Struggle with Emptiness/Meaninglessness

This was written on October 11, which happens to be my mother’s birthday. She died fifteen years ago.

Woke feeling scared — tried asking it but nothing happened.  Tried bringing compassion to it, sitting next to it — no softening, no feeling  (I could have tried “softening around” it)  Now I’m up, fire, candle, tea — moved the dog from the bed to the couch next to me.  I’d be really lost without her to love.  The dimension of meaning is gone.  I don’t know how to live in this place.  I can feel the fear that if I don’t do something I’ll never come out of here — and at the same time there’s a curiosity: what if I just stay here?  What if I explore this place?

A dream about grade school – where I learned not to let on that I wanted something for it wouldn’t be given.  Family was that way too.  I think about babies who die because no one is there for them emotionally.  This is no foundation for a life — for living with any sense of energy or delight or vitality — for being able to go out and meet both the joys and the disasters with a sense of adventure — this is what I really value and so want to be able to do: to meet life with courage, every fiber of me engaged, fully in the present…   and this is why I’m so angry and disappointed in myself, for being so numb and dead, for shrinking from the daily tasks — as though if I would only choose to, I could go out and meet life with a gay spirit…

I felt a little better while I was writing about the dream, and I did feel some love in my heart—   yes, DAMMIT, I do love life, and that’s why it’s so painful to go out into the world, to go to the laundromat and see people isolated in their cars, the world around them all paved, vacant-eyed people going through the motions, reading the ‘want ads’ while their laundry spins in machines — instead of going with others to the banks of the river and using their bodies to get the clothes clean.  Some of this sense of isolation and hopelessness is projection of my own state, not everybody was numb.  There were the two young men wrestling and laughing, the woman who came up and helped me…

Dear Spirits, please help me!

Dear Jenny, we encourage you to stay in this place of emptiness.  There is great richness here.  Do not be afraid.  You cannot be stuck here forever, or rather this place is no different than any other place you’ve been, it’s still in the hands of god, still part of the territory of life that you are exploring.

There was another thought and I lost it!  Please tell me again!

Dear Jenny, it doesn’t matter.  It will come around again as dreams keep coming until you are able to pay attention to them.  There are infinite numbers of “second chances”, there is no way that you can make an irredeemable mistake.  Dear Jenny, do you not see your profound love of life, that makes you so angry when you see it squandered? Angry because you imagine that those others are doing it wilfully, whereas you are stuck with no choice having been inflicted with depression like a birth defect…  or else the story changes and it’s you who are wilfully refusing to enjoy a life that you know is good.  Dear, no one wilfully refuses the gift of living with energy and eagerness, unless they have been hurt.  Everybody wants to be happy, and everybody is either reacting to pain by pulling away (understandable and forgiveable) or else they are struggling, as you are, to learn how to use their hurts in the service of greater consciousness and compassion.  No matter how lost you feel, this is your intention, this is what you are doing with your life.

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