There is definitely an underlying something going on. Just tucked beneath the facade of our everyday lives is something we can feel, but can't quite put our finger on. People seem somewhat agitated. No, you don't have to be the world's most perceptive person to sense that something just isn't quite right generally.
It's like everyone's got an itch.
I was discussing this global itch with a friend as he drove me home late last night.
"We have pretty much everything we need, nowadays." He said, looking at me sideways and keeping his eyes fixed on the road ahead. "Most of us have a roof over our heads. We have jobs, and if we don't have jobs, we have the resources available to find one. We've got clothes on our backs and we are fed and watered. Even those things that used to be considered a luxury are coming to us as standard, like cars and fancy holidays, for example. "
"That's true." I agreed, nodding at him.
"So now we have all these things that we thought would complete us, but most people still aren't happy. It's like there's something missing."
"Something we can't quite figure out?" I ask.
"Exactly." He says.
Sitting back, I let his words sink in and reflect for a moment on my own life. I am lucky enough to have a job. A job that means I can eat well, treat myself to nice things occasionally, go out when I fancy and put a safe roof over my head. Okay, so I might like to have a bigger flat, a more exciting job, enough money to jet off to sunny locations more than once a year, but right now I have everything I need to live comfortably. Should that not be enough? As that familiar uneasy feeling sweeps over me, I realise that actually, it's not.
My mind quickly scans all the people I have met recently who race around London consumed in the rat race, scratching their heads on how to feel fulfilled in their life. The guy from work who moans as he stirs two thick sugars into yet another cup of coffee, the girl on the train who forgets she's holding her Mulberry handbag, just like every other girl in that carriage. It lacks a big fat meaning, once you get down to the bottom of it all.
How are you?
Need we ask...
We hardly register the fraction of a second's pause that follows after those two words, 'I'm fine'. But next time, you might notice that your insides skip a beat.
How much attention do we really pay to our insides? Not your stomach, liver, lungs and the sort. I'm talking about the insides we can't see. Meditation, inner reflection (or call it what you will) is the art of devoting a little bit of time conversing with your insides. My recent personal battle with sitting down and shutting up in order to converse with my insides hasn't been an easy one. There's always an excuse; a more exciting thing to think about, a distraction or two.
I have perfected the art of putting off facing my insides to the point of almost resenting getting up close and personal with who I truly am. We are taught from a very early age how to interact with the world outside us; to communicate with other people, discover new objects and experience an outward life, so much so that somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten how to communicate with ourselves.
Perhaps I'm a bit frightened at what I might find by staring directly at my true bare being. It would mean accepting myself for being very absolutely me.
A scary thought. But one worth thinking about.
It's a bit like the gigantic elephant standing in the corner.