Nov 10, 2011

Void

This morning as I was sitting and trying to meditate, the whole thought of void got into my head. Yes yes, I know you are not supposed to think about things when you meditate, but isn’t that what happens exactly when we try to meditate. Given that I was trying to catch up on some Vipasana, I let the thought fly by, since that is what you do in Vipasana. Let the thought run its course, instead of struggling to suppress it or ignore it. I wanted to see how far the thought process would go, and what other thoughts spring up as a result of this one.

Well, for once, I had questions – Do I have a void in my life? Did I ever have a void in my life? What did I do when I faced the void? What exactly is this void? And as with what happens with all the questions that come to my mind, being the little Miss Know-it-All that I am, I also had the answers. Well, the answers might not work for everyone, and for sure do not apply to all the situations in my own life, but they do solve most of the emotional puzzles I faced so far.

To start with , I think that needs and void are inter-connected. Sometimes it so happens that you would’ve never known that there was an emotional need and it would’ve been getting filled via some means. But when the means suddenly stop, the void appears.
Basically void is this huge need that has to be expressed. A feeling in your mind which has to be expressed. It could be love for a spouse/significant other, maternal feelings, love for a pet, wanting to serve the society , love for a sibling, a deep dependence on friends… etc.

What we do with the void determines our personality. Some of us might go berserk at the void and try to fill it up with material possessions. Some might turn to religion and look for all the answers in religion. Some might turn to spirituality. Some might just become depressed.
Rebound relationships, adopting a kid, a mid-life crisis, an extra marital affair, babysitting a pet, trying to replace the sibling with similar people or looking to replace the sibling’s place, getting new friends, an endless string of relationships with people of the opposite gender, immersing oneself into their career… these could all be examples of how one gets over the void.

I was thinking about how I tried filling up my share of voids. Back when I was much younger and faced with a void, I tried filling it up in a stupid manner. Something that I have never been proud of.
But even as I grew older , I noticed that every time a person left my life, I tried filling it up with another person. Sometimes more than one depending on how important that person is/was.
And when I look back, think and make comparisons on the original person and the replacements (which is a terrible thing to do , btw, both for the original and the replacement person), there have been times when I was happy at having done that. And sometimes I beat myself to it, at how I could’ve replaced the person X with the non-deserving person Y.

That was when Vipasana helped me. The first time, and every time thence. Acceptance, Impermanence and Understanding – the major mantras in dealing with matters of the mind.

The next time I was ready to take a trip to the Guilt-Land, I told myself this – Agreed that this was not the right way to do it, but back when you did it, it seemed like the one. And it helped you get over the void. And no, you did not replace the person/need. You just were looking to channelize all those emotional energies to something else because you did not know how to cope with the void. That only emphasizes the importance of the need/person in your life, a compliment to their/its existence in  your life. All the things you’ve done when faced with the void are justifiable in their own way. But here’s a learning – Identify the next time you face a void. Treat this void better. Mourn the loss of the need. Think through your replacements and then go ahead for one.

Trust me, this helped. Immensely. I’ve come to terms with the things I’ve done in the past. I’ve got a learning on how my mind works when faced with a void and I have a better idea on how I will deal with it.

I know this is a long topic and not something that will be done with just a post. Yesterday being the day when I saw many close friends expressing their need and hence the voids in their respective lives, and me thinking about it for the longest time possible must’ve led this early morning discourse on the whole process of wants/needs/voids.

When I think about how some voids have been filled up in my life and in others’, I cannot help but think – this is all coz of us being humans. Supposedly the third most intelligent species (oh yes, I totally believe dolphins and mice are the most intelligent. Got the whole H2G2 reference?). If we were like any other animal , except of course a dog, we would not even face a void. We wouldn’t need to deal with it. Or if all us were sanyasis, and didn’t need or want anything or anyone for our living, wouldn’t it be a great life? But then, we are not… and till the time we attain our Nirvana we have to deal with voids. Make stupid mistakes. Learn from them. And deal with the voids again. The whole cycle of life!

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