One of my closest friends, Vilma, has a theory about the vastness space inside of us. It is a space that is often aching for something to fulfill it. It’s that “sense of emptiness” that ego insists needs to have the invasion of “something” at all times. She calls it the doughnut theory. This woman has gone through so many things in her life. She has the most amazing faith and takes whatever is thrown at her with incredible grace. Grace comes easier with the capacity to love – yourself and others. She embraces every challenge and obstacle and finds a way to navigate with compassion.
On a warm summer afternoon, several years ago, we were sitting outside my terrace in South Florida talking about people, addiction, and dependency. I shared some stories of family members being dependent on men. She shared some about alcohol, and so on. We exchanged stories, lessons, and experiences. Then a great philosopher and psychology teacher immersed and a lovely Muse arrived into our evening. I sat there mesmerized loving every second of our visit. I live for these moments when Spirit opens up and allows wisdom to lead the way. I eat it up like chocolate. I enjoy being the student and absorbing the gifts of knowledge.
My wise friend began explaining her theory. She sat on the edge of her seat, passionately moving her hands, “I believe we are like doughnuts with a huge hole inside. Every aspect of our being is connected in a circle around this hole. That space, that hole, in the center of our being is always empty. We cannot cope with that emptiness so we find something always to fulfill it. This could be through alcohol, food, drugs, sex, gambling, you name it! Some people require shopping and then being in debt to their eyeballs is another way of coping. There’s a need to get the co-dependency from anywhere to get that hole filled, otherwise there is a false sense of emptiness.”
I had a profound “over-the-top-wow moment.” Most of us know this, but how she put it was so simple that the blinders came off. We got into a deeper discussion about our own dependencies. After so long, so much therapy, and years of digging, I was able to accept my own dependencies. We exchanged analytical points and when the evening was finished it felt like we had been through some major break-through. In one afternoon we had dissected several of life’s psychological mysteries. Now, ten years later, every so often I catch myself trying to fulfill the space inside and immediately stop. I step back and start questioning what the anxiety is conjuring up or trying to teach me. What is it that I have to fill inside that I don’t care to acknowledge? Most of the time I go for a hike to clear my head. At other times I just sit in a quiet place to figure it out with pen and paper. I’m always surprised at the things that come up that have nothing to do with dependency. Yet, there is a need to fill the anxiety. Anxiety is the dance between fear and control of the unknown. It dances in desperation when we can’t get a hold on a situation.
The space inside, the doughnut emptiness, is something we refuse to leave alone. It is so hard to just let it stay open to nothing. We search and research like explorers of a foreign territory. It cannot be occupied. Love and respect in the self is the surest way to get through the fear of leaving the space open. Faith in the Divine is the best way to surrendering and avoiding the anxiety. We expect to constantly fill the space out of control, but control is an illusion. It doesn’t exist, and what we think is a painful emptiness is actually our spirit trying to remove ego out of the equation. It is about living in the now with little regard to the future.
We have been trained and conditioned for years to be responsible, and move through life in a frenzy of accomplishing one goal after another. We have to be acquiring status, money, and a million of other materialistic things. It is easier to accept the simplicity of being still and enjoying the journey. We require closure and this means acquiring more “things” to fill the pain, the lies, and whatever traumas we have acquired through life.
Life is the sum of lessons, experiences, and results. Each new day brings the endless possibilities of acceptance, love, forgiveness, and finally letting go. The doughnut theory puts ego in perspective. When the fear of the unknown is diminished the empty space is no longer an issue to fill up. Ultimately, the cure is faith. Faith in something beyond our reach, but knowing at all times that we are guided by something much larger than our humanness. It is then that the hole can be filled with the Divine! It is then that you are finally free….