Nothing makes me happy
A field report back from 4 days fasting in darkness & silence.
I’m coming out of a self-created vision quest in a small room, windows sealed black and eyes covered with a mask to make it entirely dark. No food, no light, no distractions, just water, me, my thoughts, feelings and the nothingness of the dark void.
While the retreat itself was quite smooth, I had some subtle, yet profound (life-changing?) insights in the days afterward.
For those interested, I share the essence below, trusting that it might be revealing or at least entertaining for others as well.
4 days in darkness, silence, fasting
Inspired by Aubrey Marcus’ documentary “Awake in the Darkness” and conversations with my friend Alistair about his experience, I decided to follow the call of my soul into the darkness as well. Other than a few pictures to tell the tale, I refrain from going into much of the logistical/technical details (which can be found e.g. here) and rather indulge in my personal insights and harvest from the experience.
Nothing does make me happy!
None of these insights are entirely new to me, but it feels like they landed on a deeper, more embodied ground.
One of the first insights is, that if I’m not happy already, nothing will truly make me happy.
It was a deeper acknowledgement that where we come from, our true nature, is nothingness/the void. This is the ground of all being and baseline of existence. And in that space, there is nothing but a deep, subtle bliss.
It is not an identified happiness that comes from getting what I want or avoiding what I don’t want, but the bliss of just being, free from wanting and identification.
At the same time, the four days in darkness were also a good measure of where I am in my relationship with myself and my mental health. I can be with myself. Free from distractions, I can still have a good time. I was happy to have that confirmed once more.
The “Being-in-Service” Trap
The deepest insight however came after a day of integration, looking at my life after this new experience and the implications on my relationships and projects. One thing that became clear to me, was how in many situations I was still “calibrating to others” and trapped in subtle co-dependencies, making my happiness conditional on people around (or not around) me.
Despite living a very free, amazing and self authored life, I noticed my desire to “be of service” still poisoned by a thorn of co-dependency and a subtle victim/savior dynamic.
I still felt a part of my motivation coming from a mindset of lack, guilt, shame, or wanting to be someone (important) for others, wanting to be needed, recognized and received. From that place I thought I had to do things that I don’t fully enjoy – but I need to do it to be in service to others (instagram, mailing lists, marketing posts in local whatsapp groups etc.).
What I realized on a deeper level is that I can trust my heart and the purity of my intention. I’m not running away from darkness and discomfort!
After decades of recurring depressive episodes and countless acts and practices of spiritual discipline, I don’t need to prove to myself or others anymore that I can do darkness, sacrifice, discomfort and putting in an effort. I’m not running away from that, and I won’t fall into laziness and denial about the pain and hardships of life.
A new Orientation –
Following the Compass of Joy and Excitement
A new and radical idea is being birthed right now within me. What if I just calibrate to myself, use joy and aliveness as my compass, and be in service through that naturally…?
I say: “I want to be of service to life”. I used to look outward for the answer to that question. But through that, I overlooked the part of life I had most agency over: myself!
So why don’t I anchor myself in the here and now, be still, and through that invite everyone else to do the same, instead of running around, making noise and getting busy saving the world, healing the planet?
In its most accessible and immediate way, I can access the closest expression of this planet through my heart and body. And trusting, that that is enough and everything else flows from there.
Life becomes very simple all of a sudden. Here, now, the ever present moment, infused by the insights and the nothingness as the ground of all being. What a delight!
In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: “Nothing to do. Nowhere to go.”
What if all the imagined problems of the world just stem from the illusion that we need to go out there and fix something, based on our inability to just be with ourselves? A lot of hot air created to fight global warming.
This is obviously a deeper conversation about the spiritual nature of the universe, and not an intellectual one.
But some practical decisions became very clear, tuning into this new-found compass of the frequency of joy and excitement in my body. One of them is that I’m discontinuing any marketing effort to push the men’s work that I’ve been doing with my brothers Alexandre and Jimmy in the form of Alchemy of Polarity. Instead, we’re going back to the basics and beginning of our connection and have a play date together, celebrating our friendship and brotherhood.
I feel a relief knowing that I won’t be spending hours creating Instagram posts, sharing events in social media etc. hoping to fill our groups through that.
As soon as I decided to make more space for space/nothing and listen to the signs of the universe, new opportunities manifested by themselves that feel like a full-body-yes (details, see upcoming events).
I trust that the universe has my back if I do surrender to my compass of joy and excitement. I let go of any previous fear of “shoulds” and “have-tos” and give them back to the field. They are not my expectations to fulfill.
Even deeper, I don’t need to give consent for any outside occurrence to bring me out of my frequency of joy, in order to maintain and protect a certain identity. This is probably the highest spiritual aspiration and associated to light beings like Jesus, Gandhi and Maria Magdalene, but I acknowledge that this is the journey I am on.
And I am grateful that I am on this journey with you.
In love and community