Is Emptiness a Cop-out?
By Krishna Gauci
Q: So many teachers seem to be teaching a form of nihilism. They say that upon examination neither others nor I actually exist, but only consciousness does. I see a lot of people going to different Satsangs who have emotional and personal problems, they come hoping to be healed.
Having an experience of emptiness doesn't heal them. It seems to me that they are just learning ways to escape life.
A: Yes, and what is your question?
Q: Don't you think that the experience of emptiness leads to a disassociated state? Is awakening about living life or escaping from it? How can you deal with your body and your feelings if you are trying to transcend them?
A: This world needs fully functioning human beings who are really inhabiting their bodies and showing up for their lives. Ironically, fully embracing your body with all it's energies entails realizing your nature as the Light of Consciousness. Without the safety that comes with knowing that your most essential nature is untouchable, it is simply too frightening to take full possession of your life as this body. This world is a horror show, a nightmare. If our entire sense of identity comes solely from identification with our body and personality, fully showing up for this life would drive us insane. Those who appear to be sane and live in this world without realizing emptiness are living to some degree in a disassociated state, they are not altogether in their bodies or hearts. Being not-quite-here is totally understandable because it would be incredibly painful if you thought you were just a body/mind personality. It's painful enough for those who are awakened. In fact the deeper our experience of being Free Consciousness, the deeper is the potential for embracing this life of limits. Otherwise we don't have the room in ourselves to hold our total experience.
So while I can appreciate that it is possible to avoid life by exploring your nature as the Light of Consciousness, it's also possible upon recognizing that you are that light to turn attention back to the world of conscious experience as that light. This is the urge of the Bodhisattvas.
Realizing that you are both the light of consciousness and the apparent limits of conscious experience (sometimes called Maya or Samsara) is conscious embodiment or incarnation. Once a person awake to Consciousness intentionally turns their attention to include the world of experience, a process of transformation is spontaneously started. Life can become a divinely inspired story. Not only is a person in touch with their body and feelings, but they also begin to experience their life with such intensity that the urge toward authenticity becomes a fire. Embracing the world of limits is the embodiment of consciousness itself.
The recognition of the reality of both the One and the many makes possible a great love for the other, simultaneous with emptiness. For those whose intention remains firm, the world of relationships and "others" takes on a new significance as the expression and manifestation of that which is realized. This is the Heart of devotion. The urge to be true burns in you. This does not create instant perfection, but the desire for honesty with oneself aligns you to a continuous purification as life, not from life.
There is nothing in such a life that would avoid self-examination or service to mankind, quite the contrary, one's human life lends itself to serve organically without any superimposed moral imperatives. It is the natural way of humanity to live a life of sacrifice when awakened to our fullest nature.
© 2005 Krishna Gauci
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