Possibility: One Last Thing: “We find the void in our minds”

From The Optimist Magazine
Fall 2015

At sea, Henk de Velde has discovered something on his many solo voyages around the world: the void. Now the Dutch sea-farer tries to find it on the land as well. And he recommends everyone do the same.

What do you mean by void?

“Void is space. I experi-ence it on my long trips at sea, but also in the desert—places where you hardly meet any people.”

Going to these places is not something we can all do.

“Ultimately, we find the void in our minds. It’s about letting go of everything that keeps us occupied. It’s possible to find the void if you live in a small apartment in the city center. But I should say, doing nothing while lying near a creek is a much nicer way. But who does that these days? We can’t be quiet and sit still anymore. There’s so much we want and need to do. Life is always busy. The TV is always on, news is everywhere. We live in a society of fear—fear of missing out, fear of being alone. That’s something we need to learn to let go. If you do, it will make you free. But not everybody wants to try that; we like to hold on to beliefs we hold true. We’re afraid of the unknown, but you have to experience the void and let it absorb you. That’s when you will have fewer desires, and that’s when there will be more inner peace.”

Is the void the same as silence?

“Yes, you could call it that. Others call it God. It’s all the same. But remember that silence is more than the absence of sound. I sometimes organize silent retreats on my boat. People then think they’re not allowed to say anything. Well, it helps if they shut up, but it’s really about making your head empty. That’s the silence that lives within us.”

Do you succeed in finding it?

“Yes, especially on my long journeys at sea. That’s when the void gets bigger and bigger. My desires fade away.”

And at your houseboat in Amsterdam?

“I’m no hermit. This morning, I made a list of things I need to do today. But not every day is like that. You have to try to integrate the void in your life. More and more people go out on a retreat, and while that’s fantastic for them, they do get sucked into their old lifestyle when they return. It’s hard to change.”

What will change if we learn to integrate the void in
our lives?

“That would be very positive for humanity. I think it will do everybody good. It will take the pressure off performance-oriented society. We’ll have more time to spend with each other and be good stewards of the earth.” | Marco Visscher | Find out more: henkdevelde.com

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Possibility: One Last Thing: “We find the void in our minds”

From The Optimist Magazine
Fall 2015

At sea, Henk de Velde has discovered something on his many solo voyages around the world: the void. Now the Dutch sea-farer tries to find it on the land as well. And he recommends everyone do the same.

What do you mean by void?

“Void is space. I experi-ence it on my long trips at sea, but also in the desert—places where you hardly meet any people.”

Going to these places is not something we can all do.

“Ultimately, we find the void in our minds. It’s about letting go of everything that keeps us occupied. It’s possible to find the void if you live in a small apartment in the city center. But I should say, doing nothing while lying near a creek is a much nicer way. But who does that these days? We can’t be quiet and sit still anymore. There’s so much we want and need to do. Life is always busy. The TV is always on, news is everywhere. We live in a society of fear—fear of missing out, fear of being alone. That’s something we need to learn to let go. If you do, it will make you free. But not everybody wants to try that; we like to hold on to beliefs we hold true. We’re afraid of the unknown, but you have to experience the void and let it absorb you. That’s when you will have fewer desires, and that’s when there will be more inner peace.”

Is the void the same as silence?

“Yes, you could call it that. Others call it God. It’s all the same. But remember that silence is more than the absence of sound. I sometimes organize silent retreats on my boat. People then think they’re not allowed to say anything. Well, it helps if they shut up, but it’s really about making your head empty. That’s the silence that lives within us.”

Do you succeed in finding it?

“Yes, especially on my long journeys at sea. That’s when the void gets bigger and bigger. My desires fade away.”

And at your houseboat in Amsterdam?

“I’m no hermit. This morning, I made a list of things I need to do today. But not every day is like that. You have to try to integrate the void in your life. More and more people go out on a retreat, and while that’s fantastic for them, they do get sucked into their old lifestyle when they return. It’s hard to change.”

What will change if we learn to integrate the void in
our lives?

“That would be very positive for humanity. I think it will do everybody good. It will take the pressure off performance-oriented society. We’ll have more time to spend with each other and be good stewards of the earth.” | Marco Visscher | Find out more: henkdevelde.com

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