412ED027-F3EA-4F1A-83B4-D4770D94A12C‘Melancholy’ (Part) – Odilon Redon, 1876 – WikiArt

When the ‘I’ is divested of the ‘I’, only ‘I’ remains.”
~ Ramana Maharshi

Don’t run in the other direction. Don’t take a sense of lack for a need. For this is what we do, when we sense in ourself an insufficiency, we want to fill it up, by all means necessary. We think it important to grant its wanting, its craving. But a lack is never a need. A lack is a fact that needs no repairing and no repairman. By bowing or giving allegiance to it, we submit ourself. We give up all power of understanding. We place ourself at the level of that lack. We become small. We don’t respect it. For this is not to respect it — to obey a random sense of lack. For lack comes as the supreme teacher, and our genuine bowing to it rather takes the form of listening. This is how we bow to a teacher, how we respect it, fulfil its function: by listening to it. So we listen. We stay motionless and invite its teaching. We don’t run away in the other direction.

But really listen. Don’t play here some mischievous game. Don’t cover up the teacher’s voice. Don’t relegate it in the background. We know how a lack can sometimes be difficult to fulfil. How the temptation can be great to suppress it, or cover it up, by any means. Don’t be seduced to do the first thing that will engulf your sense of lack in forgetfulness. And then pretend that you have acted well because the lack is not there anymore. This is being a lazy student, giving in to the least form of escape passing by, be it a train of thought, or a daydream, or a sudden improvised nap. Stay present. And this is not an effort that you are asked to make. To stay present needs no movement for its completion. This is how to be really lazy if this is what you want. Don’t move away, either by going with your lack, or against it. Don’t connive nor resist. Only stay with it. Hold its hand as it were. This is what you do with a friend, or a teacher.

Trust me, your peaceful presence will work miracles here. You will begin to see that the sense of lack did not come first, but arrived late in the line. Lack is an expression, already the result of something that happened before it. It’s a plain, compulsive, lazy reaction. Do you see now how unwise it was to fulfil it, thereby giving to yourself more of the same… complying to an already achieved chain of reactions that will take you nowhere but in the direction of more and more lacks? The sense of lack is a dead end. That’s why you must never fulfil a lack when it comes to achieving a happy, inner sense of being. So keep staying with it. And wait for its next teaching to come. It will come as sure as day.

Your sense of lack has no support worthy of the name. It is just a feeling. A lonely little feeling, hanging here in the air, in the dark, asking for your mercy, for your reassurance. It has no power over you. It wants your warm embrace. It wants your seeing, your recognition. It wants you to acknowledge its presence, to notice its surrounding. There is a vast space around it. The lack is on its own, unattached to anything. There is no one who owns the lack. Therefore no need to fulfil it. How does one fulfil empty space? The truth came bouncing on me with its sharp edge. There is nobody here that could be fulfilled. I am un-fulfillable. My constant race towards happiness, fulfilment, had been a mirage all along.

The lack was never who I am, was never about me. Or rather it was about not being truly myself. This is how a lack is formed. A lack is a conditioning, a wrongly attributed sense of being myself. A lack is a memory. By pressing me, it only wanted me to realise that I am in fact an already fulfilled being. This is how you teach anybody, by making them realise their own capacity for understanding. By raising them to the level of what they truly are. By empowering them. You were small and mistaken, and the master over you wanted your attention. It manufactured a suffering as a sense of lack. It gave you a teaching gift, over and over again. Patiently. Until you were mature or wise enough to accept it.

The sense of lack is the repairman itself. It wants to help, to bend the course of your life towards a chosen path of truth. It is your protector, the lollipop lady that comes to help you cross the road, and stays behind once you are free of danger. At that point, your sense of lacking retires — not needed anymore — until the next wrong turn taken. So now you must fully appreciate that moment when there is no lack. Chew it along. Make it mesmerise you. Realise and breath in your newly discovered sense of being complete, naturally fulfilled, which is nothing but being your true self alone.



Text by Alain Joly

Quote by Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)

Painting by Odilon Redon (1840-1916)



– ‘The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi’ – (Sophia Perennis et Universalis)

Ramana Maharshi (Wikipedia)
Odilon Redon (Wikipedia)

– Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…


Back to Pages


2 thoughts on “A Story of Lack

  1. This feels like truth…the way it is. In this phenomenal world we live in, separate (as it were) from our source, we live in a complexity of abundance and at the same time, scarcity. It is not possible in this realm to have one without the other. The feeling of lack is not error, but perhaps can serve as a re-minder for us to re-member and appreciate the abundance. Having life is a miraculous gift in its own right, deserving of our gratitude, albeit the price we invariably pay is the accompanying sense of alienation….lack…..longing for “home” and reunion with our source. At least, that is the way I conceive things to be. Thank you for another poignant writing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s