The Gift of Emptiness
"To the mind that is still, the entire universe surrenders."
If autumn can teach us anything, it is how life prunes and 'takes away' to ensure that new life can thrive. The gift of emptiness often comes with closing doors, the sound of goodbyes and is not by choice.
Emptiness is the source of all being.
Whether a room or a pouring vessel, it is this emptiness and space that makes it useful. We approach a vacant plot of land and can make it anything we want.
We are often going through motions today, entertaining ideas that are based on the past. The mind becomes useful, when we can transcend the hold that memory can have upon us. We stand at the threshold of awareness and learn to really see.
Memory is like a back seat driver. It is always injecting its version of the best way to drive forward. You may think your memory is an important part of understanding who you are, but your memory doesn't define you. Your behavior defines you.
And your behavior is driven by how much fun you are having.
The world becomes alot more interesting when you simply step out of the car, and let your memory drive away without you. It wasn't real anyway. It's a story you tell yourself, and you can make it anything you want.
Memory captures a bit of time and space that is probably irrelevant to the present. It's irrelevance is similar to how technology transforms how society reclassifies what is important. Technology has eliminated any cultural barriers that would have kept a person in Mozambique from sharing what he ate for breakfast with someone in Kentucky. Technology transforms our habits, and more importantly, how we see ourselves.
The mind is our technology, but it is like a hand held device that merely distracts us from living life more joyfully. A leaf has technology too, and it can teach us alot about opening to something bigger than us to access the 'oneness' that can help us relax and trust that life knows exactly what it is doing.
If you've been lucky enough to have experienced a positive past, full of accomplishments and love, it doesn't necessarily make you a better person than someone who has faced a life full of challenges. In fact, accomplishment, more often than not, is tied to a challenging past. The pursuit of tranquility and happiness however, have little do with the past when we discover how accomplishment can leave us empty. But this emptiness becomes your gift. It opens you to the possibility of living life differenlty.
Memory shows that time is an illusion. Einstein described time as an illusion made up by human memories of different timelines, where time is relative. We can forget arguing about Brexit, politics and climate change when physicists are proving that change is an illusion. Our four dimensional space time model encompasses the past, present and future in one big package.
If you don't believe me click the Youtube video below to watch an interview with Max Tegmark, one of our leading physicists.
The gift of emptiness allows you to see life differently because rather than imagining the future or recreating the past, you open to the potency of 'now.' The restless mind has no need to worry because the myriad of all that is, and ever will be is part of something beyond what the mind can even conceive. It is the worrying and trying to figure it all out that returns us to the car traveling in circles.
Emptiness returns us to stillness. Only then can we witness everything, and observe how all that is - blossoms from emptiness into an endless variation, only to return quietly from where it came.
We awaken, the oceans recede, flocks of morning birds and fog emerge out of nowhere. At night, shadows crawl into the sunset, the body shivers, crickets rub their legs together like tiny violins, and stars fill the night sky. This perpetual blossoming between light and darkness is like a story with an ancient beginning of oneness. A moment. A day. The cycle is endless.
We hold our camera to the sky but can never capture the beauty of what is.
This expanding and contracting is like the breath, and just as we cannot hold the breath, we cannot control the thriving and decline that leads all things to thrive again. This is the vision of enlightenment that the ancient Taoists attempted to describe in the text of the Tao te Ching.
Stillness allows us to witness the mystery of living outside of the illusion of time. We can trace the outline of an eternity that makes anything possible. And it is playful. It wants to be bigger and better and the only thing that blocks it...is our mind. Step out of the car. Laugh as it drives away. Watch how it travels without you.
It is said that whoever knows this truth can live forever. Like the myriad of things that blossom and dissolve:
"This stillness returns you to your roots.
Returning to stillness, reveals your nature.
Returning to your nature, you will discover the constant.
Knowing the constant is called enlightenment.
Not knowing the constant leads to difficulty.
Knowing the constant leads to oneness.
Oneness leads to impartiality.
Impartiality leads to the divine;
The divine leads back to Tao
and Tao to perpetuity.
and to the end of your days
you will meet with no danger." Tao te Ching Ch. 16
To the mind that is still - the entire universe surrenders. This is because the universe as we see it - resides in our mind. When we surrender, we become a part of something more potent - more wondrous - more miraculous than anything we have known before. Like the leaf that can reach out to touch the power of the sun and transform it into nourishment for all living things, we are only limited by our belief in limitations.
Emptiness is a gift because it releases you from the illusion that you are alone. Emptiness is the innocence that allows you to accomplish what most people would say can't be done. You can ride on the back of a Tiger that does not bite because you follow and don't ask why. Hold on to anything, and you will surely fall off.
and to the end of your days
you will meet with no danger."