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How to live a life that lives up to the dreams we have

“Have you ever tried to sit in a car with strangers and try not to speak, to remain silent?” Daniel Lumera, naturalist biologist and meditation expert, he speaks to me with his calm and measured voice, as if he were discussing the most natural thing in the world. I reach him by phone for a discussion – because when you talk to him, an “interview” is always reductive, it remains inside something that needs to be elaborated for many days to follow – on a topic, the power of the voidto which he dedicated an entire chapter in his latest book As if everything was a miracle, recently released in bookstores by Mondadori.

As soon as I read it, it seemed like a provocation: how can the void have power? In this society, in which they teach us to be “full” or “rich” – of joy, of courage, of money, of success, of security, of self-esteem -, and in which being referred to as “empty” is almost an insult, How can emptiness, precisely, become a fruitful value?

Here, Lumera answers us with the initial example: staying silent with someone else in a confined space such as a car is quite a challenge. Could we do it? It's happened a few times in a taxi, but more and more often with people I've met lately.

«We are beings made of emptiness, in a space that is essentially empty – urges Lumera – If we think about it, 99.99% of the volume of an atom is not occupied by any particle: between the nucleus and the electrons there is simply an infinitely large volume: the vacuum, in fact. But we shy away from it, because we are afraid of what we are or what we could be: the void is the space of infinite possibilities. But the controlling mind tends to fill it with every palliative: objects, expectations, people, pain, feelings, thoughts, ideas, desires…”.

Daniel Lumera Lumera studied with Anthony Elenjimittam, Gandhi's direct disciple, and is the author of best-selling essays and the recent As if everything was a miracle, recently released in bookstores by Mondadori.


Desires? Is wishing also a filler? But isn't this how we attract what we want into our lives?
«Be careful, wanting is healthy, it's right. But we often fill our lives with desires thrown in at random, without letting them act in us. But can we say how wanting something makes us feel? No, because often we place our attention on the object of desire and not on the heart that desires it. We have no patience to wait. To inhabit the void».

So, how to wish effectively?
«Every desire contains great magnetic power. The more intense the desire, the more magnetic it has, that is, it attracts and absorbs our attention and is capable of moving the world in order to manifest itself. Faced with a strong desire there are three possible ways: the first is to give in to desire, the most practiced. The second is to repress desire, equally usual. The third is the one that indicates the path of integrity: absorb the magnetism of desire and empty it of its power, bringing that power back to itself. Standing in the void of that still unfulfilled desire, internalizing how it makes us feel, the energy it gives us, and then let go, trusting that something will happen. And usually, it's pure magic».

Are you telling us we might get more than we ask for?
«I'm saying that we need to have faith that something will happen, something that we don't know yet. Go beyond the doubting thought, which insinuates: “What if nothing happens?”. By maintaining emptiness we understand that noise is an aspect of silence. He is the voice of it. It's not about knowing that you don't know, but about knowing how to stay in not knowing and persevere in this intent, bringing the beyond in this instant, without harboring the expectation that it will happen. The void allows creation, or rather what I define as the «creativity»».

Meaning what? What do you mean by “creativity”?
«It is pure transfiguration. I'll explain it to you with this episode I witnessed: I was in Berlin, and I happened to attend a live jazz performance by this very good trumpeter. At a certain point, while he was playing we all realized that he didn't know what he was doing, but he was doing it: the music flowed by itself, he was completely in trance. But his hands pressed the keys in a sublime way and the music that came out was a gift of grace. There was a moment in which that musician didn't know what to do, he guessed it, but he let something supernatural do for him. What came out it was a work of geniusfrom which we were all initially distraught with emotion, and then regenerated.”

That moment in the balance, of suspension, therefore, before flying, knowing that someone or something will come to support us: is this the void?
«It's about leave room for grace. The Buddha and all the great Masters did not have full hearts, but empty ones: How can we let love and abundance in, if everything in us is full of what we believe we can need? When we speak, act, do, without really “feeling” how we are, we make our ego speak, act, do, which is weighed down by fears, insecurities, worries… We are preventing the void from working for us, from welcoming what is already on our path.”

Having faith therefore as a lifestyle, no longer as just a religious practice?
«Faith is not just a matter of religious people, nor of practitioners: it is a guide on everyone's path. I will answer you with another example, which certainly pertains to the religious sphere, but you will see how it expands. I asked a priest: “Do you know God?” He replied to me that God is an absolute mystery and that we will never come to know him completely, simply loving him in his infinity and in the unfathomable mystery of him. I therefore asked myself how it was possible to consecrate one's life, totally giving oneself, to the service of what one does not know and will never be able to know.”

Has there been an answer?
«It is the paradox of devotion. It is not the object of devotion that counts, but the purity of love that is felt to work miracles, to transform hearts. And this possibility is here, now, pulsating within us.”

And all this “just” maintaining the void?
«Keeping emptiness in the mind takes us to an inner space in which we remain suspended in non-definition, in non-judgment, in non-opinion. When all the imaginative processes of the mind stop, emptiness is formed. And it is this void that allows wonder to be contained within us. It descends as a state of grace in us, because the mind encounters the fundamental truth of life: that it is all a miracle. Is that every definition is a big lie, a clumsy and limited attempt of the mind to try to control the absolute. We are so terrified of the infinity within us that our mind has invented judgements, definitions and opinions. All three are daughters of fear. Maintaining emptiness brings us back to the truth».

«Keep the void» as a mantra to always repeat, then?
«In my latest book I repeat it many times. If you don't know what to say, keep it blank. If it seems to you that there is no solution to that problem, keep blank. If you feel alone, sad and desperate, keep the void. If you don't know where to go or what to do with your life, keep blank. Maintain emptiness, always. And you'll see what happens. Because something will happen. And usually, it's pure magic».

Source: Vanity Fair

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