28 Feb 2021
Finding Love In The Middle Of Dark Emptiness
As of February, of this year, 2021, it has almost been a year in lockdown. When total isolation was first imposed I remained completely neutral about what was happening with the pandemic. Whatever this virus was and how it being handled by world authorities seemed surreal because I felt I had already been seeing the virus manifest in my client base for months preceding lockdown.
Prior to the mandatory shutdown I have been witness to a very disturbing trend for the last three years. Colds and flu like symptoms were starting out very mild. Symptoms cycled in a pattern of three days of feeling sick, three days of feeling fine. The cycle would go on for months at a time. After three or four months of struggling with these undulating symptoms some clients would suddenly manifest bronchitis or pneumonia. It didn’t take long to realize that this particular strain of cold and flu was mutating into something different every three days. This explained the three-day cycle of feeling fine then not fine with slightly different symptoms. And then the lockdown was implemented. We, like the rest of the world, complied and focused on staying isolated for the sake of our health, families, community and my clients. The cycle stopped showing up in clients.
Our city became a ghost town. Streets were empty and silent with nothing but the sound of the stop lights as they clicked through their programmed dance of green, yellow and red. The wind seemed louder. The bird songs felt melancholy and hollow somehow. I spent a lot of time sitting on our back deck listening to the silence. The world had become silent which was amazing in and of itself.
Like so many others our lives changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic lockdown. The centre closed, we moved, we became immersed in renovating our new home. We filled the quiet emptiness of isolation with tasks of busy making often working 12 hrs a day for weeks on end. We were grateful for the distractions. Neither my husband nor I do well with idleness. Most people don’t. But then, just as suddenly, we were done, and I was back to sitting in the silence. It felt empty, suffocating even reading a book became tortuous.
Sitting with emptiness feels dark, scary, cold and forbidding. My ego had a virtual heyday. The rants, random pathic thoughts, old hurts, shame and past deeds all happily resurfaced and danced around in my head. It was overwhelming. I struggled to turn it down. I tried to temper it with all the energetic exercises and tools I had learned over the years.
Then I realized that my ego was trying to help me by filling the void with fear and anxiety because I was more afraid of the emptiness. That awareness caused me to pause and regroup. What would happen if I allowed myself to enter the cave of emptiness, I wondered? What would happen if I ignored my ego rants and allowed myself to waddle into the darkness? What was so horrible about that darkness? Feeling empty?
I cleared the decks so to speak. I turned off the phone and my computer and I decided to sit with emptiness. It was a journey inward and I was curious to see where it took me. As I sat there in meditation, memories and thoughts would surface to be sure. My ego did its due diligence on that path inward as I sat with the hollow emptiness and darkness in the recesses of my mind. When a memory or story surfaced I would acknowledge it but not engage it. I just allowed myself to continue to sit in silence imagining myself walking inwards into darkness inside my mind’s eye. Breathing, waiting, moving my physical body when necessary to ease the cramping in my legs or back. As I sat there I remembered a teaching from Thich Nat Hahn. He said when one is in meditation they can focus on the breath and say the following: when you breathe in say, “I have arrived” (aware of the moment). When you breathe out say, “I am home” (refuse in the island of self). It helped to temper the fear I was struggling with while I sat with the feeling of emptiness inside the darkness of my mind that I was visualizing.
Every day I would practice for about 15 to 20 minutes a day. After about a week of this little mission I had created for myself something magical happened. The darkness inside my minds eye shifted into a shade of soft grey. It was like a fog starting to lift. As it softened the fear I was feeling inside of the darkness started to melt away. Then just a suddenly a feeling of love suddenly burst out from inside my heart. In that moment I realized that it was not the darkness I feared nor was it the irrational fear that emptiness was just a pit that could swallow me whole. The darkness, fear and emptiness was a barrier that had me afraid of accepting self love. The love that Jesus teaches about in the Bible, “learn to love yourself as you would love others.”
In that moment of awareness, it dawned on that the wall of emptiness and darkness that I was experiencing was self produced. It was a manifestation of a belief I had created to justify feeling separate. This wall of fear was a false belief that had become a tool that my ego used as proof to keep me separate from divine love. It was a truth that I believed but in reality it was just one great big lie.
What this taught me was how important it was to be able to go within and allow myself to be present with the dark emptiness I felt. By doing so I was able to break down the barrier and allow myself to RECEIVE the Divine love the already existed within me. Love doesn’t only come from without, it also needs to be allowed to radiate out from within. God or Universal consciousness is only love. That energy lives in our hearts, souls, and minds if we are willing to sit with the emptiness. It waits for each of us in the emptiness.
The mystics teach that when there is an event in one’s life, either personally or globally, it is an opportunity to grow or to wither. What if at a universal level of consciousness, the pandemic’s is providing us the opportunity to drop down into the silence of our minds and face the inner fear of emptiness and darkness so that we can discover self-love? How would that change the world, I wonder?
Atherton Drenth is the author of Intuitive Dance. Building, Protecting & Clearing Your Energy (Llewellyn Worldwide), Following Body Wisdom and the Art of Intuitive Journaling. Atherton is a Clairvoyant, Medical Intuitive and Holistic Energy Practitioner facilitating transformational healing for her clients. She has been extensively trained and certified as a Medical Intuitive and Holistic Energy Practitioner. She has been in private practice since 2000. She is also a compassionate teacher committed to helping others develop their full intuitive potential through yearly workshops. She has a private practice in Ottawa, Ontario.