When we find ourselves looking for something outside ourselves — anything — to complete us, to make us feel whole and happy, what is the nature of this force within us? What kind of power compels us to move heaven and earth to find a way to fulfill ourselves in this way? The answer is surprising!
We are driven on by our sense of being incomplete.
None of us would feel this compulsion to complete ourselves, let alone be deceived into destructively compromising ourselves, unless deep within, however subtly or explosively, we were living with a very powerful and misplaced sense of somehow being incomplete in the center of ourselves.
The major challenge before us is that our lives are shaped by the “will of what is incomplete” in more ways than we dream, but we hide this fact from ourselves by providing ourselves with rationales and explanations. We must come to understand the will of what is incomplete, and to do this we must learn to witness its stealthy operation within us.
The essence of temptation is that we are trying to fulfill an empty sense of our self with whatever this same needful self says will do the “trick.” Struggling, striving to complete ourselves, is really a nice way of saying that we are feeling terribly insufficient in ourselves about ourselves; that we fear we will remain this way for the rest of our lives unless we can figure out what to do — something, anything — to rid ourselves of this insatiable feeling of being incomplete.
What is behind this incessantly dissatisfied sense of self?
First we must see that this dissatisfied nature that drives us to complete ourselves through whatever source it names, resides within us. Further, we must recognize that not only is there a part of our self in “cahoots” with this will of what is incomplete, but that these same parts of us actually seem eager to swallow the empty promises this unseen nature makes. It is vital in our search for this new order of self-victory that we see the truth of our inner situation.
We must not resist or deny what is.
For instance, don’t all of us do things that we either struggle with while we’re doing them — often hating ourselves for our “weakness” — or that later on we despise ourselves for because we see that we were powerless and could not have done any differently than we did?
If we are honest, we have to admit it: These unwanted events happen to us, within us, every day — even if it’s as simple as eating those last few bites of some food when we know that we are already stuffed full. Or how about going over in our minds — for perhaps the umpteenth time — something that someone said to us that we didn’t feel was deserved? Make your own list!
The bottom line is this: We are dragged along by something with its own designs and all such involuntary, compulsive behavior, whatever nature it assumes, constitutes a subtle form of addiction because we are unable to walk away from its demand.
What is important to recognize at this juncture in our inner journey is that most of these painful moments wherein we end up finding ourselves compromised have their beginning with simple thoughts like, “Oh, I’ll just think about my grandchildren for a few minutes” or perhaps you mentally relive that deal that “almost” brought you fame and fortune. The next thing you know you’re wallowing in painful sentiments, being prodded inwardly to plot your next scheme, or you find yourself out and about somewhere, spending money that you know you should not.
Clearly enough there is dwelling within us a will that belongs to something that is, by its nature, incomplete.
This unconscious nature either drives us on or drags us along in its compulsive pursuit of the relief it promises will be ours once we get our hands on what it has named as being the missing component in our contentment.
Under the influence of this pain that rises up in feeling ourselves incomplete we are made to believe that we have no choice in the affair. We are sure we must obtain what we hope will free us from this dark and too real sense of self-dissatisfaction. Unconsciously, but nevertheless with great certainty and urgency, we pursue what we believe will free us from this pain that now occupies us. And it is this state of self — our too-real sense of our being incomplete — that is the driving force behind our search to complete ourselves; that keeps us searching outside of ourselves to obtain what we have been tricked into believing will bring an end to our sense of being incomplete.
What we must understand — if we are to awaken ourselves and shake ourselves free from this circle of addictive behavior (along with all of the codependent relationships that attend these self-compromising states) — may be summarized as follows:
This dark will in us — whose activity both dominates our decision-making process as well as our power to discern — that searches high and low for something to end its sense of emptiness — belongs to a nature within us that is incompleteness itself. This “never-enough” nature cannot find the peace it seeks any more than one end of a burning stick can hope to extinguish the fire on its other side.
There is no substitute for seeing the truth of our actual spiritual situation.
Only this order of true self-seeing can supply us with the strength we need to abandon this incomplete sense of self once and for all. But we must enter this interior “battle” if we wish to know this new kind of power, as this gift of grace comes to us in proportion to our willingness to see into the whole of ourselves.
Instead of surrendering your attention to that familiar need pressing in on you to fulfill yourself, recover what is rightfully yours: Take your attention back! Come wide-awake to yourself, shake off whatever sensation has stolen into you, and consciously reclaim your attention. If you will make this deliberate act of independence you will see something astonishing, something unseen by billions of compromised human beings: Up until this moment where you took back your attention, it had belonged to — was literally riveted by — what you had taken as being your incompleteness.
Now the stage is set for a kind of real spiritual magic.
While remaining wide awake to what your redirected attention has revealed to you, deliberately shift your attention and consciously remember within yourself what your Heart of hearts knows is true: Who you really are is already complete. Yes, that’s right. And do keep in mind that what has had you jumping through flaming hoops isn’t about to just fall over and fade away the first time you choose to bring this truth to bear. But be encouraged to know that once you get this far with your self-discoveries, what happens next is up to you.
Give your attention to what you know is already whole and complete and that cannot fall prey to empty promises of some happiness to come.
This conscious act places you in the right place to receive the power you need to break free. Your attention is no longer on that feeling of being incomplete because now you understand that as long as it sits foremost in your mind, directing your choices, nothing that it directs you to choose can end the cycle of feeling yourself insufficient.
Once we remember what is whole and bring this awareness of God, the Light or a Great Truth into our mind, we have set the inner stage for the next and best step in our work to be free.
As soon as we are centered in this healing remembrance — even if we do not yet feel the Good we would call upon come into us — we surrender our self to this Goodness that we would know. We relinquish our will to it. We give our self completely to what is already complete within us — even if this act of giving is just to our hope for a wholeness yet to be known.
(Excerpted from Breaking Dependency by Guy Finley)