Healing Emptiness

I remember years of watching vast New Mexico summer sky emptying into a fierce sunlit blueness and then filling with the blessings of clouds, veils of rain, lightning, rainbows: storms moving around and through the sky bowl by their own breath, pouring out gifts to dusty ground. Watery hands brushed the face of my world. I remember the sharp smell of fire and water in the air, the cleanness of emerging sun shining on the wet ground later, the earth flowing, then flowering.

I remember a recent weekend of ocean side camping, watching the peaceful foggy emptiness of clouds darkening the night sky, then waking two hours before dawn on the last day to find the darkness filled to bursting with stars.

Emptiness does not stay so, either in the physical or spiritual realms. The cycles of nature reflect the greater reality of which the physical world is an inseparable part. The "scientific" truism that "nature abhors a vacuum" also reflects spiritual and inner truth. The miracle and blessing of being human includes our ability to move through our own inner voids and emptiness and to find our creativity, our core. These things are not the same as void and emptiness, which are only a setting for them. We fill the voids as a natural part of the cycle — to freeze into one part is unnatural as neither happens without the other. While many spiritual traditions acknowledge the power of void and chaos, most also move past them, or see them as the birthing place or as a place of death which precedes birth in a repeating (and ritualized) cycle.

At times it is easy to confuse the pain and fear that goes with loss with the emptiness and void which precedes renewal and growth. The confusion can perpetuate that void and prevent healing. That can lead to a halt in the natural cyclic movement and can turn the power of a person's inner emptiness into something destructive and unhealthy. Many times this is unintentional, of course, especially if brought on by physical or emotional crisis, but in the same way that nature prompts things to move into a vacuum and fill it, the empty one draws life and energy to herself — sometimes in a material way (like hoarding or overeating) or sometimes by draining other people's energy. A very few perpetuate this condition within themselves with intent, sensing power there, however unhealthy it may be, and choosing to use it against others, or not knowing there are better alternatives. They choose not to step back into the natural cycle. (This is commonly known, especially when done with intent, as psychic vampirism.) Extend this situation to its analogous presence within the spiritual realm and you can get a glimpse of truths behind the multiplicity of stories in our culture about positive or negative spiritual entities. (Yes, they're there.) I see positive as implying acceptance and movement within the natural and spiritual cycles of death, creation, and rebirth. I see negative as the frozen, locked, vampiric energy which exploits only the power of the void and will not move past it.

And we have only to look once more at the world around us (and inside us) to know that the enormous void is blessed with uncountable stars and worlds, including our own. Everything evolves and changes, but it all lives. And there is always the Light, outside in the void and within our own emptiness.

I offer a meditation. Go into your own emptiness. Walk into it as though you were descending a spiral staircase, solid steps under your feet moving you into a deep cavern. Move into a flat place and quiet yourself. The walls disappear until there is only dark. Pass into that dark place. Maybe you've been afraid to look at it, let alone be in it. Let yourself be enfolded into it.

Become aware. Maybe you will feel a velvety feel to the darkness. Or hear a sound not quite a sound. Or sense a whisper of air. In the emptiness you can hear a faint, then growing, cosmic heartbeat. It becomes louder. It is the heartbeat of the Mother.

Open your inner eyes. You may have thought they were open, but now you find another opening, a lifting of the veil. At first you see nothing. Then, a spark. Then another. Stars are born, springing all around you. You see their light. You can almost hear them singing.

Look into the Center. You may see the Goddess there, using Her hands to weave the stars into this place. She looks at you and invites you to approach. You do so. Then somehow Her hands and your hands are overlapping and become one. You sit where she sits; you, too, birth the stars through your fingers.

When it is time, let the vision fade. Return to the stairs you used to descend into the dark. Climb them, feel them under you. Retrace your steps. Emerge into a sunlit world again, and feel the world around you. And when you can, watch: even the empty sky is filled with life and light. And so are you.

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