That void within, reaching out for something to fill it. Darkness and questions surrounding it, perhaps it can be filled with partying? Intoxicants? Money? Sex? Career?
Those don’t seem to work, the void is still present, unable to see it yet it is felt. Many try to ignore it and go about their days, not paying attention to that subconscious alarm. A lingering dark hole that sits nestled within our soul waiting for light to shine upon it and fill it with spirituality. Too many of us experience this without realizing it might be our inner self, our most true self, crying out for the embrace of our spirituality and faith.
In humanistic psychology, we see a concept of a hierarchy of needs along with a necessity to fill those needs in order to reach the pinnacle of our own self, otherwise referred to as self-actualization. This hierarchy of needs was coined by Abraham Maslow and we can envision this as stepping stones towards the ultimate goal.
The first step is basic needs, survival. We need food, shelter, security and a sense of stability. It is very difficult to reach towards other steps without focusing on this first.
Once we find stability and safety, we take the next step towards meaningful relationships and a sense of acceptance within our communities. No matter how much we say “I don’t care what people think about me” a part of us does long for acceptance, that does not necessarily mean we are willing to compromise who we are for the sense of belonging.
Social acceptance and feeling a sense of belonging is more than just making friends, it is validation for who we are and that we are good enough. It is a metaphorical pat on the back from others and we are building a social support network. That networks proves very valuable during times of distress and hardship.
Then we move to accomplishment and chasing our goals. Perhaps we want to get the promotion at work or we are striving to read 20 books in one summer. We are seeking acknowledgment that we “have made it” and attained some level of prestige and accomplishment.
If we have managed to climb the ladder achieving all of this we are at a good place. We have security and safety, a social-support network, belonging along with a sense of accomplishment and the rewards for hard work. Is that enough? Is this self-actualization? No.
Our spiritual self, our soul, has been neglected. The void is still present and we have not reached our highest potential nor our optimum happiness. Many experience depression and anxiety yet they have a beautiful home, many friends and family as well as a great career. This is where our spirituality comes into play and is directly impacting our mental health. We must seek our fullest potential and fill that void with our faith. Only in doing this can we reach the pinnacle of our being.
How to Fill the Void
It is not an overnight process to embrace our spirituality and faith. We must have patience and we must learn to shut out the rest of the world.
We live in an age of technology and it is very loud. To assist in us embracing our spirituality in an effort to uplift our mental health and happiness, we need to find quiet.
Take time to turn off your phones, find a relaxing position and learn to let go. Take slow deep breaths and listen to yourself. Let your heart open and allow yourself to truly feel.
In these moments put your focus on prayer or meditation. If your mind starts to wander do not worry, let it be and keep your breathing steady.
Dependent on your particular faith and beliefs, study your religion or study your spiritual preferences. Don’t look to others as the immediate example of your faith walk, look to your own self and seek knowledge so that you will better understand what is happening.
We will see countless people that are stuck on the rung of accomplishment or acceptance. They are always fighting to achieve more, get more promotions, make more money and earn the title with the most prestige. Yet, they are never satisfied and that void is still present. They might be continuously on social media trying their hardest to gain acceptance from strangers online because their needs of belonging never seem to be filled. One person might drink every night because something is missing, but they don’t know what. That spiritual void cannot be filled by anything except for our faith. If we do not embrace our spiritual side then we will spend a lifetime seeking fulfillment that never comes.
Please, share with us what spiritual practices help you to center yourself and fill that void with light. I would love to hear from all faith backgrounds.