Many of us struggle to find direction in life. We do not know where we are, where to go, how to go or even what we want in life. Many paths excite us and perhaps everything looks meaningless. What should we do in this state of dismay and confusion?
First, we must pat ourselves on our back. This confusion, is a sign of consciousness awakening in us. In animals, we don’t find this ability to question, to enquire about oneself. They are blissfully unaware. Only in humans, has consciousness flowered to a point where such questions can be attempted. And even in humans, many are caught up in the eternal rat race of material well-being, relationships and other personal gratification. This is a state just above the animal world. It is not derogatory in any way, but merely reflects the evolution of consciousness.
Once the base needs are met – we have enjoyed pleasure after pleasure, we have had friend after friend, relationship after relationship, a question arises in our mind “Is this all there is?”. Often this question is not verbalized in this fashion. The mind knows that “this is not it” but assumes it must be somewhere else. Confusion arises when we know the fact that our current position is not where we want to be, but we also do not know where we want to go. Our actions and desires that we had in the past seems to be from some other lifetime – we cannot relate to them. And yet, we do not know where to go. This is the beginning of awakening. And for this we must be grateful.
So where do we go from this state? How can we overcome confusion? There are two things which complement each other. One, start going inward. What does this mean? Connect to who you are beyond the cultural conditioning. What are your values? What are your innermost yearnings? And who are you beyond them? Second, start taking responsibility – for people around you, for society. Ask how can you contribute in whatever small way to make someone’s life a little better? Both these paths are critical to ‘discovering yourself’. Self introspection without service strengthens the ego and mind. Service without introspection binds you to the world. Self introspection brings dispassion i.e. knowing that contentment lies within and not in the external world. Service brings the awareness that we are one with the external world of form, which is the basis of love and compassion.
Therefore if you are confused and find life empty, begin the journey of knowing yourself and at the same time, start by making others lives a little better for having met you. Learn and Share. This is the mantra and will help you cross the ocean of confusion.