Many spiritual seekers, intent upon expanding consciousness have described encounters with a spiritual abyss, or what many call an “existential void.” My personal spiritual journey and quest for expanded consciousness has been punctuated by several of these episodes.
My experiences involving an existential void have generally followed a long period of illumination and steady movement upwards towards higher levels of expanded consciousness. They occurred following successful manifestation of many desires I’d been holding which immersed me within the absolute knowing on an experiential level, that my reality was my own creation. My decent into a spiritual abyss was a combination of realizing that none of these things I was capable of manifesting were the source of true happiness and yet due to feelings of inner restlessness, boredom and physical/mental fatigue, I was unable to conjure up any amount of joy through resources held within. My experience of an existential void encompassed an overwhelming lack of desire for anything. Such experiences have made me incredibly aware of just how important it is to have some kind of desire if we are to move forward in life. Desire in all its forms is the driving force of life itself.
“Why am I here,” is the question most often behind a dip into the spiritual abyss. This is generally the same question that starts one upon a spiritual journey towards expanding consciousness in the first place. As we then begin to access answers to this question, we are motivated to continue forward in our quest. However, when we reach a place where we believe we’ve received the answer in full, we reach a spiritual plateau, a position from which it can be very easy to slip into a spiritual abyss. A delve into the void can also be precipitated by questioning or outright rejecting previously held beliefs.
My forays into the void generally do not last long, usually a day or two at most, although in my early twenties I spent about a year in this colorless space. The self talk that accompanies my own void experience, usually goes something like this; “Nothing matters. I am merely here to have an experience of physical life. I am a dream character created by the larger part of me, sent here to play out a role through a particular character. There is no point to any of it. If none of this matters, how can I possibly continue to find motivation to continue to go through the motions of playing this game."
I’ve learned that a spiritual abyss is always a precursor to expanding consciousness. Interesting enough, I find this knowledge generally doesn’t make it any easier to be within the void. A spiritual abyss feels to me like a place of emotional and spiritual emptiness, where nothing in the physical world has the ability to thrill or entice. Winning the lottery while in the void would be met with an attitude of “ho-hum...I created a bunch of money...so what.”
If we are capable of successfully moving beyond the void, which I believe is inevitable if we choose to remain physical, the result is usually a profound change of life direction. I know that my handful of forays into the void have resulted in some major life changes on the physical level, changes that then lead to greater success in terms of expanding consciousness.
My first existential crisis was the most difficult. As a result, the changes that followed were the most profound. I was fully immersed within an attitude of ‘nothing matters.’ I rejected the idea of ending it all, reasoning, “the end of this experience is at some point inevitable so why not just play it out and see where it goes.” I decided to treat my life as an experiment of sorts.
One physical manifestation of holding such an attitude resulted in me choosing to become the lead singer in a traveling rock band. Considering I had always been very shy socially, had no vocal training and very little singing skill, this was indeed a path that relied upon and reflected a ‘whatever’ kind of attitude. It was shortly after immersing myself within this new lifestyle that life propelling desire and a sense of adventure once again returned to my life. I now see my decision to completely turn my life upside down to embark upon a singing career as being one of the most defining and important points of my life.
It often seems that those who spend time in the void, experience a profound shift afterward that is evidenced by some type of marked physical change.
Expanding consciousness beyond the void involves an ability to suspend judgment towards what I’m currently feeling and adopting a perspective of acceptance towards my present mind-set or state of consciousness, not an easy task when one finds herself immersed within any life crisis.
I can reach for the realization that my experience towards greater
levels of expanded consciousness is one of never ending, infinite,
undulating waves that continually move up and down, I will find it
easier to accept my experience of an existential void. “Nothing last
forever, change is inevitable, consciousness is never stagnant.” These
words can bring great comfort during a dip into the abyss.
Consciousness expands with every experience we encounter. Whether we realize it or not, life and consciousness are always moving forward. Having a physical experience in and of itself equals expanding consciousness. The void can be viewed as a plateau that most of us will come to at some point, while on our journey towards expansion of consciousness. It’s been my experience that when expanding consciousness, each level upwards has its own version of a void or spiritual abyss. Beyond the void is always the beginning of another spiral upwards to greater knowing of self and life, all of which are predicated upon new, fresh desire.
Beyond the perception that says, “nothing matters” lays infinite levels towards expanding consciousness. Acceptance of ‘no meaning’, ‘no point’, ‘no reason’, leads us towards the realization that as creative beings, it IS up to us to ascribe meaning and reason for being alive. This can be both scary as well as exciting, leave us feeling empty as well as powerful and often makes us feel alone while at the same time completely in control of the direction that our soul journey is taking.
Each trip into the spiritual abyss I’ve taken has left me a little stronger, a little freer and a whole lot more appreciative of the desires that eventually and inevitably seem to naturally rise up and out of me with a life of their own. The ability to see behind the facade of reality to identify the wild ‘ruse of the play’ need not cause us to choose to quit playing the game. The game itself takes on a whole new flavor when we play from the perspective of enlightened ‘knowing.’
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