Yoga is meditation. Yoga is transformative and liberating. In the flow (vinasya) of my yoga asanas this morning, an insight arose: our pervasive and highly common sense of inner void, ennui, angst, meaninglessness, discontent and confusion is comprised of sensation, plain and simple.
A sensation difficult to put into words. A sensation with energy triggering another layer of energy we call “emotion.” Emotion is a field of energy solidifying into habit. So, we can call it habit energy.
Emotion elicits thought. Thought elicits more thought. A cloud of thoughts has energy feeding into the cloud of emotion, spiralling into a vortex of stories. All this vortical interplay of emotion, thought, and story feed back into sensation to make this merely labelled sensation into a real “inner void” that eats away at our being, like an out-of-control monster or demon. At the same time, this vortex churns up the false self identified with the story of discontent and voidness. Each reinforces the other—storied self and story of discontent.
But this “void” is none other than a fleeting sensation reified into a solid thing. When we chase after all kinds of superficial fleeting pleasures in a desperate bid to stave off this void, and making more stories in the process to justify our attempts, we fall deeper into affliction and suffering. Samsara. Fall from grace.
The solution is to stop, look, recognise, embrace with love, penetrate with wisdom, and witness the miraculous liberation of storied self into emptiness and transmutation of energy into bliss, both pervaded by the pristine luminosity of unconditioned awareness.
This very love and wisdom have their source in the ground of being that is empty luminous bliss and effulgence, beyond inherent existence and inherent non-existence. Inconceivable and thus profoundly unspeakable—silence beyond silence. This thusness (tathata) or buddha-nature (buddhatva) seems final.
Yet, its groundless ground is none other than the triune Ground of Love such that each buddha-awareness is but a microcosmic reflection of the ineffable supracosm of God in Christ. Each sentient being’s pristine awareness is of one taste and nature as God’s immaculate Being—empty of inherency, luminous, blissful, effulgence that is dynamic, creative, responsive, relational, suffused with love and compassion.
How to know this? Our efforts bring us to the edge. To jump over the edge, grace is necessary. In fact, it has always been grace. Without His grace, no individual effort in meditation and spiritual practice would have been possible. There would not even be an iota of interest, desire, or longing for freedom. True lasting freedom. Grace enables and empowers our practice. Grace propels us over the threshold of awakening into salvation.
Grace has brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home.
Credit: Plum Village, calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh.