Have you ever had the feeling that you’re floating through your life? That feeling where, despite going through the motions of participating in common everyday activities, such as work, hobbies, running errands, paying bills and socialising, you’ve become aware of a sense of somehow being separate from the world around you?

This sense of separation isn’t continuous, but you may notice it for fleeting moments, such as when mesmerised by the popping of the coffee percolator as it signifies the start of another day, or waiting for your number to be called while queueing at the bank during your lunch break, or perhaps on the drive home after another forgettable day at work, as you negotiate the traffic with thousands of other dissatisfied kindred souls.

Night approach— Image by Jyri Manninen (Sydney, Australia)

However, sometimes the feeling can be long-lasting, and quite overpowering, so much so in fact that it can virtually cripple you, leaving you unable to even lift a finger, or bat an eyelid. This can commonly occur upon waking from a deep sleep. You realise that your consciousness has been hijacked by a particular thought that has the power to press you down in your bed with its immense weight — and it’s the most fundamental question of all, ‘Why am I here?’ It can leave you completely paralysed, forcing you to watch a movie in which your entire life is replayed on the ceiling screen at which your gaze is transfixed.

Now, is this a bad thing? The simple answer to that is no. In fact, it’s a very significant point in the life of every person. The nature of the human consciousness is a desire to expand, to evolve. When the intellect is kept busy by a mind that identifies itself as an individual, whose main focus is on the gratification of physical and emotional compulsions, this question of the true purpose of existence is rarely, if ever, entertained — but then, when a person one day realises that continuing on with such behaviour, which is based primarily around the fulfilment of sensual pleasures, does not lead to a stable and lasting state of happiness, they’re ready to begin ‘waking up’ from their delusive state.

Is this initial ‘awakening’ easy, is it comfortable? The simple answer to this is also no. Actually, it’s very likely that things will feel a lot worse before they start feeling better. Why? Because this period, when you realise that there’s no lasting joy to be found in your old life, and hence no desire to ever return to it, but yet you still have no idea of what to do next, can be the loneliest and most scary time you’ll ever experience in your life.

The feeling associated with this event is a sense of acute foreboding, like what you might experience if you had to jump from a crumbling ledge without any idea about where you’ll land, and whether it’ll be safe and secure or not. However, to evolve towards the realisation of our true nature, it’s a leap of faith we all have to take at some point.

Arrival — Image by Jyri Manninen (Sydney, Australia)

There’s a saying in yogic teachings that ‘you first have to become sick before you’re ready to seek’ — and if the profound sense of loneliness, sadness, anxiety, insecurity and frustration, and even anger, are the symptoms, and yet we have no desire to return to our old lives, then our souls are definitely sick enough to begin moving ahead. So, as ironic as it may seem, this highly emotional, and often cruelly stressful, state is a blessing in disguise.

When everything in your life feels as if there’s no meaning, and you don’t know which way to turn, just know that you’ve actually reached your destination! You’re now at the gateway of the spiritual path — but its direction isn’t to the north, south, east or west, nor up or down. The path does not head away, it heads within.

So, if you’ve become sick and tired of running after the temporary and superficial gratifications of the outside world, and a sense of fragility, loneliness and insecurity is growing within you, just take a few moments to understand that you’ve arrived at the beginning of the greatest journey of all.

The audiovisual version of this REFRAME series post on YouTube here.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a like. You can also check out the entire Reframe video log series, in which I offer a range of perspectives on leading a satisfying and happy life, which I hope will be of use and interest, as well as a source of inspiration, on your own personal journey. — Jyri Manninen