“There’s a hole in my vessel; a cave in my soul”- this is what Alyssa, a patient of mine answered me, while anxiously tapping his black converse against the ceramic floor of my clinic, when I asked. “How do I fill that hole, how do I satisfy my soul?” I paused for a second and all I could hear was the sound of her aggressive gum chewing. Despite 13 years of becoming a psychodynamic therapist, I still sat stunned with no response to her question, the words ran away from my tongue. Unfortunately, our time together ended, but not my endless questions. I drove back home and her question was still ringing around in my mind like an alarm that I couldn’t snooze. The way she laid down her emotionless statement, kept me up all night. I asked myself, “What can possibly cause someone to have a hole in their soul? What does that even mean? I needed an answer to that myself, I have always felt that there is a void in my life, one that is not filled with wealth or love.
Days turned to months and I couldn’t stop thinking about the words Alyssa told me. Those very words gave me a new perspective that I couldn’t face away from; the void that kept creeping up to me, one by one. I remember that one of my professors in college used to say that “your soul is the whole world”, so how can you live with a void in your soul? I started going to the library because I needed time to think and reflect. I was sitting on the red bean bag at the corner of the library, staring at the bookshelves stacked in aisle G. I was looking for an answer, a solution to my plight. While vigorously searching the psychology section, a book fell on my forehead then to the ground with a muffled thump. I immediately kneeled down and grabbed it from the carpet. The book was titled “Siddartha”, my curiosity drove me to flip the first page until I realized there was none left to flip. The book quenched my thirst for answers.Reading about Siddhartha’s mistakes was eye-opening as it made me realize that I,too, made the same mistakes as Siddartha did. The mistake of trying to find inner peace and happiness through worldly things; money, people,love, etc… but none lasted. I tried…I tried filling that hole in my life with money but the numbers on my paychecks carry only temporary relief. I thought that moving away from my parents, the new found freedom would fill that void that has been vexing me my entire life. I sought love from others, I sought everything but maybe that’s why I never found anything. I was searching for an answer to my question in the world yet I forgot to forgive those who hurt me, serve without waiting for payback, lose myself, get less concerned with my problems and more with other’s.
Siddhartha shined the light on the darkness inside me, it helped me find that missing puzzle piece in my life. I realized that by thinking about others around me, even my enemies, I fill the cave in my soul. After finally feeling sufficient and complete, I rushed to the phone and dialed Alyssa’s number. I couldn’t wait to meet up with her and give her the answer to her question and to thank her for encouraging me to go on that journey to find a full intellect; however, I was surprised yet glad to hear that she’s currently on her own journey to fill her vessel.