We can use this time to be with ourselves without waiting for something more to happen…because this moment IS our life. We tend to wait for what we imagine is more important than this moment…for example right now, instead of just waiting for the class to start, imagining that this moment is empty, we can use it as a wonderful opportunity to connect with something very deep and beautiful: to connect with ourselves, to be alone with ourselves, to spend some time with ourselves or, simply said, To Be.
Many of the activities we find ourselves doing are ways of escaping. We are very much afraid of the sense of emptiness that is ‘apparently’ created in moments when we don’t have something in particular to do. 99% of the entertainment industry is basically used as a way to cover up this sense of emptiness. At any moment and in any place, we have access to our cell phones, one of the best ways we have now to get away from those little moments; and it’s going to be more and more as the telephones are starting to come with better internet connection and so people will have more access to TV or movies or other kind of entertainment. Amazing technology…perfect ways to distance ourselves from ourselves.
If we don’t have a telephone or a cigarette, or a candy or a pastry, or someone to flirt with—all common methods we use to hide our sense of emptiness—then what do we do? We start to ‘think’. But I put the word think in brackets because it is not really thinking. Thinking is an amazing ability of our brain for understanding, but what we often do, has nothing to do with that. What we do is more like dreaming, like the spinning of our thoughts without any aim, control or result. It is an ‘activity’ that takes a lot of our energy and that often turns our real thinking—the possibility to understand—upside down, by creating wrong associations and ideas. For example, it is in these day-dreaming moments when many of our unnecessary fears, worries and anxieties are created by cooking up (inventing) all sorts of accidents and dramas. Or sometimes we enjoy these moments because it is during this time when we can be anybody and anything we want: we can become Superman, we can say and do in our minds what we were not able to say or do in reality, we can create all sorts of fantasy worlds just to please ourselves…and although it is generally viewed as something positive, in reality it is not. It becomes very difficult to distinguish what is real from what is imaginary; we stop knowing what is genuine and what is only a product of our thoughts. This can become a very destructive activity. Because it is so simple to do, it doesn’t cost anything and is always available, we become addicted to it and tend to choose it over reality, over what is actually happening…over our life.
Another common way for us to hide our sense of emptiness is by means of addictions. An addiction is a compulsion—a force—that makes us engage in one or more specific activities, despite harmful consequences. One can become addicted to almost anything, the most common ones being to drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, but it can be work, food, sugar, TV, sex, computers, money, power, talking, dramas, pleasures, anything. Most, if not all, of our addictions are ways to cover this sense of emptiness we feel inside.
A different ‘cover-up’ can be our love relationships. Many of our relationships are more about concealing our emptiness than about real love. Of course there is often this chemistry, the irresistible sense of attraction we all feel when we fall in love, but this pull has very little to do with love. It’s a physical, instinctive—natural and inborn for sure—but much more related to the propagation of the species than to love. This sense of attraction makes us feel so good the moment when it happens, we believe that this experience—this ‘love’— is finally going to fulfill us and so we completely go for it. But what happens when, for any reason, the fulfillment stops? We stop loving; and sometimes this kind of ‘love’ may even turn into hate. This is the kind of love we often find in movies, and so it is the kind of ‘love’ we are most familiar with, but that is not love. What can turn into hate is never love but a sense of emptiness desperately looking for a way to be fulfilled. To experience real love one has to be independent of the subject. When real love is expressed, we are not so worry whether or not we are loved in return; we simply love. Love is not a feeling; it is a state of being. It is what we actually are.
To really communicate deeply with the world—and by world I mean everything: our job, our relationship, our possessions, money, children, etc, etc—we first have to have a deep sense of independence from the world; otherwise we will use the world to cover our emptiness. But if we feel so uncomfortable even during those little moments of open space, those moments when we don’t have anything in particular to do, then, how can we relate correctly to the world?
In the classes, because they tend to be slow—at least compared to the fast-paced life we live in our modern society—there is always the possibility to experience this apparent emptiness, to come in contact with it, to face it. Then, with the help of the environment of the class, instead of rejecting it as we often do, we accept it, we welcome it; and if we keep at it for some time—and not only during the classes but also during our every-day-little-moments—something amazing, something beautiful may happen…we discover that in reality this apparent emptiness is actually immensely full! We begin to see that we don’t really need the outside world to complete us, that we don’t depend on the world. Instead we see that our own being is full. We realize we are already complete.
When this happens, we stop begging from the world and instead the world becomes a place for joy. We stop hoping to gain something from it, and instead we start to give. And it is only when we are able to give, that we become ready to receive.