Call of the Void

Much to the dismay of the spiritual seeker, one gradually comes to recognize that enlightenment is nearly synonymous with death or suicide. Meditation is a process of slowly crawling to the edge of a cliff. Day by day we are clearing out space in our minds. Emptying out the self, or default mode network.

One “method” that I would employ during meditation was something I called seizing the gap. I would start to notice gaps in my thinking, gaps in the sense of me, where Jeff would be gone entirely. So I would do my best to “seize”, or enter, these gaps. I would just sit in this emptiness, allowing anything that came up to just fall away immediately. This sense of emptiness, these gaps, would begin to take me over. I could feel my self dropping off a cliff.

It is a bit terrifying, letting yourself fall into the void. The French call it l’appel du vide, the call of the void. It is that feeling of total loss of control, of looking over the edge of a cliff and having that urge to let go. Of course, the mind comes back in, tells you to come back from the edge.

If this is the edge of an actual cliff in real life, then this warning from the mind is pretty useful of course. But if you come to face the void of emptiness in meditation, I would highly recommend taking the jump. Let the self go, hurl yourself into the abyss, as Terence McKenna said, and find out that it is a featherbed.

It takes some time to empty out the mind to the point where these gaps will be large enough to enter, but it will happen. It feels like you are stretching out the container of consciousness inside of you – being able to hold more of nothing, if that makes any sense. For the ego or default mode network, this is death. My heart would be racing, it would take every bit of my energy to “push” myself into the void and not instinctively step back from the edge of the cliff, returning to the safety of the “me”. Each time I could stay in the void a bit longer though, and I would come out of it feeling like I was born into existence for the first time.

The final jump is enlightenment, total ego-death. It is entering the void entirely, letting this identity go for good, a return to the ocean. Thy will be done.

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