What Would Be Left? (Musing)

The other week I sat in a tastefully-decorated living room with a small group of earnest truth seekers discussing the nature of self. One of us asked what would be left if all of our identifying features were stripped away. Separate from experiences, memories, choices, personalities, knowledge – if all of those were stripped away from a person, what would be left?

An answer came immediately to mind for me. Like a word shown on a screen, the response that popped into my head was need, or desire – the fundamental condition that all that should be is not within. A restless draw outward. I hypothesized that the deepest reality within us is longing.

I tossed it out trivially at the time, and after brief pondering the conversation continued on into other areas. But that moment and that concept has come back to mind here and there, capturing a bit of my interest and imagination.

What if that were true? That at our core, even deeper than the elements that distinguish us, hums a reality that unites us? That we’re all searching; we’re all needy; we’re all lacking something that many of us spend our lives seeking out?

My worldview would make a next assertion: that the thing we all seek is one and the same, and it does exist. That our souls’ collective grasping can be relaxed; that the searching and peering and pain can be quelled. That it is possible to experience something other than lack or emptiness. And that brings me great hope.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


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