Blog #1 – Emptiness and Spiritual Awakening

Emptiness & Spiritual Awakening

Written by Hui Yin, on 12th March 2024

Before realizing ourselves, we strive to learn what society and the environment offer us. We are taught to adapt to life circumstances, solve immediate life problems, and even confront challenges we’d rather avoid. Over time, we grow weary of our experiences and begin questioning the purpose behind it all. Despite our acquired skills, we feel as though our lives revolve around others. We start to believe that the world neither lacks nor requires our light. Despite material abundance, we feel spiritually impoverished, living mechanically and echoing societal norms. Our minds ache for answers by constantly searching outward, yet we’re also lost in the search, feeling increasingly isolated and unfulfilled. Life becomes a struggle against an overwhelming sense of emptiness, leaving us feeling numb and powerless. As we desperately try to escape this void, we’re met with more existential dilemmas.

Unable to find answers, some of us resign ourselves to the notion that “life is just like that” – it mirrors what society shows us in the material realm, and we follow and conform to society’s way of living. We continue to work in our mundane jobs, and our minds seem to settle temporarily. This short escape from emptiness appears as a triumph of survival. However, the echoes of past emptiness could still linger in our minds and remain dormant until the next moment of awakening.

Some of us may also continue to sink into this void, feeling low and devoid of motivation each day, grappling with a profound sense of non-existence. Our inner dialogues question, “What is the purpose of living? Why do I strive so hard?”, continuing to question the significance of existence. Some unfortunate souls even experience multiple self-criticizing voices, doubting their worth and life purpose. These criticisms lead them to believe that “perhaps the world doesn’t need me; perhaps I do not have any value worth living for.” Yet, amidst this existential crisis, some inner voices urge them to resist, to fight against this deathly sense of emptiness and despair. The mind buzzes with conflicting thoughts, while the body remains inert, sinking deeper into melancholy. At this point, it is common for us to wish to withdraw from the world, to avoid facing its harsh realities. Unfortunately, some choose to bid farewell to this world altogether, while others quit their daily jobs, seeking solace in unfamiliar places or through therapy, endeavoring to understand themselves.

Until one day, after a prolonged period of emptiness and depression, a sense of tranquility settles in. We begin to realize that the emptiness we experience is also the space where the Universe’s tranquility and love manifest themselves. In that moment of realization, the cacophony in the mind fades, revealing moments of silence. We realize that we have the choice to stop listening to the mind’s chatter and find peace and freedom within. We also begin to see the answers we have been searching for amidst the emptiness. As this realization deepens, our hearts ignite a dim but resilient inner light. The darkness that once overwhelmed us slowly dissipates.

As we connect with our hearts, we rediscover our inner radiance. We begin to recognize our worth and envision our path forward. Although the road ahead may still appear uncertain, our trust and belief in ourselves strengthen. We start to believe that the world needs diversity and is enriched by different radiance. Even if others engage in similar pursuits, each person’s approach and style remains unique, adding various flavors to collective existence. Just like Asam Laksa, every cook creates a distinctive taste. Filled with our inner light, we embark on life’s journey once again.

A renewed life may still lead us down familiar paths of work, marriage, forming a family, or owning a house. However, others may choose entirely different lifestyles, such as travel or spiritual pursuits. Regardless of the choice, it ultimately leads back to our heart, to live in a state of love and have faith in life. Sometimes, a change in mindset makes even the simplest things in life more enjoyable. Being in a state of love allows us to live outside the grip of societal norms, even as we continue to live the same lifestyle. This entire process is what I define as the turbulent journey of awakening.

The question remains: Have you awakened?