Contemplating both alone and with friends about the Coronavirus and the disruption in everyday life, it dawned on me… This period looks like a ‘fertile void’ for many of us.

What is the fertile void?

The fertile void is an expression that is used in Gestalt theory to describe a phase where nothing particular stands out. Nothing much seems to be happening and we might not be quite sure what to expect and what is just around the corner.

Fertile void is where surprise is possible again

Paul Goodman

How is this period resembling a fertile void?

It seems that forcing many big cities to a lockdown and having many cities quieten down, has brought activity to an absolute minimum. A lot of people start questioning when all this is going to end and what is the meaning of all this. There is huge uncertainty but also a re-evaluation that happens behind closed doors. People start questioning their values and what was important in their lives. At the same time, they let go of old plans all the while they start having glimpses of other possibilities that might be possible in their lives.

As such, the time of the fertile void is a stop that does not hold any specific and concrete vision of the future but has all the potential wrapped up in it.

Addressing concerns around the cost of it all…

I can hear some of you thinking – ‘what about all those that won’t make it to the other side?’

Well, truth be told, we need to come into terms with our own lack of control as human beings (there are some things we can control and some we simply can’t) and death is one of them. I know death has been a taboo for centuries, but actually contemplating on our own death is a spiritual practice suggested by spiritual traditions world-wide.

For example, the concept of ‘remembrance of death’ which is mentioned in Philokalia basically states that we will not be on this earth for long so we must act accordingly. For the Philokalia, we must think of our own limited time on earth so as not be idle in our pursuit of God. For the more modern man perhaps, we must make a choice of living before dying. Perhaps in doing that, we must re-evaluate the amount of fear we allow into our everyday lives as mortals.

By saying this, I don’t under any circumstances suggest that we need to succumb to a fate that we can’t change. Being socially responsible for people belonging to vulnerable groups and choosing to stay home, might actually be a valuable skill and building block for the society of the future.

Ending on a positive note…

I want to leave you with a couple of quotes that are very relevant to these times and can provide some kind of respite from what’s going on and hope for what’s next.

“Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

Eckhart Tolle

“Something deep in the human soul awakens as things fall apart. Something in the soul knows that everything in this world can become lost. And something in the soul knows how to survive periods of devastation, disorientation and loss. Descent and falling is the way of the soul from its beginning. We each fell from the womb of life when the waters of the inner sea broke and it came time for us to breathe on our own.”

Michael Meade
“Why the World Doesn’t End”

“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…”

Hermes Trismegistus
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