Defeat the Emptiness by Taking Action

What do you do when you have a feeling of emptiness?

No, I am not talking about emptiness in a philosophical sense where you notice that existence is meaningless.

I am talking about the emptiness of the post-digital age where all of a sudden you have this thick empty feeling inside you that makes you not want to watch, read or listen to anything.

You don’t want to go anywhere or eat or do anything. You don’t want to talk with anyone, least of all yourself.

Yes, that. That’s how I feel as I write this.

What do you do?

Well, I tried reading a book. Didn’t work ❌. Couldn’t focus.

I tried watching a video ❌. Cringed.

Tried watching another video ❌. Cringed some more.

Listened to music ❌. Got agitated.

Drank tea ❌. The body relaxed but the emptiness remained.

Planned what to cook for dinner ❌. Didn’t want to eat.

Thought about going for a walk ❌. Didn’t even want to start.

Talked to my partner ✅ She was working so I didn’t want to disturb her for long.

And then I decided to write ✅. I took the emptiness away.

What was it?

There are too many things to consume and do in our self-led life of today that at times, the brain gives up. Too many choices. Too many options. Way too many alternatives. Not just in the luxury of consuming content, but also in the necessities of profession, life, friends, food, and drinks. It is as if the brain wants to focus on the absolute basics and get into some action for a change — instead of thinking, dreaming, and wanting.

The brain, sick of thinking and dreaming (say all forms of content consumption and planning are assisted thinking and dreaming) tells everything to fuck-off.

Hence the empty feeling of not wanting anything.

This state is similar to something called Vairagya in the Indian spiritual and philosophical traditions. It tries to express the mental state where you don’t want anything and get hit by uneasiness. But vairagya comes from a conscious effort to be spiritually liberated, whereas this emptiness is just the brain deciding to shut off. Let’s call it Biological-spirituality or natural spirituality.

Why did the conversation and the writing work for me?

I think making dinner or going out for a walk would have worked too. But I didn’t get into the action and just planned and thought about them.

The brain gets sick of thoughts, dreams and wants. It wants to act.

But conversations and writings are also the act of thinking and dreaming, aren’t they?

The difference lies in the fact that while I talk or write, I actually create something. Which means, I do something. I have an objective to fulfill which can be measured by the effects I have on things outside me. For example, as I write this, a part of me is working on having an impact on you, the reader. This means this is an action and not a thought or a dream that goes nowhere. Yes, thoughts, dreams, wants, and plans have their importance, but at times we tend to overdo them, don’t we?

That’s when — if you are lucky — your brain steps in to save the day.

But reading is action, isn’t it?

Still, it is internal.

Action = something that can have an immediate effect on physical objects, society, etc.