Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Void but Were Afraid to Ask
The Void 101
This article is going to tell you everything that you need to know but were afraid to ask about ‘The Void’ – the hole inside you that is aching to be filled and which is calling you back home to yourself.
We’re going to look at where ‘The Void’ came from, why it makes you quintessentially human, and what you can do to fill it in a way that makes you more real instead of widening the gulf between yourself and everything else in truth.
By the time you’ve read this article, you’ll know what the Void is, where it comes from, and what you can do about it in order to free yourself from an unnatural state of disconnection from yourself, the world, and reality and to grow more real.
In short, we’ll be looking at two things:
- What the Void is.
- How to get rid of it by giving up attempts to ‘fill’ it and learning to become it instead.
Understanding these things will allow you to better understand yourself and to use this awareness to take better actions as you move forward on the Train and become more whole.
What is the Void?
The Void is something that we all experience at some stage in our lives – it’s a feeling of yearning or restlessness that asks us to bring something ‘more’ into our world.
It’s an acute awareness that things are currently unreal and that if we tweak things here and there we can make them more real again – if only we can figure out how.
The Void is a kind of inner call – it feels like emptiness, but really it’s a kind of homing beacon calling you back to yourself and the things that already fill you. How you respond to this ‘beacon’ basically affects the course of your whole existence and whether or not you’ll stand any chance of living your own life or a pale imitation of it because you’ve been following somebody else’s commands.
If you don’t listen to this ‘homing beacon’ and act upon it, you’ll always feel the restlessness or yearning mentioned above, or, even worse, you’ll experience anxiety and depression as you take yourself further and further away from yourself and more deeply into the illusions of the ego.
In short, the Void is simply the feeling you get when there’s a gap between your real self and the self-image or ego that you’ve tried to replace it with. Being aware of the Void is how your real self attempts to communicate with you from beneath the surface of whatever mask you’re hiding behind.
To understand where the Void comes from, you need to understand the three basic levels of human existence and how they all relate to each other (I already wrote about this in the post on ‘Fear’ but this article will elaborate in more detail):
Stage One: Childhood (Wholeness) – In the early stages of our lives, the ‘gap’ between our realness and our ego is minimal (even non-existent in our preverbal state) and so the inner and outer worlds are aligned. Children are spontaneous and connected to the world around them as a result of this spontaneity – they act on instinct and intuition and they are free of fragmented internal barriers (that adults pick up because of their CONDITIONING).
Stage Two: Unreality (Fragmentation) – At some stage in our lives, we become disconnected from our state of wholeness for a number of different reasons. Firstly, we go through biological changes which make us aware of ourselves as fragmented or independent bodies and we project this fragmented independence out into the world around us; secondly, we go through psychological changes and start to build a self-image or ego for ourselves that allows us to stand out or differentiate ourselves from the rest of the world; thirdly, we go through social conditioning processes where the world teaches us to be something besides what we are in reality (shame, trauma, guilt usually) – this is the main source of our CONDITIONING.
The consequence of all this is that we end up wearing a fragmented mask that takes us away from the reality of our wholeness – eventually, we think that we are the mask and forget that we put it on. This mask takes away the spontaneity that comes with being whole and makes us hesitate at every opportunity because we have added an extra layer between our will to act and the actions themselves; we act to uphold the image, not to keep growing and being real (growing real can be seen as a process of ‘directed spontaneity’).
Stage Three: Realness (Wholeness) – If we’re lucky or we work on it, something will happen, or even better we will make something happen, that will allow us to become aware of the mask that we are wearing and to take action that allows us to take it off and start the process of growing whole again. This involves going through a Personal Revolution of some kind which means that the gap between our illusions and reality is exposed and we build with something whole instead of mere fragments (i.e. build with something instead of nothing – see below).
This Personal Revolution may involve hitting rock bottom (illness, being sent to jail, etc.) or it may involve a ‘spiritual awakening’ of some kind: either way, the result is the same – the mask is removed and the gap between ego and reality is exposed for the sham that it is.
Understanding the Void means that we understand these cycles of wholeness -> fragmentation -> wholeness and that we have an honest awareness of our position within it. Ultimately, the void means that we are stuck in Stage Two: Unreality (Fragmentation) at some level and we need to get out. The way out is always the same: reality (because reality is always about making the conscious choice for wholeness over fragmentation).
The challenge is that most people (in modern western society, at least) are stuck in Stage Two: Unreality and that we actively seek to keep our masks in place and build our whole lives around protecting the state of unreality that imprisons us in the first place. Not only do we hide in the prison of the ego, we defend this prison because we don’t want to have to face the pain of facing reality again after a period of hiding behind our illusions.
Avoiding reality to avoid pain is illogical because there is no pain in reality… This is because reality is about experiencing the whole. The only ‘pain’ we experience is when we cling to the fragments that keep us from reality and experience the anguish and waste of energy of clinging to something that isn’t even there.
If you’re getting negative feedback from reality then you will suffer from anxiety and/or depression as well as the friction, frustration, and then misery that comes from projecting an unreal image out into reality and receiving constant cycles of negative feedback and denial as you resist the messages reality is ‘giving’ you.
In short, if you’re not feeling good or experiencing a sense of ‘flow’ in your life, then you’re being unreal with yourself about your self-image at some level because you are stuck in Stage Two: Unreality.
All of these modern ailments (increased anxiety etc.) are symptoms of the Void because the only reason you’d have an unreal self-image is because you have a gap between yourself and reality and you’re trying to fill it with the wrong things (fragments, not something whole).
The only cure is to close the gap and to become ‘whole’ again so that you can live your real life as your real self instead of being lost forever in Stage Two: Unreality and living a life of quiet desperation and disconnection.
Wholeness / Fragmentation
Everything that I talk about on this site is about expanding your self-identity or self-image so that you can feel a connection to the whole and live in a spontaneous way with purpose and without unnecessary hesitation.
In Stage One: Childhood and Stage Three: Realness the limits on your identity are minimal and that you are moving towards wholeness over fragmentation. In Stage Two: Unreality you identify predominantly with fragments and live in a fragmented way that makes you hesitate on real impulse and become disconnected from the whole.
The Void is just a sign that you’re not whole. To get rid of it, you have to align yourself with reality/wholeness again.
Don’t Fill The Void, Become It
If you don’t wanna read this whole article, then the short answer for getting rid of the Void is that you have to give up attempts to fill it or to run away from it and instead learn to become it.
What does it mean to ‘become’ the Void in this context?
The short answer is that if you are in Stage Two: Unreality you have, for whatever reason, been CONDITIONED to create a self-image for yourself that acts as a barrier to connection between yourself, the world, and reality. Usually, there are emotional reasons for wanting to remain disconnected at these three levels but ultimately the process is the same structurally for all of us:
- We are conditioned to disconnect from ourselves because of shame etc. (and all the reasons mentioned above in the description of Stage Two: Unreality)
- Because of this disconnection, we become fragmented, create a self-image to help us deal with the pain of this separation and fragmentation, and then protect it like our lives depend on it (they don’t – our real lives depend on getting rid of it).
As we said above, this leads to their being a gap between who you really are and the image that you have created of yourself and put out into the world for the sake of survival. This affects all of the relationships in your life, including your relationship with yourself.
To ‘become’ the Void means that you acknowledge that the only reason the Void exists is because of your unreal relationship with yourself and the barriers you’ve chosen to erect between yourself, the world, and reality.
In other words, the Void, and all the associated feelings of restlessness, anxiety, or whatever else, only exist because you choose to remain fragmented within yourself from moment to moment regarding the choices you make about your own identity and the actions you take in the world.
Your self-image is a habit like any other habit you have and you can choose to align it more closely with wholeness whenever you like – the Void is dealt with when you choose to align your self-image with reality instead of something else.
Unless we are aware of the fundamental truth that we are the void we will try to fill it in one of two ways – externally alone or internally alone. Both of these are flawed because they both have the fundamental assumption that the Void is somehow disconnected from you and everything else when in reality the Void is unreal but you choose to keep acting like it exists; by imagining that it’s there, you act as though it is and this is what causes the problems in your life (treating the illusion of disconnection as being the truth).
People who attempt to fill the Void externally project all of their own ‘stuff’ outside of themselves which has the side-effect of distracting them from acknowledging that the gap between themselves in reality and their self-image is self-sourced.
The world reflects your self-image (which is false) but you believe that this reflection of the image is the truth (which it isn’t). Change your self-image (through experience and insight) and you change your whole life. That’s how you become and eradicate the Void.
Behaviours of people who attempt to fill the Void in this unreal external way include:
- Buying material goods and thinking this will define them or nullify the sense of restlessness that The Void brings.
- Projecting an image that is the direct opposite of their fears about themselves (trying to look smart if they fear they’re stupid, feigning confidence to hide their insecurity, making a ‘big show’ to hide their self-perceived smallness, etc.)
- Chasing goals for the validation of others etc.
- Anything that projects their ‘Shadow’ out into the world and gives them drama to keep their mask in place.
People who attempt to fill the Void internally are avoiding their own ‘stuff’ by attempting to tranquilise themselves with various techniques that allow a short-term escape from their feelings and the shame, trauma, or guilt that led to the ‘birth’ of their ego in the first place.
Behaviours of people who attempt to fill the Void in this unreal internal way include:
- Meditating or other therapeutic interventions in a way that tranquilises them and serves as a temporary escape from reality, not a confrontation of it.
- Seeking inner peace and enlightenment in a way that avoids the fundamental conflicts and challenges of real life, thus removing them from life itself or having them turn away from it through concepts, not experience.
- Use their inner experience to reinforce their state of disconnection from everything else by continuing to uphold their current self-image instead of pushing their edge through insight and experience.
- Short version: having an extremely fragmented or unstable life (because of hidden inner conflict and fragmentation) but meditating etc. for a few hours a day and convincing themselves that relaxation and escape are ‘enlightenment’ (whatever tf that is).
In contrast to either of these approaches to filling the Void (which are both caught up in the illusion of duality), becoming the Void means that we embrace our contribution to the gap between ourselves and the world in reality by looking at the choices we make at the level of our own identity / self-image and the beliefs we carry at the levels of ourselves, the world, and reality.
Becoming the Void means that we understand the existence of the Void is a sign that our relationship with ourselves is unreal and that we are thinking about ourselves, the world, and reality in a fragmented way.
Objects and Subjects Depend on Each Other
Eradicating the Void by becoming the Void means that you understand and experience life beyond the Veiled Veil of limited perception and limited conceptual knowledge or interpretation about this perception.
Human beings are fragmented creatures in fragmented bodies – the way that we perceive the world around us is a product of this fragmentation. For example, because you’re in a body made of fragments you can’t perceive what’s behind you right now (because you don’t have eyes in the back of your head).
To add to the confusion, not only do we have limits to what we perceive, we have limits to the way that we interpret what we perceive through our limited knowledge of what is going on in ourselves, the world, and reality.
That’s all that the Veiled Veil means;
- First, we have limited perception.
- Second, we have limited interpretations of what we perceive.
When we’re running on the autopilot of our biological wiring and social conditioning we think that the information we perceive and interpret at the level of the Veiled Veil is the truth. It isn’t – it’s just a veil of fragments that we place between ourselves and reality (which is whole).
Understanding this and stepping back from the Veil (or the Matrix) is the first step towards killing and eradicating the Void – when we understand that we are choosing to perceive things in this way, we realise that we’re creating the ‘gap’ between ourselves and everything else.
The Veiled Veil is just the illusion that fragmentation is real.
When we’re aware that the Veiled Veil plays a role in our lives and that we constantly uphold this illusion for the sake of our current identity or self-image, we can acknowledge that the subject of our experience (‘me’) and the objects of our experience (whatever your perceive and then interpret through concepts) are inherently linked. There is no separation.
Killing the Void by becoming it means living in a way where you realise that objects and subjects are dependent on each other, that the boundary between them can be blurred, and that your true identity is beyond the Veiled Veil and is an experience of being whole or real more than any concept that stands between ‘you’ and the truth.
Keep reading, it’ll make sense (maybe).
Peak Experiences: Keeping it Real
To understand what we mean by ‘blurring the object-subject boundary’, we can look at what Abraham Maslow called peak experiences. These are experiences that we can have where we experience a euphoric sense of connection to the world and reality.
Examples of peak experiences:
- Riding a motorbike and getting in the zone.
- Making love to somebody on your level and forgetting about your self-image because there’s no reason to hesitate or hold back.
- Being in nature and recognising that you’re a part of it – experiencing the sublime.
- Getting carried away by a symphony or some other music that gives you a sense of connection to everything around you.
- Climbing/doing yoga/dancing/whatever and getting into a state where you don’t have to ‘think’, just letting your body and mind work together.
- Having a real, spontaneous conversation where you’re not thinking or holding back – you’re just letting the truth flow out of you as you receive it from somebody else.
- Whatever else.
In all of these examples, the object-subject boundary is blurred and we take our conceptual self-image out of the equation. We become fully present and we are connected to ourselves, the world, and reality at the deepest possible level of the truth (whatever the hell that is).
In each case, we are in the flow of life instead of seeing ourselves as just a ‘subject’ and the things we perceive and experience as being just ‘objects’. We have stepped back from the Veiled Veil of fragments and entered the whole of reality – even if it just lasts for a moment, the gap between what is inside us and what appears to be outside is closed to the greatest extent possible and we understand who we really are.
Becoming the Void isn’t about adding things externally (fancy cars, big house, a trophy partner, etc.) or about feeling still within as an escape; it is about having experiences that blur the boundaries between ourselves and everything else, remembering and identifying with this sense of wholeness, and stepping back from the Veiled Veil on a daily basis so that we do not allow our self-image to hold us back from what is whole within ourselves, the world, and reality.
In the terms of what we used earlier:
Stage One: Childhood – We are connected to the whole and live life as a peak experience day after day because there is less of a filter between ourselves, the world, and reality so the gap is minimal and our reality distortion field is less impactful on our lives.
Stage Two: Unreality – Our CONDITIONED self-image acts to intensify the filter between ourselves and reality as it causes us to distort the things that we perceive in reality and the way that we interpret them (to uphold the self-image and not have to face our ‘stuff’). We are still connected to the whole in Stage Two: Unreality but we are turned away from it because we identify with the fragments.
Stage Three: Realness – We have a better relationship with ourselves and understand that our true identity is the sense of wholeness that we have lived as during peak experiences. We understand that our identity is not about fragmented concepts and we live a life of purpose that keeps us growing real through experience and insight (which sets us free of conditioned fragmentary patterns). The ‘easiest’ way to do this is to keep living on purpose and to stay on the Train.
Becoming the Void is about living in a way that closes the object-subject boundary so that we can step back from the Veiled Veil and connect to ourselves, the world, and reality through the actions that we take, the experiences we have, and the insight we uncover.
Live to Connect
The main difference between your realness and your ego (unreality) is that your realness lives to connect whereas the ego only appears to exist to uphold the illusion of disconnection.
The Void is the gap that exists between these two states – it is the part of you that wants to connect from beneath the surface of your ‘identity’ or self-image but which also stops you from connecting because doing so would threaten the ego, the belief in which the Void rests upon.
Living to connect as much as possible is your way out of the Void (although, technically, there is no ‘way out’ because it doesn’t really exist except in the beliefs you carry that keep you disconnected from yourself and uphold the gap between ego and reality – become it and it dissolves).
As said throughout Personal Revolutions and on much of the content on this site, this means connecting at the three basic levels of awareness – yourself, the world, and reality:
Yourself: Connect at the level of yourself by confronting your internal ‘stuff’ and making it real, living a life of purpose that pushes you through your edge and challenging a fragmented self-image, living according to your values, having a purpose, and having peak experiences.
The World: Connect to the world by choosing wholeness over fragmentation in your social interactions with other real human beings, building a tribe around your values, and looking for similarities over differences between yourself and others.
Reality: Connect to reality by stepping away from the Veiled Veil and living in a way that allows you to flow, accept the inevitable (you’re going to die, shit happens, everything changes, etc.), and where you live for insight and experience over mere concepts about these things.
The Void means that you’re stuck at Stage Two: Unreality at some level. This whole stage is rooted in the assumption that disconnection and separation are real because of CONDITIONED fragmentation within yourself.
Live to connect and you can be whole again, making the Void redundant.
Ego: 0 + 0 = 0 / Realness: 1 + 1 = 1
When you connect, you realise that the only way to get rid of the Void is reality. This is because reality is always the only solution for anything because you can’t build anything real on anything else.
In Stage Two: Unreality, you’re building your whole life on the assumptions and beliefs of the ego. Unfortunately, as these assumptions and beliefs are ego-based they’re totally unreal and therefore equivalent to nothing (because they have no connection to anything real).
If you build from nothing with nothing then you get nothing ( 0 + 0 = 0). Sure, you can uphold the illusion that this nothing is something but you’ll just be chasing shadows and running on the spot, never getting anywhere. Thus, the shadow of the Void will loom over you and the horizon of your life, no matter what you do.
The Void is just the restless feeling you get when you live in a way that treats nothing as something.
When you’re in Stage Three: Realness, you realise that everything is connected and only appears to be divided at the level of perception and interpretation (the Veiled Veil). This means that you don’t need to ‘add’ or ‘remove’ anything, you only connect to it or you don’t (1 + 1 = 1).
Once you see that, you see that there is no Void.
You’re either aware that you’re real and acting on it or you’re not. That’s the only belief that allows the Void to have an influence on your life.
Conclusion: The Hole is a Sign that You Lack the Whole (Which is Impossible)
The Void is the illusion that you are separated from yourself. You can stop believing in it whenever you like (because your real self never goes anywhere, except maybe into hiding).
Ultimately, what you choose to try and fill the Void with is what will make your or break your life:
You can choose to fill it from the outside and keep projecting your insecurities out into the world around you as you chase material goods and create idols of the people in your life.
You can choose to fill it from the inside by tranquilising yourself and escaping your ‘stuff’ for the sake of upholding a CONDITIONED self-image.
You can choose to become the Void by closing the gaps inside yourself and living to connect in a real way at the levels of yourself, the world, and reality.
In short, there is no Void. There is only an imagined hole inside yourself and your belief in its reality is what keeps you running on the spot.
Face what’s inside you and close the gap.
You can’t escape the Void by running away from it… Running away only serves to widen the gap as it means you’re running away from yourself (impossible, you can only rearrange the furniture of your life and self-image to uphold the illusion but reality will always creep back in).
You can’t run away from what is inside you. No matter how far you run it will be right behind you, like running away from your own shadow.
If you’re in Stage Two: Unreality, your current life is about keeping the Void in place by running away from it (but only running on the spot). You have designed your whole life as an intricate web designed to ensnare you and keep the Void in place (you’re both the spider and fly at the same time).
The web stops you from falling into the abyss below but that’s where you need to be.
All you can do is dive right into the abyss.
Become it (because you are it).
Check out Personal Revolutions: A Short Course in Realness for more on this topic.
To work with me and fill the Void get in touch about my Coaching.
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