Void

The void or abyss in a dream gains its meaning largely from how you respond to it. It suggests a situation you might fall into or be lost in, but it is also space, infinity, a situation or state of mind not limited by form or smallness. Sometimes the abyss is the same as a void, suggesting the formless spirit of life lying within and at the core of all physical formed life. Therefore it might link with the transcendental or the spiritual life of death.

The strange thing is, every time we go to sleep we fall into the void where we no longer have any sense of ourselves and are in a sense dead and merge into a huge void, because we have lost any sense of  ourselves. But the huge difference is that we have no consciousness of it. In dreaming of or entering the void while awake, we are faced with our own enormity, which is a shock, because our personality is only a ver small thing. See Reaction to the unconscious

If feared: Fear of losing control; loss of identity; fear of failure; meeting with those dark fears or worries we hide in our depths; lack of confidence; death in some form; the unconscious. Having these fears in no way suggests the external or internal world warrants anxiety. But lack of confidence will obviously hamper performance in dealing with the difficulties represented by the abyss.

Without fear: Being able to take risks, not be afraid of illness and death in a paralysing way. It suggests going beyond the boundaries of one’s own limitations, concepts, present experience. It represents the enormous personal potential lying beyond already formed conceptions and experience. It is the aspect of human consciousness existing beyond the opposites such as good and bad, right and wrong. Access to this gives tremendous liberation to the dreamer, freeing them from restricting rigid concepts or habits of thinking, responding and relating. See: death; falling; pit; void; flux dream under void.

In living a full life we may meet at some time an experience of facing emptiness, of something so primal to existence that it has no form, no future, no past, nothing. This may be a very frightening experience because this void, this core of our existence feels as if it will take everything away. If we are in love, meeting the void seems to say that nothing matters, nothing is important because in the end all is void, all is empty. The strange thing is that if we dare to meet the experience of the void it holds in it the most wonderful transforming influence. Because it is nothing it has the possibility of everything. It helps us break through boundaries that previously held us captive. It frees us from limiting ideas and beliefs. It is a power for change and liberation. When meeting the void, it isn’t that the truth about things we experience is taken away. What happens is that everything is seen as true. Every opposite becomes true for a while, and this is incredibly unnerving. It often feels as if meeting it will be like dying and losing everything, like falling into a huge nothingness. This is because if you were to say what a beach is, you could not say the sea was the beach, or the sky, or the land. None of them separately is the beach. The beach is the indefinable amalgam of them all. In just that way the Nothing is the indefinable everything that underlies the particulars of life.

In dreams this void may be represented by standing on the edge of a cliff, or by a mysterious emptiness or perhaps by an enormous pit. See: abyss.

Example: I was standing in front of a mysterious emptiness. It wasn’t like a mist as it was transparent, yet I couldn’t see through it. I felt slightly anxious about it but wanted to explore it. So I slowly extended my hand and arm into it. As my hand entered it disappeared. But as my hand went deeper so a hand slowly emerged from the translucent emptiness, and I realised that whatever I put into this mysterious void came back to me. Benny.

In some profoundly interior experiences the void and the everyday life of change and form are experienced as coexisting at the same moment. When we meet this there is an experience of liberation. The illusions we hold so tightly to fall away. A man who was suffering great emotional misery, while exploring a dream had the following experience of the void:

Example: Suddenly the image and feeling changed. The view was of a great open space, with a hill and sky in the background. Right in front of me on the ground sloping toward the hill was a stick plunged into the earth, upright. At the top was tied a length of coarse wool. At its end a feather blew in the wind.

It is difficult to explain what all this communicated to me, or led me to experience, but suddenly I was free. There was no pain. Pain arose out of identifying with the mask, the unreal me. Ego was a shifting unreal thing. The reality was this emptiness within which all the changing events of life took place. I was a part of that emptiness and the changing events. For some reason I saw all this in Red Indian symbols, although I have never read much about them, but I knew that what I was experiencing was also the Void in Zen. It set me utterly free, as I now knew I had always been, could always be. The freedom wasn’t a mysterious or mystic thing, it was totally rational. I had always lived in a belief system or habits that couldn’t help but lead me into conflict and pain. I had just stepped out of them into a condition where those habits no longer functioned. The change could occur because I had let go of what I thought was ME – and I had been holding on to that so hard it had been the cause of my misery.

Other people have called the void a great flux in which all exists, in which every person living and dead are merged and present in timelessness. Others call it the Light. W.V Caldwell, in his book LSD Psychotherapy, describes it as follows –

Example: One day, perhaps, strange hungers and anxieties assail the patient. He is unnerved by the chair and the door. A chair is to sit on, a door is to go through. Why is it this way and no other? Couldn’t one sit on a door and go through a chair? But the thought fills him with panic. He is an astronaut sailing in a black void where directions have lost all meaning; up and down are useless terms, the polarities of life have ceased to exist. Nothing is true, everything is relative—not only time and space and direction but thoughts as well. As the senses fuse so do the thousand personalities and functions of the mind. The father-in-him and the mother-in-him are encompassed, and all the faces, names, scenes, hatreds, and loves join together, fused into one mighty passion which moves through them all. That passion feeds on the few remaining forms, dissolving the rhythms into light, burning into ecstasy the last vestiges of time and space, self and other, light, sound, and sensation. And when all is gone, it feeds upon itself, dissolving into one blinding radiance of ecstasy.

The following dream illustrates another aspect of the void.

Example: With no real hesitation the woman and I walked into a wall of energy that was in front of us. I believe we knew more or less what would happen – that we would be absorbed and become wholly a part of this life form, or flux as I called it. As we walked into it I was trying to analyse what was happening and what it felt like. I knew we had merged with an unknowable number of merged beings, sharing all that they were, and we sharing or merging all that we were with them. I lost all sense of my body as a dense form, but I could still feel my partner’s hand in mine in a very delicate way – again like energy playing upon energy. I could feel that the beings or energy had totally penetrated me and was working on me in a healing way that would transform all of me. Also, I felt that we could decide upon our own movement, and it seemed as if we were still walking within this life form. So I knew we could walk out again and return to our solid body form.

But here is an example that sums it all up.

Example: To my amazement a huge living and wondrous circle appeared on the wall. It was full of movement, everything dancing in time to music. At the very centre of the circle was emptiness, nothing, a void. Yet out of this nothingness all things emerged. There were plants, animals, people, hills, rivers and mountains all coming to birth. They danced out in their own individual movement, yet each unknowingly was part of the whole wonderful and intricate dance which made a great pattern and movement in the body of the circle. All danced to the periphery and there turned and moved, still in their ballet, back to the centre. At that centre they plunged into its oblivion again. But at that very moment new life sprang from it to dance once more.

See: void under archetypes. Also see Dimensions of Human Experience

Useful questions are:

Am I frightened of the abyss? If so what is my fear about?

What does the abyss offer me if I enter into it?

What holds me back from it?

What have I found in meeting it?

Comments

-Peter L 2018-03-29 23:29:33

So what I am wondering, as I mentioned in a general site comment that your resources have been profoundly helpful to me. I had a recent dream, as in I just woke up from it actually, which was extraordinarily powerful and stayed with me. In it there was some external entity, it might have been my subconscious speaking directly to me as I have often felt in my dreams a peculiar sameness between “actual” interactions with other people and my own subconscious, if that makes sense, where in I know I am talking to another voice which mirrors myself but in the same essence it feels like I am listening to someone talk to me. Though I usually don’t need to respond verbally to interact with this voice, I am often able to hear the words spoken to me aloud. Anyway, this voice was beckoning me to peer into a hole, or void, which at first I began picturing as simply a hole on a wall but then I found myself in my room. Strangely not my apartment but rather my childhood bedroom, though with a massive glass window that I definitely know wasn’t there before. Outside of the window was top to bottom, in all directions a wide expanse of stars. Such that even when pressing my face to the glass and looking straight down I could only see stars, as though my room was floating in space. Then the “hole” I was being told to look through began to materialize much like a Black Hole at the center of a galaxy. I have personally been very fond of astronomy, so I was actually very intrigued and excited by what could potentially be a rather frightening symbol. Soon I phased through the glass window as though it was never there, and found myself floating toward the epicenter of the spiraling stars. Not straight on like a dart approaching a dart-board, but more like an Airplane coming towards a runway, before I started to grow close enough that I was nearly able to put my eye up to the looking glass if-you-will, and see what I am being told to see. Than, if you could believe the timing, my alarm went off waking me up! Before I could see it! I am wondering if this particular scenario provides you with any contextual feelings or knowledge, particularly a few elements about it.

1. The fact that I was being beckoning, and told, not necessarily FORCED but more like, comfortingly almost as though my father was telling me,
“Hey Pete! Come take a look at this”

2. The fact that it was a hole that I was NOT necessarily inclined to, being told to, or seemingly in any way “supposed to” fall into, as with many descriptions of a hole in dreams. That is what seems to different from many situations described around what I’ve read. I was being instructed to look through this hole. I guess perhaps this could’ve been more a chance for reflection and observation than say, physical shifting or leaning towards physically doing something. Such that I could take that knowledge with me when I awake, atleast that is how I interpreted it.

So if anyone could share their thoughts I would really appreciate any and all input. This dream left me with goosebumps waking up, again not from fear or some sort of nightmare, but rather like the feeling you get leaving an amazing movie or live concert. It just hit me very powerfully and I am wondering if there are things in my life that I should look more closely into as it seemed I was being motioned towards some sort of self-reflection.

I have also looked into topics around Astral Projection with the hopes of finding more information related to the meaning and benefits culturally seen for these practices and forms of meditation, though as you can imagine the internet can be toxic and its hard to get genuine information on esotericism online.

-dante 2017-03-07 23:47:15

I have been wrestling with the void for a few years after an intense LSD trip. In that experience I was in a completely black void with no space – just little electric potentials. It frightened me at the time because I feared not being able to return to life or come back from that state. Since then I have suppressed this fear and it has been affecting my day to day life ever since in a paralyzing way.

Skip 5 years, I had a dream last night of the great void. I was flying through our solar system and galaxy looking at all the stars and planets up close – whizzing past them. Suddenly I took a downward through our disc-like galaxy. When I flew downwards it was like flying into a black hole – complete blackness and only a sense of thrusting inwards toward an infinite point with no space. I tried to turn around and look up at the galaxy to see if I could fly back but the force was so great and I was so far away from it that there was no going back. I felt that same fear again right in my soul – the fear of not being able to return to life and being stuck there and it woke me up instantly.

Before I went back to sleep I tried to really contemplate the void and understand it and understand why I have been so afraid of it. I realized it is exactly what you have said in this article and it was good to read it. I believe the purpose of confronting the void is to completely overcome fear itself at a visceral, emotional and soul level. I realized the fear is simply resistance to letting go into the unknown and probably the scariest thing for any human to face. But the freedom and relief I am now starting to feel is tremendous.

Thanks for this write up on the void.

-Nahid 2017-02-26 23:27:12

How bout a completely white void, where I feel helpless and black blotches are flung across my sight

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved