Deep sadness, the kind of sadness that hollows you out inside, leaves a huge empty space. The kind of deep sadness that you know rarely in your life, this kind of sadness is very beautiful.
Sadness has nothing to do with joy, and yet it is deeply related. Grief goes through several steps, including pretending it isn't real, and fighting against it, and negotiating against it ... but the last stage of a great loss is called acceptance. It is that acceptance that engenders the deep sadness. As long as you're fighting it, you may feel fear or aggression, as long as you're negotiating, you're thinking about it, but when you've come to peace with it and accept it, it leaves a huge empty place inside you. The recognition of that emptiness and the feeling of emotional emptiness, this is the deep sadness that is so greatly beautiful.
The deep, powerful beauty that you sense in Ghandi or whoever it is you find it in, they didn't have that as children. They didn't grow up and magically be deep and rich and amazing people. There was somewhere in their life a great loss, and all the trivial structures of believe and all the nonsense they thought was so important, just collapsed. They had to go deep inside, and either give up hope and die, or find something new. They had to ask, what's inside me that I really care about, who am I when there is nothing left? Those who go through that process begin to discover that deep inside, there is more than the believes they were taught and their ideas on patriotism and gender and culture. They begin to explore what is really inside, and grow into something really amazing and beautiful.
When you start to break out of your cocoon, a lot of the stuff you thought were so important begin to seem totally trivial. When the shallow things fall away, the potential to become something real and vast arises. Sometimes, you have a choice to go through this process, and sometimes life pushes you into it. The people among you who are amazing, glorious, the ones with the most deep beauty, are the ones who have known deep sadness, and through this sadness found something beautiful and grew it up.
Sadness is never something to be avoided. When you stop fighting and let the sadness rip away from you everything that would no longer have brought you joy, what you'll find inside is dreams and powerful life changing desires and beauty and grace and potential. Sadness comes in like a hurricane and flattens all your petty towers, and leaves you stripped naked and vulnerable and open to live. At that point, whether you give up hope and become something wretched and ugly, or associate with the shell and become a shell of a person, or realise that the shell was never you and find what was inside the shell, is up to you.
After a great loss, what you feel is emptiness. Emptiness is not the enemy. It is potential.
What's you can never be taken away. When there is a great emptiness because so much is taken away, what it's done is clear out a lot of the distraction so you can look at what is left. Even if it's small and weak and scared, it's truly you, and you can grow it into something amazing.
Another way to look at it, is by considering how difficult it would be to plant flowers when all you have is a land that is overgrown with weeds and brambles. You have to strip the soil bare, turn the earth upside down so that it looks like a raw wound in the earth. What you've done is to make an empty space where you can let beautiful things grow.
Emptiness isn't the enemy, emptiness is a wonderful empty space where you can discover who you are, and encourage it to grow.