How to Find Your Place in the World
Although finding your place in the world doesn't seem easy, all you have to do is look inside yourself.
You feel like you don’t fit in anywhere. You wake up every day feeling an emotional emptiness. For some reason, it seems impossible to find your place in the world. Everywhere you go feels strange to you. Sometimes, you don’t even feel like yourself. What’s happening to you?
Nothing and nobody makes you happy. You wander from here to there in a monotony that drowns you in an ocean of doubt and uncertainty. Similarly, you don’t understand exactly what’s happening to you or to your world. So, you try to search for your existential purpose but don’t find any significant meaning to your existence. What can you do?
What should you make of this?
No place seems right for you. You don’t fit into any job. You feel like existence is a heavy burden on your back. Then, you think about the world and how it works and you realize that it’s not for you. Pessimism takes over. You feel like you come from a different place or that you were born at the wrong time. What should you make of this? How do you find your place in the world? These are some of the most common questions people ask themselves.
For some reason that we can’t explain, there are magical places where everything seems to fit. Every person has their own magical place. Some people feel comfortable in religious temples, while others in large gardens or forests. Beaches are other places where people feel connected to the world.
Your place in the world and others’ expectations
If you stop and think about that feeling of helplessness, you may find important answers. On many occasions, your environment has conditioned you in such a way that it has established the paths you must take. So, you accept those paths unconsciously as if they were your own. And despite your apparent success, you feel out of place.
In many cases, you’ve accepted the life that others expected of you. You’ve traveled their paths without any pain or glory. In fact, you haven’t even considered other goals. It’s time to think about whether you’re living the life you want or the one others expect from you.
“Not only until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
-Henry David Thoreau-
The Buddhist nun Lhundup Damchö says that before taking refuge in Buddhism, she was a successful journalist. However, she wasn’t happy. Something was wrong. She decided to leave her old life behind and become a Buddhist nun. Since then, dedicating herself to others has made her really happy.
Lama Rinchen, a Buddhist meditation teacher, has a similar story. He was a successful businessman who decided to close his juice shop one day and dedicate himself to Buddhism.
Are you really happy with what you’re doing? Take a look inside yourself and analyze what really makes you happy.
Your place in the world, inner emptiness, and Buddhism
Buddhism says that the inner emptiness you feel when you can’t find your place in the world is due to the disconnection with your authentic Buddha-nature. What is Buddha-nature? The answer is simple: it’s the ultimate state of being, a state in which you’re truly happy. To achieve this state, you have to let go of the conditions that make you suffer. Therefore, by getting rid of mental afflictions, you’ll increase the chances of being happy under any circumstance.
Thus, your place in the world doesn’t depend on where you are, but on your mental state. If you’re at peace, no place will seem as hostile or uncomfortable as before. You’ll enjoy a genuine fulfillment.
“If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.”