The Paradox of Empty Space: A Journey to Freedom

Cemented white dunes undulate into the horizon, their tops dotted with twisted junipers and wind-blown pinyons. Terra cotta slots begin as simple gullies, then traverse for miles, criss-crossing as they cut deeper into the earth.

And everywhere, sun.

If you want wilderness, this is the place to come. Not the wilderness of the deep forest, alive with bird song and the buzz of insects. This is the stark wilderness of bleached bones, white heat and nothing but space.

This is the kind of place where thoughts rattle around in your head until they fall out of your mouth and disappear into the wind.

Here, the night sky is so near you see the Earth move. The stars so many, you’re underwater, blinking up through diamonds of light at something so big and vast you can’t quite make it out.

But you know it’s there. You sense it.

juniper_captiolThe desert is a place of paradox.

You stretch out, unencumbered by noise or expectation. You shrink in deference to the open space.

You see everything and simultaneously nothing at all.

You touch the depth of your own soul, yet hardly know yourself.

For many, this kind of experience frightens. It’s too quiet. Too much bare and exposed. Too much space and nowhere to hide.

But true liberation is to know yourself so well that you forget the “little” you and remember your Self.

True freedom is to embrace the paradox, to feel both empty and full. To forget who you are and remember, all at the same time.

Most people associate freedom with the ability to have what they want.

In the desert, what you want doesn’t matter. The elements are in control.

You’re forced to detach from desired outcomes. Forced to expand into the circumstance.

Stagnant opinions are wrenched free. Fossilized habits crumble to dust. Weighty fears dropped, just too heavy to carry across the Earth.

Yoga teaches that freedom is the capacity to want what we have — to experience joy in the face of any circumstance.

In the desert, you live in the moment, accept the now, or you suffer.

You change your attitude, drop your fears and break unhealthy patterns. Let go of grudges and make room for something new.

You remember your beliefs become thoughts, thoughts become words, words become actions and actions become reality.

And that true reality is svatantrya-shakti, the power of freedom. The power to choose how you walk this world.

The desert is the magnifying glass. The guru. The space where you undress from your old skin, like a blue-eyed snake, and transform into the Truth.