I’ve been feeling saturated.
So I went looking for space — within myself and around myself.
Instead of going to my usual silent meditation course, I decided to go to an ashtanga yoga retreat. Apart from being meditation in motion, it actually creates physical space within you: through the stretching of the body but also through the expanse of breath that plays a primary role in this practice.
Strangely, part way through the retreat I realised that I wasn't looking for space within myself. I realised that I was struggling to embrace the emptiness I felt inside.
I have hardly written anything in the past 6 months. Was it because I was chatting almost daily to a friend — albeit about nothing extremely important or exciting or groundbreaking — but just having someone to talk to meant that I didn't need to talk to myself through my writing? Perhaps.
Or was it because I had been caught in a massive storm of my ego shedding another layer, tormented by the feelings of being loved and not held, loved and not honoured, loved and left over and over?
Or was it because — my sense of self was disappearing altogether?
Emptiness can be strangely disquieting.
One might think that a lack of something means there's less to think about, less to worry about, but in fact negative space leaves a tremendous space for anxiety. Worry about what's missing... like an unfulfilled hunger or an indefinite wait for something essential.
But creating space around myself — by flying to a mountaintop in northern Italy and surrounding myself with quiet, turning off my phone and announcing to the group that I may choose to practice silence — helped me realise that I didn't need space but embrace... I needed to let go of the waiting, let go of the hunger, let go of the desire the craving for something undefined and unclear and simply embrace, fully accept, the negative space.
In emptiness lives all potential. The universe is full of nothing. That nothing holds all life and energy and existence.
And it holds all freedom.
Freedom from being, from belonging, from needing to fulfill a predetermined purpose, a predestined fate. Freedom from existence itself.
I don't mean death, or the end of life. I simply mean the end of .. everything that isn't here and now.
I wanted space and instead I found lightness — amongst beautiful light beings that shared laughter and the experience of expansion of being individually and together.
And instead of spending the week in silence, I spent it in peace and happiness — practicing yoga and meditation, enjoying the sauna and jacuzzi, eating to my hearts content, in the company of people I never knew before, in beautiful nature.
The purest and simplest art of living.
I learnt how beautiful life can be in its simplicity — yet how difficult in its simplicity.
Just like ashtanga.
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