Fulfillment through materialism is quite unachievable. It is only spiritual pursuits that can give you the sense of true fulfillment.
Depression is a phenomenon of discontentment. Why does this phenomenon exist? The reason is that every person is born with an unlimited desire for enjoyment. But, everyone has very limited capacity of fulfillment. It is this gap in human nature that makes people live in unrest.
Is this phenomenon due to a defect in nature? Not at all. It is due to man’s unawareness of himself that creates this problem. Self-awareness is the key to a contented life, while unawareness leads to all kinds of discontentment and restlessness.
To explain this phenomenon in the right way, we have to discover the scheme of this world as devised by the Creator. According to the creation plan, the domain of fulfillment in the material world is very limited; while, the domain of spiritual or intellectual fulfillment is so vast that words fail to express its endless boundaries.
If you want to achieve the state of fulfillment in the material world, then very soon you will discover that the scope here, is very limited. Food, clothes, fame, marital life, entertainment: each of these facets is associated with boredom. Even going on a holiday cannot give you fulfillment. A person goes on a holiday with hopes of de-stressing, but instead returns with ‘holiday stress’. This phenomenon of lack of fulfillment pertains to your physical being, but your spiritual being is free of such bindings.
Man has a dual personality; physical and spiritual. In physical terms, man’s body measuring no more than a few feet is very limited. Due to this limited being, man develops boredom as far as his physical domain in concerned. But, his spiritual or intellectual being has no limits. Your mind travels in an unlimited space. It travels by means of thinking, and there is no boundary for the thinking process. It continues its journey unfettered, by crossing all kinds of barriers.
For example, the activities of a businessman are limited to the material world. Due to this limited nature, he very soon develops boredom. The American business magnate Bill Gates rightly said: “Once you get beyond a million dollars, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger.”
Scientific pursuit on the other hand, is an example of travelling in the intellectual domain. This is the reason why scientists do not speak in the limited language of a businessman. For example, Newton towards the end of his life, said about himself: “I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Likewise, was the feeling of the great scientific mind Albert Einstein, when he said: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I do not know.”
Even greater than the scientific pursuit is the spiritual pursuit. The reason for this is very clear. According to Galileo Galilei, the domain of the scientific pursuit is the study of the quantitative aspect of nature; while the domain of the spiritual pursuit is the qualitative aspect of nature. And, it is a fact that the qualitative is far greater than the quantitative domain of the world.
One who adopts the spiritual quest for his intellectual activities is a spiritual scientist. A physical scientist may stop at a certain point, but for the spiritual scientist even the saying ‘sky’s the limit’ becomes
irrelevant. Fulfillment through materialism is quite unachievable. It is only spiritual pursuits that can give you the sense of true fulfillment.
[Source: Spirit of Islam, Jan 2015)