Why the sudden, silent space inside you is such a good thing
Feeling nothing, or empty, feeling like we have a great echoing space inside can be terrifying.
The black chasm that opens up can threaten to swallow us whole.
I’m nothing in here.
It’s one reason we scramble to fill the void with noise, activity and often meaningless tasks to avoid hearing our own voices coming back to us from the blank walls of our consciousness.
If I may, here is another way to frame it.
Rather than suck suffering out of emptiness, what an extraordinary opportunity to see such openness as new territory to be filled. An expanse to learn how to see and sense and experience the wide open nature of consciousness rather than to succumb to mental agoraphobia.
Some years ago I traveled to Vietnam. I had researched Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park, a place of great caves, one of the world’s new wonders. I had to see them.
While there are many to explore, I took the extreme route. It was a day’s very difficult hike through dense forest, thick undergrowth and steep hills, crossing cold streams and more cold streams. When we arrived, the cave in the distance didn’t look like much. Until the tiny specks that my guide pointed out were identified as human.
The roof was so high, the expanse so vast that every reference point was gone. We camped that night on the edge of a cold underground lake that we’d had to cross. I lay on my pad with my head outside the tent flap, staring into the dark, knowing that the black vastness above me wasn’t sky. It was teeming with life, not stars.
Staring into the blackness overhead, full of wonder, surrounded by portents and possibilities, I had the chance to explore, as we so rarely do, the innermost corners of my consciousness. No signal, no phone, no chatter, but for the bats which filled the cave’s upper limits, and the soft lapping of tiny waves from the underground lake.
There are many, many ways to explore, and heading into the wild is just one of them. For me, being in the wild also allows me to explore the wilderness within. The vastness of what lies inside is, for me, an invitation to shrug on my spiritual backpack and take a hike. Who knows what I might find?
When you and I start to question what we think we know or understand, we may have a sudden realization that pulls the rug out from under our feet. We may find ourselves peering into that space. If THIS isn’t true, then what is? If all that I’ve been led to believe isn’t true then what is?
For some this is where we turn to anything but the extraordinary openness that has suddenly created availability. An internal nation to explore, not a stuffy closet of notions that we avoid clearing out.
Space. With space we can explore. Soar. Question. Query. Tear down, rebuild.
So much potential.
Again and again this year has given each of us in his own way a chance to do just that: make space. Clear our hearts, minds and souls. Learn to see differently.
When you and I choose to see differently, we create the capacity for new ideas, new ways of seeing, being to take hold.
Of course it can be terrifying. That’s why many of us won’t do it.
This is Goddess work. This is letting go of the notion that we are alone, that we aren’t worth loving, or we aren’t worth an investment in our health, whatever lie we hold fast to which tangles the garden of the self with choking weeds.
Space is the Goddess’ playground. Given free rein and an open heart, she can paint the blank walls, fill the corners with flowers, send in the clowns or the naked dancing men (or whatever, that’s my personal preference).
Hard to do that when the grounds inside us are fertilized with fear. Roots leap up, grab us by the proverbial ankles and hold us down, immobilized by what-ifs and I-can’ts.
Rather than compulsively try to fill that emptiness with music or activity or to-do lists, sex or hoarding skin products or online shopping, for once,
My Medium buddy Ann Litts wrote this the other day about the physical position that I was in (albeit with eyes staring upwards) in the Phong Nha Caves:
You may not be in a cave, but it may feel that way. If you can square away your life to make room for room, for space, taking this pose to pause long enough to relax into that nothingness, that potential that is our great echoing inner world, anything can happen.
Don’t try to attain anything.
Just…..hold your attention on the space.
Listen to what lands.
In the great echoing emptiness, you might find it is quite full.
Full of love. Portents. Full of grace.
The emptiness is an invitation, not a threat.
Who knows who and what you might discover?
How might the Goddess fill your cup?
With thanks to Ann Litts as always for the inspiration.