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I know that life is just an illusion and I am empty inside... and this is killing me.

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
New Age.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
To become a motivational speaker and make people spring into action all over the world.
In one sentence: I AM EMPTY INSIDE. I am an engineering student. I have wonderful parents and great friends. I don't have any financial or any medical problems. I am really fond of philosophy and New Age stuff.

The problem with me is that for the past few months I have researched philosophy much (mainly online) and I have come to a conclusion that Life is meaningless and there is no worth in living with anyone. Though I help all my friends, I feel I am a highly egoistical person because I am not even slightly interested in serving my nation. I really don't see any meaning in anything I do and really don't enjoy anything I do, I don't even laugh. I disguise myself as if I enjoy life so that my friends will be happy with me. I don't like to do anything, be it playing, reading, watching television, studying etc.

I know this: LIFE IS JUST AN ILLUSION, so, I am always crying inside and this is like hell for me. I can't share things like these with my friends or parents. I don't have even a slight interest in becoming a monk or anything like that. My only passion is speaking passionately about succeeding in life and I like to speak in front of a large crowd, that's all.

I hate going to temple and I usually don't pray except doing a small meditation in the morning. I have understood this: The only way I can manifest love in my life is only when I grow spiritually and again I hate spirituality. I know I can be free only if my ego is destroyed. Now, I live daily because of my parents and friends and for no other reason. I have lost all my passion and interest to live life the instant I knew Life is an illusion... and this is killing me.

I need to find myself again and most importantly I need to destroy my ego and be free. I know this is too much for an 18 year old but then unfortunately that's the way it is. I can't live like I am emotionless anymore feeling empty 24/7.
Wallace's reply
Life can be considered to be an illusion, from a certain point of view - but not in the way you understand it. You feel the illusory nature of life leads to its pointlessness and meaninglessness. This is incorrect. Life, as experienced by many, is full of disappointment, sorrow and self-pity, and much of what the human race does is wasteful and destructive, but none of this is pointless or meaningless.

Why not? Because we are all here to learn about something priceless, infinitely stronger than the most resistant substance known to man and more powerful than the greatest politician - that something is LOVE. The key point about the negative and illusory side of life is that it teaches us about Love.

Furthermore the truth about Love is that it cannot be learnt or created - because it is our very nature - consequently we only come to know what Love is by discovering what it is not. That is why much of life appears destructive and pointless - such destructive and pointless activity creates suffering and our experience of suffering causes us to search within for meaning and value and that search shows us the path of love.

I repeat, love is not something we learn, it is our very nature and we reveal it to ourselves and others when we discover and let go in our character everything that is not love. The illusion is not that the world is not solid and real as we experience it, because certainly it is; the illusion is that we are separate from other people and Life itself, when in truth we are One: we share our nature, we are one in Love. Nothing could be more meaningful than that.

So I want you to now ask yourself what the self destructive thoughts and consequent suffering you are currently experiencing is teaching you about love and the purpose of life. I have a few suggestions:

There is a misunderstanding many people have these days of the word "ego," identifying ego with egostistical behavior and selfishness. The ego is essentially who you are as a person, the face of the body-mind, the thinking and feeling personality - not some distasteful and disposable element. When the ego is full of compassion and loving empathy, it is one with Spirit and then, again, there is no separation.

I trust that this brief reply will help you reorient your inner world to be more in touch with reality. You have interpreted ancient teachings incorrectly and please, if this email has not answered your confusion, do not do anything rash, visit a counselor who can talk you through these matters and help you see more clearly.

recommended I feel deeply for you and trust you will replace your self destructive thoughts with a more positive and enlightened perspective. I was suicidal at one point in my life due to a loss of meaning and even toyed with self destructive acts. I am really glad I did not follow through on them, since I went on to find a deeper meaning in life than I had ever known previously - so much so that I became a coach and counselor to thousands!

If you feel you need a new and reliable resource to help you revise your personal philosophy, I recommend the book Daring to be Yourself by Peter Shepherd. The book includes an incredibly powerful program for personal growth - including philosophical insight. Remove the barriers to self-knowledge and reveal your full potential with this step-by-step approach.

Read more questions on this topic


Gertrude van Voorden, March 2009, comments:
Hi sweetie, you are still so young. I am 58, have lived from age 2 not wanting to live this life here on Earth. It sounds to me you are depressed, and you are really sick of everybody else's way. You say you are sick of spirituality, but all of life is spirituality and you, just because you are born, without having to do anything for it, get to choose the path you want to follow.

Ultimately life is an illusion, but do not think it feels like that for a moment. Compare it to a play in the theatre. When watching someone else's play, there are those you like and those you want to walk right out of. It takes age and courage to do so. To walk out on the plays you do not like, or that are not for you. Your own life is the most beautifull play there is. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to see that.

When you cannot love yourself, using affirmations like Louise Hay - telling yourself 1000 times a day that you love yourself just the way you are in that moment - helps. Feeling negative existential questions, despair, depression using EFT, is free and very fast and effective.

It is only when you have found yourself, when you can radiate the love found in your heart, that you can begin to teach others. Recognizing true teachers is also very important. But for now take a holiday. Do nothing, learn mindfullness from Jon Kabat Zinn. Do it for a year or more, do it until you start feeling again that there is something you really would like to do. Do not push, do not search, let it find you.

Be sure to watch your food, especially your Omega 3 intake. Eating sardines (a can a day), arganoil, and flaxseed, stabilizes depression. When a cup is full, pouring more tea in it only makes it overflow. Take care of yourself.

Part of the illusion is that I am you and you are me. I invest hours a day to find my way back again to myself and to love. It has been very dark a very long time, but I am starting to see the light. According to the morphogenetic fields theory of Rupert Sheldrake, when 1 person has done the work, has solved the problem, for each following person it will become easier. So for you it will be easier than for me. For I have almost completed the work.

With all my heart I wish you well.

Emmie Williams, April 2009, comments:
Hello my friend,

The emptiness is not on the inside - rather the outside. The separateness you're feeling is strange is it not? You can feel the space between you and everyone else. Your life's lesson has come so very early - do you know how blessed you are? The space you feel is the opportunity to experience your life's lesson early in life. Most young people are too 'busy' and don't create the 'space' for this to occur as you have done. By the time, much later in life, they do create that 'space', most reject it simply because they are used to life they way they have always experienced it. See how blessed you are?

I feel that you need to be 'right' about your "hopes and aspirations" and actually have a fear of negative reactions. This is why you can't speak to your parents or friends about the way you feel and this is why you think of yourself as egotistical - above everyone else. Think again, because it's actually a lack of confidence within you. You are so young, it is to be expected. Not everyone agreed with Mohamed, Jesus and other prophets, why should they all agree with you?

So, think the things you want to think, speak the things you want to speak and be the way you want to be, without fear, and without the expectation of holding the relationships you now have in exactly the same way. Some friends and family may not agree with you when you express something different to how you have always been with them, but that is not to say that they won't love you anymore. In your new maturity you must learn to accept that and hold your love and respect for them as equals - unconditional love makes no judgments!

It is very important that you speak openly about the way you feel, and the way that you want to be, without fear. You already 'think it' and to 'speak it' will give you the confidence you need to actually 'do it' - to do what you want to do and to be the way you want to be. You fear the 'space' as unemotional - whereas the space is waiting to be filled with your desire.

The space around you is a bridge - treat it as such! In meditation imagine standing on one side of the bridge - imagine your aura, it feels strangely warming and it's beginning to expand - imagine the colours, they are unbelievably beautiful. Now, gently allow your aura to grow, spanning the bridge, enfolding not only your family and friends who are encouraging you but also a host of other people - some of them your future tutors and some your future students. Feel the joy in your heart, the freedom - let the tears flow as you slowly cross the bridge into the midst of that loving host - therein lies your destiny.

May the universe comfort you on your journey.

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