If reading the very title of this post makes you sad, the answer for you is yes! Well, I keep on thinking over this particular question many times. For me, nothing is worse than living a hollow life. Living a bit harsher life is better, I would say, than living a hollow life.
What I keep on wondering about is, how can you define the term ‘hollow life’? Is there any fixed, concrete definition of this term? Or, is it a very dynamic term, changing as per the age, occupation and types of people around us? In this case, how can we define it for so many different kinds of people?
Apart from all this philosophical discussions, how should one find out if he is living a hollow life or not? If yes, how to make it meaningful and full of substance?
How to define ‘Hollow Life’ ?
As I have already said, the term is very dynamic, changing almost person to person. I would also like to clarify that all the points which I am making here, are my personal thoughts, which can be wrong and challenged by the readers. I am open to discuss the same and change my opinion.
In order to define this term, I would chalk down some indicators which indicate that something is going wrong and needs attention.
1. Having no time for yourself
If you cannot spare some time for yourself, there are very high chances that you are living a hollow life. Finding time for yourself does not mean caring too much for oneself. It also does not mean spending time (solely) on superficial transformation- like buying good clothes, working on one’s appearance etc.
When I say spare some time for yourself, I want you to communicate with yourself. How many of us communicate with ourselves? Do we ask ourselves if we like the way we are living life? It is very sad to find that in this well connected world, no one is really connected with himself or herself. We can create substance in our life only when we know what matters for us. Though we have to many things to do, some portion of our time (may be as small as ten minutes) should be kept aside for ourselves.
2. Doing things for someone else
I remember my discussion with a junior student from my college. His first year of engineering was descent and the grades were quite good. In second year, he stopped attending classes and ended up with having 4 backlogs. In our casual discussion, I humbly asked him what was the problem he was facing. I got a very cold reply from him, saying that he never liked engineering. I had another obvious but humble question for him, “Why did you opt for it then?”
Very proudly he said, “Engineers are respected in my town. People in my town treat you very differently if you are an engineer and also, your status gets elevated”
If you are living your life to please people from your town and are not wise enough to think about what you like, you are living a hollow life. We can find so many people around; someone doing MBBS as her mother wants her to be a doctor, someone not marrying the girl he likes as family members will be furious. At the end, people who live their life to fulfill expectations of others end up blaming those people. Instead, why one should not find out what he likes and take the complete responsibility of his own life?
3. Afraid of being alone
Though this does not apply every time, most of the times, it does. If someone is dependent on others- friends, colleagues, family etc. something is wrong. Many of us are afraid of being alone. They need someone to talk to. They even cannot imagine their life without these people. As Osho has often said, there is a difference between loneliness and being alone. When you are alone, you encounter yourself. You dig within yourself. Most of the times, we are afraid of doing this. Hence, we keep on finding company of people. This may be a very bold statement, but people who live a hollow life will always try to not to be alone. They will keep talking without any purpose for hours, after that they will go for shopping, then a hair cut, then again a different group, then drinks and over…If this your typical day, something is certainly wrong.
The list is literally unending. But, If someone starts working on these three focus points, he will find out the way ahead for himself. The most important thing is taking out time for oneself. When we spend some time with ourselves, the hollow life comes to an end with happiness and creativity overflowing from it.