On Emptiness and Stillness

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Anchor Yourself to an Unsinkable Security

by Guy Finley
February 3, 2020


Never run from what feels like any empty moment. If you will wait in it, watch it unfold, you’ll soon see it reveal its secret fullness… much in the same way as the dark of a new moon becomes, in time, a moon full of light as it catches and reflects the light of the sun.

We all want the comfort of knowing that there are things we can count on, that there is something in this life permanent. Yet, everything seems to slip away from us; people, places, and events all change. And as they go so does our sense of security, leaving us once again seeking something to give us a permanent sense of well-being. There is a cure for this seemingly endless longing. It is a spiritual one. Something does exist that isn’t temporary. Something is permanent. But to find it, we first must first lose our misplaced faith in those things that have always let us down in the past and left us floating adrift in a sea of impermanence.

How many times have we thrown out a false psychological anchor that has been passed off on us as a solid one? With each one we thought that this time we would be safe in this job, this relationship, this new home, only to find ourselves eventually wrecked on some jagged reef. Even the anchor of anger, which seemed so justified, might have made us feel strongly solid for a while before it too melted away, leaving us empty, and perhaps a little embarrassed. And false anchors don’t always lead us into negative situations. Sometimes things do seem to work out. Perhaps the relationship does last, but again, the comfort is impermanent. The longing for something more returns, and tells us that even our best relationship is not the answer to the emptiness inside. So, we throw out new anchors, so many that we never notice our recurring crashes on the shoals, because the idea of our next safe anchorage is ready to rescue us at a moment’s notice. Is there any such thing as a permanent anchor that doesn’t dissolve and cast us adrift?

A permanent anchor does exist, but before we can benefit from its steady hold we must break the cycle of suffering inherent in our unquestioned trust of — and hope for security in — our many false anchors. This brings us to a very important point to ponder. Let the depth of it fall into your wish for a still deeper understanding of all that it suggests.

There can never be a permanent anchor in this physical world of ours because the sea of time dissolves everything. Even we dissolve in the sea of time. This is not a fact to fear, but one to understand. Facts like these lead us to discover the one thing that isn’t temporary, something right in the center of each of us that can’t come unglued and that is never blown off course.

Something permanent exists above the present level of our life experience. We rarely feel the security of this True Anchor in our everyday lives where we seldom finish a line of action, or, for that matter, even a topic of discussion! Each new TPIC (temporary person in charge) provides a new false anchor by telling us what we need to do to get over the feeling of drifting. The anchor feels solid at the time, but as conditions change, a new TPIC pops up. The TPIC throws out that anchor based on what it knows, which is just one more thing that cannot work because no TPIC can have any real permanence.

However, we need not continue to ache from these aimless actions. Deep within us, beyond all the TPICs, lies a true awareness that is a part of our genuine self. This higher awareness is both bedded in permanence and is itself part of that solid ground. At any moment we can actually see the TPIC in action, we are, in that split second of awareness, actually standing on this higher ground and in touch with something permanent within us.

Staying anchored in awareness of ourselves is the beginning of the birth of our authentic or true self. This higher awareness of ourselves is both in the flow of what’s going on, yet outside of the flow of time. It cannot be dissolved. In the beginning of our attempts to stay anchored within ourselves we’ll find it difficult to remain newly aware for more than a few moments at a time. Even our failed attempts bring a new self-understanding that we could not have guessed at before.

One of our greatest lessons comes when we actually catch ourselves in the process of dropping an anchor that we think will supply us with a new sense of permanence, and then watch that anchor dissolve as things shift once more. We thought the relationship would make us feel right about ourselves, but soon we felt insecure again. Then, it was the money that offered a chance at happiness, but no matter how much we made, it was never enough.

As we learn to watch this happening again and again, we begin to understand that our thoughts about ourselves, and what they tell us we need for security, have no substance themselves. So, bit by bit it dawns upon us: we can’t think ourselves into permanence. We can see ourselves in the act of creating and then dropping a false anchor, however, and it is this higher awareness, itself, that brings with it the real permanence we’ve been seeking.

Although these moments of inner-magic don’t last long, as it isn’t in our power to will ourselves into lasting self-awareness, we always have the opportunity to catch ourselves again. This inner work of waking up and letting go, waking up and letting go, is like opening sails and catching fresh friendly winds over and over. Past troubled waters smooth out. Even new storms don’t shake us the way they used to, for a new anchor begins to secure us in the permanent waters of reality.

Excerpted From: The Intimate Enemy: Winning the War Within Yourselfpages 96-100