The Importance of Emptiness

Many spiritual traditions teach the concept of emptiness.  It is one of the central tenants of Buddhism.  A Buddhist teacher I knew gave a demonstration of emptiness.  He showed the class a slender, plastic object and he said “this is a pen, but to the dog it is a chew toy.  Who is right?  Is it a pen or a chew toy?”  It is neither, and it is both.  Because it is in truth empty of content, it can be perceived either way from the standpoint of the perceiver.  Chew on that for a while.
Emptiness is a freedom from the content of this world.  We actually do it all the time when we are present, but normally this happens so quickly that we forget it immediately.  We haven’t trained our awareness to stay in this state.  Deep sleep is also this state, and we are not aware at this time either. When we are aware and awake in the state of emptiness time is different, we are not usually aware of it in this state.  Perceptions are very different, because the mind is not engaged in labeling them one thing or another.  They just are.
Perceptions of emptiness can be seen as positive or negative, but in their purest form they are neither.  Before we get to the state of emptiness there can be uncomfortable feelings along the way like loneliness and disconnection.  This is often a diagnosed as depression.  But at the root of this is a realization of the state of emptiness.  There is nothing in emptiness.  It is just that – empty of content.  It has its own freedom to it, one that anyone searching for enlightenment is looking for, but probably don’t know they are.  Because as one of my teachers would say “no self-respecting ego is looking for this.”  Enlightenment is just that – empty of personal content – or ego.
For emptiness to be a state for one to navigate through and be with then they need to be connected to something, be it nature, God/Goddess, a Divine principle of a higher order, a spiritual tradition, or a teacher that can offer them guidance through these difficult passageways.
There needs to be a balance of the emptiness and the content on Earth.  Right now there is a major imbalance and the human consciousness is weighted down by so much content – materialism, go, go, go mentality, personality, media, entertainment, and constant engagement is filling up all the blank space.  Just like we need deep sleep, we all need some amount of emptiness, a presence with the nothingness where the somethingness can arise new and fresh, where we experience things like a babe, fresh out of the womb.
Let the body rest in presence with the empty fullness, that which is empty of content but full of energy.
 

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