“The eternal void is filled with infinite possibilities.” ~ Laozi.
In our last blog, we discussed how a drop of rainwater returning home to the ocean is similar to the soul’s journey here on Earth. When a raindrop lands on the surface of the ocean, it loses its individuality and becomes one with the entire ocean. In the same way, it is said that when we pass away from this world, we enter into the void where our individual souls merge with the One. But, what exactly is the void? And how can you best navigate it so that you can easily become one with the whole?
An experience of the void is an experience of absolutely nothing at all. It is complete emptiness- like the state of the universe before the Big Bang exploded onto the scene. Imagine nothing whatsoever expanding out from a central point towards infinity in all directions. Also imagine there is no time. Time is a dimension of the physical universe and since, by definition, there is nothing physical in the void, time does not exist there.
What is it like to enter the void? It can be very disorienting at first. Your conscious awareness has been oriented inside your physical body for your entire life, and suddenly being unbound from the physical plane can be terrifying. It’s like jumping out of a plane without a parachute, only there is no ground below you to fall towards. Also, you are not just falling downwards, but in all directions at once. You try to hold on tight but there is nothing to hold on to. Holding on inside the void is like desperately clinging to your paddle after your boat has already drifted over the waterfall. Eventually you stop resisting and, in the ultimate act of faith, you let go.
This is when a powerful epiphany takes place. Because even in the absolute emptiness of the void, your conscious awareness remains at the center of your experience. You remain the silent witness, the presence inside the abyss, the awareness that's taking this experience in. What's more, since there is nothing else for your mind to focus its attention on, it becomes the subject of its own inquiry. This leads to perhaps the greatest revelation of all, “Oh my God… I am it!”
This is the point when the raindrop becomes the ocean, so to speak. It's when the division between you, the experiencer, and that which you are experiencing goes away and you realize that it's all the same thing. The next thing you know, you are not just in the void, you are the void. It's like getting turned inside out- all self-created boundaries dissolve, all paradoxes resolve themselves, and you merge into unity with all there is. Of course, since the void experience is really an experience of yourself, everyone's journey is going to be different. However, in the end, we will all need to resolve the basic struggle inside our own being before we can experience the infinite bliss of eternity.
"The soul is like a river, flowing towards the ocean of God. As it merges with the divine, it loses its individuality and becomes one with the infinite and eternal."
After an epic winter season here in Tahoe, the billions of snowflakes that fell in the mountains over the last six months are finally melting into water and flowing into the lake. As these various streams travel effortlessly downhill and merge into one, we are reminded of the soul’s journey here on Earth. Just as individual water drops lose their distinct identities and merge into the collective body of the lake, our souls will eventually reach the end of their journey here in the physical realm and merge into the single, all-encompassing consciousness of the Divine.
But, while the “river flowing into the sea” metaphor is insightful, it also appears to be missing something. It doesn’t explain how we became rivers flowing towards the ocean of God in the first place. What we need is a metaphor that demonstrates how these water drops are, in fact, returning home.
The water in a river that merges with the ocean, for example, began as water droplets that evaporated from the same ocean in the form of clouds. When these droplets fell to earth and eventually merged back into the ocean, they returned to their original state. But, here's the kicker, these individual water droplets were actually the ocean the whole time- it’s just that they took on a temporary form which made them appear as distinct entities, separate from their original source.
This reminds me of a quote by the poet Rumi, who explained that, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” A single drop of sea water may seem small and insignificant in comparison, but it still contains all the same qualities as the vast ocean. In the same way, your divine spark is indistinguishable from its source. While you may appear as a unique individual, your essence is fundamentally the same as the infinite light of creation from which it came. In other words, the light inside you is the Light!
So, don’t get too caught up trying to discover the proper way to connect with Source because you are already it! You have always been it and you will always be it! To connect with Source right now, all you really need to do is get out of your own way and let the light shine through.
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About The Author
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.