Poetry

Lotus Hands

Embracing Emptiness

During a particularly hard time in my life, I found myself feeling empty.
Completely empty and in this moment it felt like a very bad thing.
Extremely painful and unpleasant, something to avoid, to numb, to escape from. It was one of those haunting moments where one questions the meaning of their own existence and remembers that it is a choice to stay in this world.

In this moment I found some crazed inspiration to dive deep into the emptiness, to breath into it and make it an even bigger void. I thought I might be overwhelmed by doing this, but it seemed like my only option in the moment. I took a deep breath and filled the empty spaces inside me to expand them.
Instead of the pain intensifying, the pain subsided.
Instead of the depression deepening, it was replaced with deep peace and freedom.
When the emptiness was allowed to breathe, instead of being constrained by my fear, it changed from dead weight to an updraft carrying me beyond myself. I was able to open up to the emptiness that allowed me to empty myself of all the baggage that was preventing me from expanding into the new life that was opening up to me. This self that was feeling so much pain was just a structure, a snake skin that I needed to shed.

Of course this was painful and of course this was scary, but it didn’t mean that this was wrong, that it was something to resist. The moment I let this go, the emptiness became a gift that expanded me beyond my previous experience of what this life was all about. The huge amount of energy I had spent resisting emptiness became available as rush of bliss and freedom.
It became just the thing to lift me up from my depression as it was the same energy just redirected from my little being to something much larger than me. Each time I feel that old familiar tug of depression I understand that what is really happening is that I am settling for a limited idea of who and what I/we truly are.
That I need to breathe deep into the void as if the balloon of reality was deflating to a limited, collapsed illusion. Once filled up again I can drift through this world without getting tangled in it.

It takes constant maintenance to hold this space, but that is why a regular practice is so important. We can’t wait until we are entirely deflated to fill ourselves up. Well we can, but it is just far more challenging then doing daily maintenance. There is a tradition that will speak to you. Perhaps the zazen meditation from the Zen tradition, breath work with a modern twist, or the meditations and yoga practices, such as those in Kundalini Yoga, which have been especially helpful to me. Whatever it is that you do, do it. Do it every day, if only for a couple minutes, just to keep yourself filled up and just to create a better chance that your day will have more moments of happiness then otherwise. Imagine the beauty that would emerge in you after living life this way every day.

Lotus hands photo: Ingrid Nelson

About the Author

Taya MTaya Malakian is a poet, an artist, a yogini, a mother, and a minister/spiritual advisor. She strives to be a "Medicine Woman for the Modern World" bringing deep wisdom, ceremony and soulfulness into every aspect of daily life. She lives in Nevada City, Ca.View all posts by Taya M →