Energy From the Void

Walking this path,
we experience inexhaustible energy.
From what appears an empty void,
we find the bounty of life.

Our edginess, tension,
anger, and turmoil
begin to settle down.
In their place we find
a deep tranquility,
that has been here waiting
since before the beginning
of beginning-less time.    

Chapter 4 of The Tao Te Ching – trans. William Martin

We experience the “empty void” in many different ways. Some traditions call this experience, “the dark night of the soul.” It is sometimes an intense, seldom-repeated descent into the abyss of despair and hopelessness. It can often, however, be a periodic recurrence of doubt and angst, calling trust and assurance into question, pulling us off our center, and sapping our energy.

In one of its many paradoxes, the Tao uses these experiences to bring a renewal of energy that is yet more powerful than what we felt before the void appeared. Often the energy of the Tao becomes subtly replaced by an energy that is simply ego-generated. It is an, “I’ve got this now. Here we go!” sort of thing. This pseudo-energy soon exhausts itself because it has no eternal roots. We are left wondering, “What happened?”

A necessary period of withdrawal, surrender, and submission replaces the self-confident assurance we had enjoyed. This is a gift. Without it we would continue to become more and more separate from our Source, less and less humble and effective in our life. When energy returns we recognize its Source and feel our connection to the Tao in yet a greater depth and joy.

Self-generated tranquility, dependent on the arrangement of finances, relationships, and social norms cannot substitute for the real thing. True tranquility is a birthright of every being. It resides in the eternal nature of all beings. That nature is often called the Soul. Look there for the real deal when the substitute fails.

4 thoughts on “Energy From the Void

  1. Thanks for these words and the video. I’ve recently lent into the energy of the void to help my better half work through a nervous breakdown which is very much exacerbated by her intense long term troubles with anxiety. It’s interesting in connection with your words to have realised that in life, after working through what I consider to be some of the problems of my ‘self’, I’ve been fortunate to allow much of my ‘me’ to drop away and simply bear witness to everything that unfolds. Working through my wife’s suffering I was able to breathe into her energy and help her recover. By not needing to attach to my own experiences of anxiety over what for many people would be a highly stressful situation I created a balance to help her recover. I do still find myself troubled by the inability to help her move through her long term battle with anxiety and find the new confident version of herself, but I guess this is something I need to apply myself to learn through the teachings of the Tao. It’s interesting that we almost need to reapply every aspect of ourselves against the teaching of the Tao in order to stand a chance of achieving complete harmony with the flow.


    1. It is harder to watch someone else suffer than to suffer ourselves, isn’t it? But then, that itself is our own suffering to deal with. I have to read and try to apply the Tao teachings every single day to help me understand the ever-present Flow within which I myself flow. Blessings to you and your beloved.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lovely to hear you this evening. the drop into that pit of blackness has been a recurrent experience in my life. when I emerge the world is ever more precious and in Technicolor. the world has not changed but I have.


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