I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get this really weird feeling. It’s sort of hard to describe, but I’ll do my best to explain it. So…every once in a while, I’ll suddenly get this terribly insecure feeling about my own existence. It’s like I’ve suddenly remembered that everything is not “okay” and that all the answers are not present and this usually brings about a physical response from me. A tense stomach, increased heart rate, and a weird out of body feeling. I think most of our lives we go along focused on our daily problems, our daily existence and we don’t think about the long term or the big picture. And because we have this limited vision, we feel secure. We feel that we know for the most part where our lives are going and what will happen to us. But every now and then when I think about the big picture I become…I guess…afraid. And it’s not the same as insecurity about human things, like a big meeting, or meeting someone new, or whatever, this is truly cosmic insecurity. When I think about it, I’m imagining me, all alone in vast, dark, cold outer space and what, truly could be bigger or scarier than that????
This is my existential meltdown.
The truth is that not one of us knows the whole story. Not one of us can claim to know what happens when we die, why we’re here, or all the answers to the universe. And there are so many possibilities. Are we some kind of cosmic accident? Just chance that we exist at all and there is nothing out there but blackness and nothing after we die? Or are there others like us in the universe? Is there other life and some kind of answer, some kind of higher power or oneness with the universe? Or maybe our lives are on some kind of repeat, we just repeat history over and over again? And what is outside the universe? Is there anything else? Is our universe inside another universe or inside another living being or is there nothing at all?
There are plenty of ways to try to deal with this uncertainty. Religion is a big one, or simply accepting that there is nothing or that you don’t know. I haven’t really found a good way to deal with this. I was brought up in a religious family, but I’m not sure that it’s enough for me. I’m a curious person, a person who wants answers and of course I’m never going to have these answers.
It truly is scary when I’m walking out of work to go home, or lying in bed at night and this thought pops into my head. Sometimes I’ll wonder, why am I in this weird physical body? It’s almost like, this body is me and I know this, but in a lot of ways I feel divorced from my body, as if my mind had been part of something else or has known some other way to be without a body. And then I’ll wonder, why? Why am I alive? Why this weird place that I live in with these weird rituals and these physical things I can touch? Why do I have the ability to even wonder about these big things? Why am I tormented by these questions? And then I’ll remember that I don’t know the answers. That I am alone and will be alone when I die. And then I wonder, will I find out any of the answers? I have no idea. It’s truly pretty scary to me. I wish I could be zen about it, or accepting that there is nothing or that I don’t know and probably never will.
Accepting that there is nothing is not something I can do. I feel like there has to be more. Already, every day humanity is seeking and finding answers about the universe and about our existence. I’m not sure we’ll ever unlock all the riddles but the fact that there are mysteries, makes me believe there has to be something else out there. There has to be some purpose. I can’t live knowing that there is no purpose to life, that my existence doesn’t really matter.
The other truth that is scary to me is that before I was born, I was..nothing. And the world continued along and was fine without me and I knew…nothing. I apparently was nothing, or nothing that I can remember. It’s basically blackness because I didn’t exist…yet. And when I die? Is it the same thing? Just blackness, emptiness? Will I just cease to exist and cease to wonder and question? Will it be just like before I was born? Basically just…poof you never existed at all, there is nothing.
I truly hope this isn’t the case. It seems so bleak to me. But I guess at the same time it sort of seems…natural and I guess I wouldn’t be upset about it because I wouldn’t exist, at all. But it scares me. It scares me as I get older because my time here is running out. I’ve finally begun to realize my mortality and think about it more than ever before. And every day that passes is a day that I will never get back again and my days truly are numbered.
I wish there was some sort of comfort for me. Some way to ease the insecurity I feel about it. I think it adds to my anxiety and depression and I think that most people deal with it by believing in something, or simply not thinking about it at all and focusing on their daily lives. I wish I could just believe in something but everything seems suspect to me, every concrete way that mankind has set out for himself to describe what happens seems…false to me because they are so specific. How can we possibly know? How can we say with certainty? Especially when so many different people believe in different things. My hope is that the idea that there is something, is true. That we’re not all wrong in believing different things. I guess only time will tell…
Do you share my insecurity? I’m sure it’s a truly human quality to feel this way and perhaps it is just part of the journey, part of the big picture. My biggest hope is that like a truly good mystery novel… all will be revealed at the end of the story…