“There is a fountain inside you. Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.”
Truth expressed beautifully.
Yet I notice that we don’t actually walk around with an empty bucket, for that is far too painful for most people to do. In fact, we so hate that feeling of emptiness we will do anything to avoid it. We find anything and everything to fill ourselves up with – and if we can’t find something that works, we will invent it! How creative we are at a-void-dance!
Addictions are birthed from this compulsion to fill ourselves up, to avoid feeling the void we believe is within us. Yet rarely does it feel good for long; that portion of chips on the side used to fulfill us for far longer… that new phone should have made us feel much happier … now we are like spoiled children at Christmas or birthdays and our gratification is very short lived.
Gratification is not as gratifying as it used to be!
We have begun to realise that our buckets have a hole in them and no amount of effort to fill from outside will provide lasting fullness (fulfillment). We are facing a hopeless situation as no matter how we try to fix things we find we are thwarted at every move. Eventually we begin to understand that there is no real workable solution to this ‘problem’ – there’s a song that describes this well.
“There’s a Hole in My Bucket” is a children’s song. The song is based on a dialogue about a leaky bucket between two characters, Henry and Liza. The song describes a deadlock situation: Henry has got a leaky bucket, and Liza tells him to repair it. But to fix the leaky bucket, he needs straw. To cut the straw, he needs a knife. To sharpen the knife, he needs to wet the sharpening stone. To wet the stone, he needs water. However, when Henry asks how to get the water, Liza’s answer is “in a bucket”. It is implied that only one bucket is available — the leaky one, which, if it could carry water, would not need repairing in the first place (from Wikipedia).
Sooner or later the pain of hopelessness will dawn upon us and the frustration of trying to fill the bucket will cause us to stop and take account of what is happening in our lives; we find ourselves in a place of not knowing, of surrender to the situation and circumstances of life that we are unable to change by our own mechanisms. Without this pain we are rarely motivated to look inside… unless we feel it deeply we continue to look outside ourselves for salvation, be in relationship with another, food, more toys or a better place to live… etcetera, and to the point of ad nauseum! This is the point where we can choose though – we can choose to turn our gaze inwards and look within to fill the need for that gratification… it’s not a quick fix though – we won’t find any instant gratification because that is the realm of the subtle and imaginal so it will take some adjustment and process to appreciate the gifts here. It’s like having tabasco chili sauce on all your food and then stopping and eating your food without it. In the beginning you are not going to taste much and it will take a while for your taste buds to appreciate the natural flavour of food. Or having fireworks in the sky every night and then one day the fireworks stop and we are left with nothing but natural sounds and sights. It would feel strange and empty but sooner or later your ears and eyes would begin to notice things we couldn’t hear or see before and that increases day by day – we would soon notice that even those sounds and sights you thought were subtle and gross and you become aware of finer and finer sounds and experiences in the still quietude.
It’s the same when we turn our gaze away from the distractions. It is a deep alchemical process of self-care; – a journey into the unknown, through which we begin to understand and know ourselves as our own savior. Many times we will circle around and make this journey and each time we go deeper into ourselves we find our blocks and patterns repeating themselves and have to let go again and again, and usually this process is not pain-free but because the pain of resisting is now greater, we choose the sensible option and become sensitive to our self. Interestingly, the Italian word for’ sensitive’ is ‘sensible’. Language reveals so much if we just look at it from a slightly different slant.
All this looking outside and looking inside can be exhausting! We are swinging from one extreme to the other as balance will happen. It can help to make the swings shorter so that the balancing act does not create so many wild roller coaster experiences. Developing a daily practice of taking time for relaxing, for being quiet, meditation or time alone is essential. Remember, meditation does not have to look like the traditional way of sitting down and trying to still the mind (something I’ve struggled with for years). Meditation can be active and this would be far more effective than getting frustrated with failure at lotus position ‘I’m so peaceful’ type of thing when you clearly aren’t. Under the Tools/Resources section on this blog you’ll find an easy to follow method of meditation which I’ve developed called “Spherical Breathing” to assist in coming into centre and bringing about a more peaceful state of being. I’ve also made a short intro video which helps to demonstrate this technique and it’s suitable for anyone, even those with a very busy life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VM_muCU-9c
Simple things work best and you are far more likely to continue with them if they are not onerous. Taking 5 minutes to simply breathe and tune into your heart (Spirit) can be done anywhere, anytime, I find it helpful to do this when I get into my car and before driving off – even something so short will lead to a deeper and more peaceful existence. Connecting, walking in nature, especially around plants and trees has far more benefit than most people would give credit for. The effects are incremental and so if it doesn’t feel like you’re getting much benefit from it, try doing it for a few weeks and then stop and you will soon notice how less good you feel about yourself.
Nature is one of the best ways to remind us of our nature. Obvious really yet so many dismiss it because it doesn’t fill that void, it is too quiet and silent without enough distractions – maybe just plug the ears with music instead of feeling that emptiness! If we can just bear the discomfort for long enough we will become so much better at being human. We need to stop trying to avoid the un-comfortableness and just do something for ourselves … even 5-10 minutes makes a huge difference.
It is not what you do or how good you are at doing it. It is doing it that counts.
Seriously, a lot of folk get caught up with the perfection thing and give up in frustration because it’s not working the way they think it should. But that’s a common mistake because it’s not what or how well you can do your meditation or relaxation or breath-work that’s important as the most powerful part of doing it is the pure intention for self-care and carrying through with the physical doing-ness of it. That is by far the greatest part of any self-care practice. Once you start to practice self-care, the Universe shows up and creates more self-care and love for you, so it doesn’t matter in the slightest how perfect you now are at your breath-work exercises! No – the benefit is from your intention, and from your attention to whatever pulls you out of the present moment. Within this is the key to understanding our true nature, to knowing oneself.
There is also a deep wisdom to understanding that we do not need to repair our bucket, that we do not even need to fill it because we are never empty, we do not have a bucket, nor are we something to be filled, for it would be closer to the truth to say that we are simultaneously both the container and the water that fills it. We are not here to go with the flow, but to BE the flow. To know ourselves as the flow itself. There is not a moment when we are not the Source of All, so there cannot be a moment when we are empty of that – it just seems to be so sometimes. “There is a fountain inside of you” – well yes, because you are the fountain itself! Cease the activity of trying to fill up something that does not exist and you will know thyself to be the existence of All That Is.
I think we are meant to have a hole – we are holy (whole) exactly as we are.
As a dolphin once said to me “Turn yourself inside out Lynn”. We could not do this if we were not a hole. We are designed to be constantly turning inside out and outside in. There is nothing to fill. This is a source for contemplation, perhaps something to ponder on during a nice walk through the woods.
Be in peace, be in Love.
A diagram of a tube torus – said to be the shape of consciousness itself. For more on that visit: