Emptiness. Sitting with alone/loneliness. The crevice of space. Facing the Other, as Self.
We all know the value in facing our fears, confronting challenging parts of ourselves, doing “the work,” as we call it in my circles. Distilling the lessons from the parts of ourselves we don’t like so much, working to accept these as integral parts of our whole human package.
But what about the nothingness? What about dropping the interventions, the practices, the processing…
What happens when we release the active process of “working through something”?
When we are incorporating deep shadow or are letting ourselves see a new layer of unconscious patterning, we can get caught up in the “doing” of things to make ourselves feel better. Thinking, moving, painting, talking, bringing in tools like breath work, visualization or Tarot cards….
To support my healthy transition through divorce years ago, I enlisted the help of an amazing healer and body worker. Through acupuncture, movement, Reiki and the Rosen Method, she helped me access my inner resources and repeatedly calmed down my nervous system from the emotional trauma of this life-altering event.
To illustrate the active versus passive experience, let me magnify a particular aspect of my experience with my breath. I had been doing Forrest Yoga, a style of yoga that incorporates your Uijayi breath explicitly while moving in and out of poses. To breathe in this manner, you strongly breathe in and out, forcing the air up and down your nostrils and throat, creating a deep, slow wind sound. It feels great! You send deep relaxing oxygen to your entire body.
The key word is force. The Rosen Method is a gentle kind of touch massage of the body that encourages the breath to move throughout the entire body, naturally, without force. Many of us, while breathing enough to survive, do not breathe to full capacity nor do we inhabit our entire bodies, head to toes, with this deep nourishing breath. We “chest breathe” keeping our breath limited to the upper part of our bodies. This is an unconscious way we protect ourselves from feeling overwhelming feelings, and is connected to maintaining stress and an unhealthy nervous system.
As my body healer gently stroked my abdomen and back, she noticed that she was blocked (by me) from my natural breath. All she could feel was this forced Ujjayi breath that I had made a routine practice. I was actively forcing myself to breathe with this over-breath layer of the Ujjayi in order to calm myself down.
The problem with this was that it wasn’t really healing my true breathing pattern, just forcing a “better” pattern over the old one. She encouraged me to let the Ujjayi breath go, so that we could feel my own “wild” breath, however shallow, disjointed or weak it may be. From that place, we could tend to my needs.
Allowing ourselves to be “wild” or free from techniques allows for the realness and rawness of who we are to surface for true transformation.
This is the difficult part, regardless of whether you are new to therapy, meditation or transformative practices. Facing the terror of the vulnerable, needy, unknown, de-skilled, child-like parts of Self is largely what we all brace ourselves against. This does not get easier with experience! It continues to rock us to the core! Often it hurts more the less numb and more embodied we are.
Being human, a fully-feeling, embodied human aches at times. Emotional waves crash through us. It may feel like we are being charged off course, but this is never the case! With each major wave, we are being re-calibrated, re-aligned to our best, most natural selves. Then, when we see who we are, we can let in the transformation. Waves of emotional experience are the nectar of truly being human. It is the gift of the Universal Source. Celebrate your humanness.
The gateway to the Divine is in sitting within your deep simple Self in stillness.
For out of Nothingness, true union can arise. Sitting with yourself as a truly humble human will open up the Divine nature inside of you. You, without the bling, the skills, or the archetypal layer of interpretation.
Like a small animal, a rabbit or baby deer, become passive at times, to open up to receiving the bounty of What Truly Is…. Know that the stream of love from the Divine calls to you through this portal of Emptiness.
Like an abandoned 1970’s phone booth with the phone removed, you enter in confusion, sitting with the discrepancy of a by-gone era of communication, only to receive the most profound message of all from the Nothingness.
Blessed Be. Baruch Atah Adonai.