in the empty void
when lonely becomes alone
I find my healing
All life emerges from the dark void, the deep well of emptiness. Every birth and rebirth. All new ideas and creative endeavors.
The void can be a fertile place, if we can allow ourselves to get there and stay there for a time.
How ironic that I long for more time and space, yet going to the void, this empty place of non-doing, is often my last priority — the thing I save for when all my other work is finished. Or for when I’m too exhausted for it to matter.
I’ll fill my calendar with things to do, rather than be in the emptiness, even though the emptiness is what I crave.
Even if I’m not physically running around, I’ll seek to escape by letting the mind run.
Wayne Muller describes this as the fear of rest. It seems like a silly phrase at first: rest is what I desire, what I crave. How can I fear it? And then, in the late night hour, as I find myself in the throes of yet another evening of Revenge Sleep Procrastination, I recognize my fear.
I am afraid of sleep. Afraid to dream. Afraid to be in the empty space.
For years I have been cultivating a deliberate practice in embracing stillness and being in the empty space. And yet, my stillness often is not a true stillness.
My rest is not real. It is a pretense; a veneer masking a current of anxious thoughts. My mind runs scenarios and mulls the next blog post or the next task.
Rarely am I with myself, embodied in the current time and place.
And deep down I know that this is because what I fear most is myself.
Over the past decade of actively navigating the path of spiritual and personal growth, I have often noticed a particular recurring concern pop up.
Deep down, in a place I often fear to access, exists a part of me that wonders whether I am truly likeable.
What if I discover that I am not truly a good person? What if the real me is truly a bitch? What if I am not lovable, or even likable? What if, despite all assurances to the contrary, there really is something wrong with me?
What if I don’t like myself?
I don’t actually believe this is true, at least I don’t think it’s a belief. But there is a part within me that wonders if this might be true.
And so most of the time I endeavor to fill the emptiness — with tasks, projects, commitments, physical things, and endless thoughts.
Anything to avoid confronting myself.
This only results in increasing isolation and loneliness. I cut myself off from myself.
The more I try to escape loneliness, the more lonely I feel. And then the shame I feel about loneliness leads me to stay in hiding. So it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle.
I have moments when I access true emptiness.
Ironically, I have found this is when I facilitate healing. In the empty space, I shift from loneliness into aloneness.
I learn how to befriend myself.