From The Under 35 Project: “The Space of Emptiness”

The gift a flash of emptiness can give, writes Leslie Gossett, is an opening to the world.

Leslie Gossett
22 March 2013

There are moments, more frequent these days, when I feel as if I am waking up outside of myself with an immense view of my life. I want to say that it feels like a nightmare, but it’s not precisely that. There is fear—even terror—as I see my life or myself (or my not-self for that matter), but there isn’t a sense of helplessness.

During these moments, which are like flashes in the middle of being and doing, I see where I am, and how nothing that I expected to happen has come to pass, or all the places I thought I would be are not here. I am not how I wanted to be, or thought I would be, or how other people wanted me to be or thought I would be. Emptiness. Life. Self. And with that comes a pang in my heart. In that ache, I taste meaninglessness. What’s the point of it all? Actions, thoughts, habits, goals—in this space they lose their vigor. They almost don’t exist.

That ache, that taste in my mouth, and that feeling in my bones is briefly uncomfortable. And then I relax into it. For what seems like an infinite moment, everything is suspended. I could be dead, for all that it matters. And it doesn’t.

When I catch the next thought, it is with a fresh opening. Things remain suspended, and I notice my own curiosity more. And I cultivate that. To taste that emptiness and bring it into the world allows a space for wonder and awe. A space which is usually filled up with assumptions, opinions, to-do lists, expectations, stories, and any endless number of chattering fetters.

I remember having these flashes as a child, usually when things were more difficult. And then as I got older, I took more notice of them. The more I practice, and the more I open up to my moments, the more they occur. Now, frequently enough that I am thoroughly aware of the gift that they are.

Leslie Gossett

“A student of all things human, I find myself coming to the spaces between,” Leslie Gossett says. “I write, breathe, think, feel, learn, fear, love, lose, eat, practice yoga, meditate, and sleep.” She recently relocated to the Bay Area, and attends school for Holistic Health.