Facing the void is similar to what is referred to as a dark night of the soul. Don’t worry its not as ominous as it sounds. A dark night is generally regarded as a time of great personal challenge when everything seems to be lost. It’s as if there is a cloud hovering over head making it feel like the sun will never shine again. It is a time of struggle and challenge where we can feel tested repeatedly and as soon as one lesson is learned another one arrives on its heels. It is experienced alone and often no one else can relate to what you are going through and you must continue with your usual responsibilities and daily activities. Some people can spend much of their lives in a dark night and it is believed that these souls have incarnated to learn, grow and evolve very quickly.
“…it is believed that these souls have incarnated to learn, grow and evolve very quickly.”
I have never been alive for a time where collectively we are experiencing what I am calling facing the void. I’m calling it this because there are certain things about this time that are very different than the afore mentioned dark night. Right now there is an emptiness and uncertainty that is looming and everything has stopped. This is a collective and personal experience and we don’t know when it will end or what our world will look like when it’s over. Our everyday routines and jobs have evaporated or changed drastically. The streets and highways are empty and stores and businesses are shuttered and we all know what PPE is and we are wearing it!!!
“the very nature of life is uncertain.”
I’m wondering about the benefits of facing the void. To not know for a while. After all when we get right down to it the very nature of life is uncertain. We can make plans but they can be wiped away in an instant. We don’t like to think about the fact that we are not really in control. When we really think it through life itself is impermanent and fleeting and especially as we get older the days, weeks and months seem to fly by.
“Sometimes I thought I would be overwhelmed by the feelings.”
Oddly, part of my spiritual path has been about contemplating death. I know how this sounds to most people. All I can say is that I didn’t choose it. For some reason having to contemplate the certainty of death was something that chose me. Initially it was a real bummer and very scary especially as a fairly young woman but going through this has been one of my most valuable life lessons. Some times I thought I would be overwhelmed by the feelings. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it I would have a powerful realization or learning that would make it all worthwhile. For me it was my long dark night and a void that I couldn’t avoid but had to go through.
“we learn how to fly.”
During this time I met a spiritual teacher, Andrew Harvey, he wrote the book and coined the phrase “Spiritual Activism”, and I asked him what to do and how to deal with the knowing that our time is limited; that we will all come to the same demise and this is the inevitable truth. He said to me, “you can either get lost in the sadness and depression or you can dance.” I’ll never forget it and he pointed me to something very important. Am I going to wallow in depression or am I going to laugh, sing and dance with whatever time I am alive? Trusting that life is an adventure that we can not predict. It will twist and turn and surprise us over and over again.
When faced with the inevitability of the unknown and we don’t have solid ground under our feet this is when we learn how to fly. We learn essential skills for living a truly fulfilling and happy life when we face and go through what feels like the unfaceable. We don’t learn this when we are living out our everyday lives unchallenged and comfortable. It’s the extraordinary challenges to our very sense of self, our security, our routines that expand our knowing of who and what we really are. It’s true what they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It really does and we won’t go there unless we are forced to.
We are so much more than we consciously know and life offers us a profound opportunity for this learning.
This crisis is our once in a lifetime opportunity and I am hoping we can embrace it as the powerful teacher that it is.