between us. And now, we have social media conglomerates preying on our emptiness.
After all this bad and depressing information, I’m sure you are assuming I will be providing an answer. I’d be bold and quite ridiculous to say that I have THE solution. I don’t. And we all know there is no single solution.
But here is what I would recommend to get started… Know that you are here on this earth for a reason. You are full of love, kindness, happiness, joy, forgiveness, and peace. These are not things you go out and find. They are within you right now. You just have to uncover those emotions. And know that we don’t do well on our own. We are pack animals. We have survived and thrived for so long because we have lived in tribes, villages, groups, and communities. We have relied on each other to keep going. We have always had differences, but seeking and seeing our similarities is what has allowed us to flourish.
Remember to think of your life in terms of wholeness. We’ve been tricked into thinking things like money and social status will bring us fulfillment. If you are financially strapped each month, and it is putting a strain on your relationships and life, then improving your financial situation is critical. But having millions of dollars without deep meaningful relationships, or work that brings purpose, will leave you fragmented.
Scientists can break down an apple into its individual nutritional components, labeling the vitamins and minerals it contains, but once separated into those components, you lose the whole. Doctors have broken down the body into organs and systems, but separated from each other, you lose the whole. And it’s the whole of the apple and the body that provides its magic.
Simple question… are we moving more toward a direction of increased separation, division, and aloneness… or more toward togetherness, oneness, and wholeness? The specialness of being human lies in being here for one another. You can have what you want, while helping others get what they want. Take a moment to reflect, breath, meditate. Think of three things you’re grateful for. Take a break from wallowing in your own misery and pour your attention and efforts into helping someone else out. Feel the feelings of love, forgiveness, empathy, and peace, and you will feel that separateness fade, the loneliness ease, and the emptiness fill up. Strive for wholeness.