Feeling Empty? Don’t Try Filling the Void
Feeling empty is viewed negatively in the west. We constantly distract ourselves not to have to deal with boredom. For some people though, the feeling of emptiness can’t be turned off. It becomes predominant, no matter what they do.
In eastern philosophy, feeling empty is a spiritual milestone. It’s seen as a blessing, a doorway to freedom. When you feel empty, you become receptive. I know, it doesn’t necessarily feel good. Don’t worry, feeling empty isn’t the final destination. It’s a vehicle for growth.
Your life is governed by subconscious desires and assumptions. The moment you decide to take responsibility for them, you start living consciously. Walking as the leader of your own existence is rewarding, but also challenging.
To stop living as a victim of the circumstances, you need independence ; freedom. And you’ll never be free unless you learn to deal with feeling empty. The feeling of emptiness can be disconcerting at first, but developing a healthy relationship to it will lead to an empowered life.
Emptiness is the space that takes over when you stop distracting yourself. It is what you wake up to in the morning. It is the last thing that happens before you fall asleep. It usually goes unnoticed, but is always in the background. It’s the fundamental state you return to when you stop doing stuff. When emptiness comes to your attention, you’ll start feeling empty. And if you can’t deal with this feeling of emptiness, your whole life will be affected.
In a world that encourages activity, emptiness is considered a waste. The more productive you are, the better you feel. Every unoccupied minute has to be maximized. No space left. Our mediocre school system teaches you that if you don’t get stuff done, you’re worthless.
By filling our time with commitments and distractions, we tend to forget what’s behind them. We condition ourselves to despise the space between our activities. Our inactive default state – space – becomes something to get away from. We try to escape from feeling empty inside. We might learn to meditate, but even this can be reduced to an activity. Ten minutes of meditation are added on the schedule. Another element on the to-do list.
This habit of constantly filling up space makes us dependent. Since we can’t deal with lack of movement, we lower the bar for what we accept in our actions and thoughts. Everything becomes better than nothing. We readily accept mediocrity. At least when doing mediocre activities, we don’t feel so empty.
Ever went for groceries when starving? What happened? You ended up buying too much junk. Because of your hunger, you lowered the bar and bought food you normally wouldn’t have. You were victim of your own discomfort.
What about people who seek an intimate relationship no matter what? They lower the bar and end up with the crappiest people. They tolerate poor relationships because it’s better than feeling empty and alone.
Your life is dominated by similar patterns. Every action you take arises from a desire to change the way you feel. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, when you’re uncomfortable with feeling empty you’ll constantly act out of neediness, like a hungry animal. You’ll seek to fill your half-full cup with external events. Your actions will be reactive, and your whole environment will reflect that.
It’s possible to reverse the conditioning and live from a ground of satisfaction and peace. A feeling of emptiness could become your refuge. Ever wondered how life would be if you were comfortable with … nothing? Imagine how simple it would be. No more need to fill up your free time. No more fear of waiting anywhere. No more anxiety of being alone.
You wouldn’t tolerate bullshit anymore. Your actions would be authentic and clear. You would be confident, knowing that you can always deal with the worst ; feeling empty.
Life exists outside of doing stuff. Stop covering it and let emptiness break you and shine through. You’ll see that space is the gateway to creative living. Emptiness will break the boundaries of your mind. Use the feeling of emptiness to liberate yourself, and walk out as a free human.
If you’re faced with long-lasting and overwhelming feelings of emptiness, you should also get professional counselling. Here’s an article on feelings of emptiness that provides more info on the topic.
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