Emptiness Fills Me Up

When did I notice that this could be so powerful? It all started as an experiment, for me. A way of taking a break from the freak-out party in my head that was planning and calculating and feeling pain- pain from injury and moving and missing friends. I began meditating because, I thought, “Why not?” I took study breaks from anatomy and would sit cross-legged in the grass outside the Medical School library. I would sit for 20 or 30 minutes and just breath. Feel the sun on my face, feel the air entering my nostrils and my belly moving out and in. Most of my life is dedicated to filling every last spare minute with productive activity: school studies, reading books about interesting stuff, trips to the gym to lift weights, cooking fresh food from farmers’ market veggies, hanging out with friends. As I get caught up in this racing around lifestyle, though, what I’ve learned is that instead of filling me up, I am giving energy to these things. As I sit, I am gaining back some of my human capacity. I am cultivating stillness and allowing myself to feel balance. I have had periods where I have tiptoed too close to the edge and for me meditation helps to keep me from not going overboard on doing. It helps me to slow down and remember what is important in my life broadly. It allows me to enjoy my interests and relationships and learning and adventuring. I need the emptiness. It fills me back up.

We are all asleep in this drunken routine of life and what does it take to wake up? It seems near impossible to pause once you are on the wheel: work, school, leisure time- must travel, must go out, must consume, must engage in distractions. That is part of the magic in meditating (or serious illness/injury for that matter). It inserts a forced pause in automaticity. Time out. Stop, Look, Listen.

I seem to recall a similar feeling during lucid dreaming; it shows you the transcendence that is possible when awareness is brought to this world seemingly beyond our control. You do have control of your life. You do. You have choices every second of every hour of every day. But, I know, it is very hard to step back, to really remove yourself from the pulls of your environment, peers, family, self, desires and take a good hard look at what you want and who you are. To see where you are you have to stop. Sometimes, that stopping is the stuff of tragedy. Ultimately, though, I am finding that this emptiness fills me up.

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