This is why you feel empty

We have the misconception that happiness is something we obtain. Later.

When we are THERE.

So we work real hard to obtain what we think that corresponds to. We early lose interest in school, mainly because we can’t see how it actually will benefit us. We can’t relate what we learn in school, to ourselves. But we know that we better work hard so that we can get the right job. If we get the right job, we will assure our financial situation which will just simply ease our struggle in general. We do our best to look a certain way so that we can attract the right partner and we want to attract the right partner so that we will not be lonely.

We do a lot of things “so that…” this or that will become or to avoid experiencing certain things.

And then we struggle to see why we are still feeling unfulfilled. Often it comes on around midlife, some time after 30, 35 we begin to wonder if this is all there is.

What we truly don’t understand is why we can feel so unhappy even though we did all the things we had planned and we bought all the things we worked so hard for to be able to purchase.

And the real reason we don’t understand is this : never did we do any of it because our emotions in that moment told us that this makes us feel good. We always did anything for one same reason : because we would benefit from it at some point.

We study for that. We work out for that. We are friendly for that. We flirt for that.

We strive to make a good job for that.

We are all convinced that we want to do things but truly we don’t. We have a misunderstanding of what “enjoying” something is. We believe we need to benefit from every action we take.

We have no idea how to just do without it having an outcome.

What we miss to see is that these things themselves aren’t actually the cause of the feeling of fulfilment, it’s the “promise of what they will give” that is supposed to be giving the feeling of fulfilment.

I see this all the time in therapy. Every single person who comes to me is disconnected from what they truly feel. It is not always manifested the same way, but underneath all their worries and their frustrations lay one same thing : they don’t actually know what they want.

I was listening to a psychoanalyst talking about this specific subject and it made me smile because even though he is far from the practices of the east in his line of work today, it all comes down to the same process if we want to get rid of that empty life feeling.

He said, first you need to tap into sensations again so that you begin to know what feeling actually … feels like. The second thing you need to learn is how to accept where you are today. By that he meant, if you have to do the dishes, be with the dishes in that moment without listening to a narrative in your head about that you don’t enjoy it. In other words: be at peace with what you are doing.

In my mind I hear my teacher saying “the first rule of Karma is to do for the sake of doing, not for an expected result”.

It is such a foreign concept to us because we have always been told that in order to feel good, we need a goal. We need to work towards something and that will give us meaning.

I think it’s why we are finding it so hard to understand Zen Buddhism and ideas like non-attachment. Well, because we have always attached an action to an outcome.

But if you decide that you want to bake a cake, then the joy needs to come from the baking itself and less from how successful you are with your cake once you start to hand out pieces to your friends.

You see, that is how you bring meaning back into life.

Just how dependent are you on other people’s reactions if every time you made something with your hands, your level of enjoyment went hand in hand with the feedback you got?

How does this relate to feeling empty?

Let’s start from the opposite side. What makes us feel complete is being here and now in what we are doing, absorbed and not even considering what is happening somewhere else or what will be later. Can you recognise that state?

It can be related to “flow” or being in the zone a little bit. The reason we are addicted to falling in love is often the same reason : when we are in love and with the person, we don’t need anything else. We feel so fulfilled.

When we feel empty, nothing really feels anything because we are not there. The actions we take are made mechanically, executed and they really are transactions. I have to clean the house but I don’t like it and I’m doing it so that it will be clean after. I’m disconnected from what I’m doing because I judge each task unfulfilling and not interesting.

Let’s come back to the Psychoanalyst’s advice on what to do. Learn to feel and be at peace with what you are doing.

It is something you will need to practice over and over before it becomes fully natural to you. So what better than to create a task that you do every single day for this specific work?

In the Ayurvedic lifestyle and the yogic philosophy, this is why a morning routine really exists. To create an intimate relationship with the present moment, your physical body as well as your mind. It is truly a conditioning of your being so that you can bring that with you in to the rest of the day. And the stronger your practice becomes, the easier it will be to continue in that state, day after day.

This is exactly why I created the program Nourish Balance Thrive. Because adopting the Ayurvedic principles to find balance and feel good again, automatically creates an intimate relationship with the present moment. With yourself.

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞



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