In this fast-paced world, it is easy to feel pressured to keep moving forward. Being busy gives us the illusion that we are accomplishing something, and that stillness is stagnation.
As humans, we feel the need to fill in the emptiness…we do this to our homes when we put up some art on an empty wall, or a vase with flowers on top of an empty table. And whilst these things are beautiful to look at, they have no real purpose except to fill in what we perceive to be empty.
We do this to our homes and we do this to our lives. If we lose a job we need to find a new one right away, if a relationship ends we look for another one or we distract ourselves with friends and activities, and if we have free time we binge-watch Netflix.
There is nothing wrong with having a job, a relationship, being with friends, being active or watching Netflix, the problem is when we do these things to fill in the emptiness left by something else, and because it feels uncomfortable to sit in the void and be with ourselves.
We often become so identified to these things that when we lose them we feel the urge to find something else to be defined by. We believe our jobs, our partners, our families and even our material things are part of our identities, and therefore, the emptiness or the lack of those things feels like a loss of self.
Again, I’m not saying that is wrong to want these things, and I am not suggesting to get rid of any of them. What I am suggesting is to allow ourselves to sit in the void, in the emptiness, in the stillness, and find out who you are without them.
Why is the Void a good thing?
In a nutshell, the void brings clarity. And with that said I could finish writing now as I do believe that is the best way I can put it, but I will elaborate.
You see, even though we have the illusion of being identified by all those things, it is indeed just an illusion. So, who are we? Who are you?
Before you freak out and start looking for another job, have you stopped to think about what really went wrong in the previous one? Is this really the career for you? Is this really what you want to be doing?
Before you get into another relationship, have you really decided what you want and need from the next one? Are you ready to give and receive love? If you get into a new relationship too quickly, are you just going to unconsciously repeat the same cycles?
Before you turn on the TV, did you reflect on how your day has been so far, do you know how your mind and body are feeling?
These are just examples, feel free to look at your own life and analyse where and when you are avoiding the void and when embracing is needed the most.
Being in the void means being still, not necessarily sitting still but to be still in your mind. Embracing the void means being present with yourself, listening to yourself, and letting yourself tell you what it is that you truly need and want.
In a way, this topic can very much relate to the practice of mindfulness or presence. If you want to know more about this please read my post about Mindfulness.
My own experience with the void
I have such a thirst for life and for experiencing new things, that I used to be in a rush to do everything, feel everything, experience everything. My worse fear in life has always been to not live it to the fullest, and for that reason, I would get anxious and severely depressed when I felt like I was being kept (by circumstances) from doing so.
Being an empath means that I get easily overstimulated and drained, and the need to recharge is essential for me. But even though taking time off felt good it also felt extremely frustrating!
“Life keeps going and people keep on living whilst I’m recharging the batteries, why can’t I just always be on the go??” – It’s what I used to think. ‘Well, if I’m going to sit here I might as well just watch TV” – more stimulation!!
But whether you are an empath or not, or you physically feel like you need to recharge or not, the void is important.
Life literally kept pushing me into the void and I kept pushing to get out of it until it just couldn’t be ignored any longer.
I was working a job I didn’t like, going to places I didn’t enjoy, making decisions out of other people’s opinions and letting myself be thrown around by life circumstances that I thought I couldn’t change! I wasn’t really living, I just thought I was.
And even though this realisation was powerful, it didn’t mean I had learned the whole lesson. I felt like in order to detach from what was, I had to find out first what was going to be so I could hold on to that. So, instead of allowing myself to look at the blank wall and accept it for what it was, I went on to hang another painting.
At some point I had to accept: I’m no longer where I was, but I have no idea where to go next, and that’s ok. I am no longer who I used to be, but I am not yet who I’m meant to be, and that is ok too.
I surrendered to the void, I had already let go of who I was before a long time ago but I also had to let go of who I thought I was going to be. And although it was scary at the beginning, it was sooooo much easier than swimming against the tide.
I set comfortably in the void, with no judgment, no expectation, in the dark, and eventually, a light was switched on. And no, it wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, it was the torch I was carrying with me all along. I was so distracted looking for the light somewhere else I couldn’t see that I had one with me the whole time.
Right now, I’m still in the void, and you know what? I’m okay to be here! I am slowly beginning to know myself, one step at a time. I’m letting myself be guided through the dark by my own light, following my own intuition and navigating life by my own compass.
And when I’m ready to come out of the void, I will know exactly where to go! I won’t need external validations or anyone/anything to tell me who I am or how much I am worth, because I will already know.
Tomorrow never knows
Usually, before I write a post I do some research to compliment the idea I already have, and when I Googled “surrender to the void” the lyrics from a Beatles song popped up.
Funny enough I had never heard this song before, but the lyrics describe exactly what I’ve been trying to explain in this post, so I’m sharing it with you to make it easier to understand.
Tomorrow never knows – The Beatles
Turn off your mind relax and float downstream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining
Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being
Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing
And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving
So play the game “Existence” to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post and that it made sense to you.
Please let me know if you ever experienced the void, whether intentionally or not.
Thanks for reading!
Other posts you might like:
Lessons from 2019
Mindfulness Practices: How to be more mindful and why?
5 things I have learned from Meditation