A Deep Sense of Sorrow

Heidegger pointed out that “being” meant caring, guilt and angst. Perhaps “being” is also a deep sense of sorrow. As we live our lives, we lose opportunities, we lose family and we lose friends. In the midst of all that we do, there is always a vacuum in our being. An absence that leads us into seeking comfort, comraderie and love. No matter what we do, this sense of sorrow continues as we move from one moment to the next, beguiled by momentary succour and short lived respite. We take recourse in money, purpose, health, god or nothingness but nothing seems to fill this void. Our seeking does not touch it, nor does our knowledge fill it. In living with the unknown, the ungraspable, we are the victim, the wronged and we act out our anger and our violence. Lost in what we do not have, wandering down streets of yearning, we attempt completion, never able to quench this mysterious thirst.

Mistaking this deep sense of sorrow for deprivation, we welcome distraction and sensation, reifying our sense of self, no matter how fragmented or how outrageous it might be. Turning towards distraction, we fail to face that time will soon pass, that plenty will ultimately turn to nothing. Often, this absence grows and envelops, like space, forever distant, always unknown. We turn away from it but it permeates all our happiness, our dreams and our hopes. Like a wave upon the ocean, this unknown sorrow returns to haunt us, even when we appear to have found peace.

Perhaps we fail to realize that this “being” is everyone. In our flailing, our pride, our accomplishments and our failings. Perhaps in the realization of our deep sense of sorrow is an equally profound sense of compassion. Compassion that is without boundaries and despite our apparent differences and easy antagonism. As boundless as the vacuum in our being. In our capacity to become nobler, the more we suffer is the embodiment of this compassion. In forgetting our own pain, as we look upon others, is perhaps a release of the deep sense of sorrow that so intimately inhabits our being. A radiance, an emanation that at times can delicately fill the absence and quench our thirst. 

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