The Empty Black Hole: By Aparna Sharma
The empty black hole.
The void you are so terrified to acknowledge.
What am I if not my life story?? My thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, emotions- My dream weaves of myriad warps and wefts- the patterns, the symbols, the pretty golden moments bordering the reality, the enmeshing of lives- a pleasant dream woven like a wedding sari. But then You point towards the beginning and the end of the fabric… and the endless holes between each weave. The space on which plays the reality. The empty black hole that won’t be filled. It’s that hole that each of us carry within us. Perhaps a remnant of the moment we were severed from the ‘whole’ reality. I don’t care to define its origin but start from the premise that the void IS there. In each and every one of us. The empty black hole we carry within us.
Too long have I lived, never acknowledging its presence. Or at best, covering it with too many virtues. Or creating dream castles outside of it. A being in love with mist. In love with monsoon clouds. The dancing colors of dawn and dusk, playing rainbow dreams upon the clouds. Or the mystic beauty of winter mist- no past, no future, no fears no hopes, just a pause- a moment in mist.
But how long does monsoon stay?? How long does the mist linger?? Sometime, you have to acknowledge the sky. The sky- the vast, vast, vastest emptiness- so stark in front of you every day, and yet, so forgotten.
The same empty space inside of me.
I try to fill it up with dreams and stars and lovers and gods. And no matter how much I pray, my hymns and chants just echo and come back to me. And the emptiness forever remains.
The empty sky that won’t be filled.
I don’t say that it has forever been so. For when we were asleep, there arose beautiful loves in our life. A love that filled our every pore, and filled every empty crevice between those pores- a love that ‘full-filled’ our every cell. But all too soon it is taken away. INVARIABLY, WITHOUT AN EXCEPTION. I haven’t met one living who says he didn’t go through this play. A dream no matter, how sublime, invariably comes to an end. So what is it with the Divine?? Some kind of sadistic game he likes to play?? Or is there a purpose behind every calamity and every wish fulfilled??
The love arose to fill that space you hitherto would not acknowledge. And left too soon for you to confront that void you never cared to look in the face. They still won’t acknowledge- all your well wishers around you. They’ll still ask you to ‘get real’, ‘get going’- the custodians of sanity in the world.
But IF I need to know my reality, I’ll HAVE to give up to grace. (or to emptiness). Why are we so scared of the word ‘empty’?? Why relate it to something dark or sad?? Empty is just empty- Devoid of good or bad. Neither positive nor negative. Neither ‘dukkha’ nor ‘ananda’. Empty is just empty- the sky without a cloud. A wind without a name.
So what does the seeker do?? Confront the reality. Lean into the empty black hole… without any hope or desire for redemption. Without even the martyr’s halo. Just lean without cause, without any compulsion to do so. You may stay outside as long as you want.
(Outside too, exist some pretty magical worlds, I promise. All full of gods and goddesses and spirits and angels. You can attract what you want or attain what you desire. All this is there, and more. But that is STILL without. What about the space WITHIN??? The emptiness that won’t be denied.)
The task is then; to stare into that nothingness- to accept its reality over every other so called reality. The task is then, to give in. Stripped of any term that defined me. To know the void- I have to become the void. Strip yourself of every cause and condition and hope and dream. Take off that halo of virtue; discard the mantle of good causes. And walk on… lean into the black hole, till you fall into it- and let the emptiness absorb you….. to the point that ‘you’ remain no more… till ‘I’ remains no more.
Beyond this, I don’t say from experience, for I have only heard- In the midst of this Void, as if emerging from it, the world once again bursts in with a new face. As though each time you have to lose everything in order to find everything again one step higher.
The same reality, but purged, sanctified, evolved. The void begins to fill. There emerges out of it, or fills into it all the manifold Truths, known or unknown realities, all that is ever real, never was lost. They say the void fills up. Or in fact, reveals itself as already full. The gap between me and Thee, is itself the bridge connecting us.
(All this I say from what I’ve heard) But the task for now is clear. Lean into the well of emptiness….. give up my names of myself, and let His word remain.