Whether or not you are someone who claims to be actively seeking enlightenment, or whatever it is you believe enlightenment to be, it is not uncommon that catching a glimpse of it may raise unexpected feelings of angst. I've heard the eternal space of “I am” within each of us described in many ways. Some descriptions make it sound very appealing, words such as “Stillness”, “Spaciousness”, “Peace”, “Oneness” and “Awareness”. There are, however, other words that are equally as accurate that not only sound far less appealing, but may even induce feelings of fear and repulsion, such as “Nothingness” and “Emptiness”.
Every human being perceives the world in a way that is a unique combination of their personality, the way they have been socialised and conditioned, their life experience, their body and brain chemistry, their genetics etc. There is also an aspect of every soul incarnate as a human being that carries a unique vibrational signature and possibly even imprints left by past lives. At some point all these elements will come together in such a way that we become consciously aware of the eternal stillness within us.
Now you would think that this rendezvous with our truest selves would feel exciting and inviting and we’d feel like diving right in. But this is not always the case. Sometimes this space feels less like joy and peace and more like emptiness. Our minds and egos often reel against anything that feels threatening to them. They have been in control for so long that they are unlikely to surrender to any experience in which they are not calling the shots. They will more than likely put up a fight. Their weapon of choice is one with which we are all familiar, fear.
In an attempt to find more accessible words to describe the still awareness within us I came up with the phrase (also the title of this blog), “That which wants nothing”. This is another element of surrendering to the emptiness that may result in feelings of discomfort. We have been conditioned to believe that what motivates us as human beings to keep moving onward and upward is desire. The societies in which we live seem to be driven by desire. Step one is to want something and step two is to figure out how to get it. We believe that this is the force that keeps us moving and propels us forward. Given our conditioned belief that wanting is a large motivating factor in our lives, it is not surprising that entering into a space that wants no thing would feel threatening. And yes, it is true that depending on your personality type, stepping into the emptiness may result in some initial passivity. As the mind and ego drop away so do many of their desire or fear based incentives for activity. However, what will rise up in their place is creativity. At some point you will find yourself less motivated by wanting and more motivated by the divine creative fire that burns at the heart of the source of all that is. You will no longer be motivated into action by fear, and instead will be moved into action by grace.
My point is this, the flowery language sometimes used to describe enlightenment may seduce you into pursuing it, but in reality the experience of entering into the space where enlightenment dwells may feel frightening to the mind and ego. It can at first feel like emptiness and the angst the mind and ego experiences when faced with this may cause you to turn away. Try to move beyond this initial fear and instead choose to lean into the emptiness and eventually embrace it. Allow your experience of it to simply be what it is, and what you will find is so much more than what you imagined.