Void, Zero, Shunyata, By Any Other Name…


I’ve been in a lot of emotional pain lately because all the traumas I’ve been dealing with this past year are calming down and all the feelings I had to repress to simply cope are springing to the surface, all at once, of course.

I have felt unimaginably stuck. Not metaphorically stuck. Metaphysically stuck. I could no longer move up, down, left, right, any which way. It is hard to want to live when no movement in any direction is possible. Who wants to spend the next umpteen years trapped in a box (or a bear trap, to illustrate the pain level)?

I have been trying to let everything go (or just let it be, however you want to look at it). I asked a New-Age-y friend for suggestions. (It’s amazing how un-picky one becomes for sources of advice when feeling so trapped all you want to do is gnaw your own leg off.) She suggested Ho’oponopono and the book Zero Limits by Joe Vitale.

What is it about? Getting to the Void (they call it “zero”). I recognized it as a part of the Buddhist concept of shunyata. Another key aspect is accepting absolute 100% responsibility for everything in your world. The emphasis is on the repetition of “I love you.” And repentance in in the form of “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” You don’t say these things to another person but to yourself. You are the creator of your world and, therefore, if your life is messed up, you need to fix yourself first and foremost. It’s all about “cleaning” your subconscious.

The process claims miracles can happen. I asked myself, “What would a miracle look like? How would I recognize it?” I didn’t have to wait long. After talking with my dad, I started it (“I love you, I love you…”) and had a strange epiphany. I realized I no longer had a desire to participate in an aspect of our relationship that had previously exasperated me. I felt the temptation leave. When my dad tries to re-start that particular dynamic, I honestly don’t know what I’ll say or do, but the old dynamic is gone and he will have to find a way to deal with it. A shift has occurred within me. We’ll see what happens.

Continuing cleaning, I started to come up with ideas. Dad was talking about “illegal aliens” and how they are such a drain to our system. I am pretty sure some of my neighbors are illegals. I realized I might want to help my Hispanic friends. But how? Two words came to mind: Cristo Rey. It is a local community center founded by Hispanics. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. I have volunteered for them in the past.

I still don’t know what I will do, but I feel more spacious inside. Where did these ideas come from? I certainly wasn’t thinking, “I really want to go volunteer at Cristo Rey. What excuse can I use to do so?”

Some people say that feelings shouldn’t matter in our decision making. They are idiots. Feelings go by other names: impetus, motivation, giving a damn, love, and hate. Try having motivation without some emotional component.

When emotional debris is cleared out, even a tiny bit, inspiration can occur. Otherwise, all you are doing is reacting from memories. I can attest to that. So many memories that chewing my emotional leg off to get a taste of freedom is a perfectly reasonable idea.

But you have to make space. Zen does that. Buddhism is full of aphorisms like “mind is like sky and thoughts are clouds.” Zen can be disruptive precisely because it makes so much space all at once that repressed garbage can flood in and be highly destabilizing. I believe it needs to be practiced with the spiritual supervision of someone who has “been there, done that.”

This past year has been hard, but I feel like I have some tools to improve things. And that’s all I care about this minute.


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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

2 responses to “Void, Zero, Shunyata, By Any Other Name…”

  1. Ninasusan says :

    So how much time should we spend trying to make the past right in our minds? Or is that even necessary…do we just move on and forget the past?

  2. cdhoagpurple says :

    I haven’t been able to make it right. I am learning to wok around it and remove its sting and shame. Once neutralized, it seems less of a problem.

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