Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Can I tackle the big stuff, like Emptiness?

Someone asked about Emptiness. Someone asked about the Void. And I have been playing those words in my head again and again the past several days. I have become fascinated with my contemplation. Emptiness. Void. Nothing. And I don’t know that there is any such thing.

Some people seem to think in between two things there is “nothing.” For one thing, there is space. For another thing, there is much we can’t see, like oxygen, and tiny life our vision can’t grasp, such as gnats and mites. And there is the flow of energy (which is a big story in itself.) But take away those things we understand, and still there is no “nothingness.” I think there is a lot of “otherness.”

It works like silence. Silence is not merely the absence of noise. Silence has depth, and wealth. My parents live on an old dirt road that, while I was young, had very few other people living on it. Accustomed to its quiet, I was unaware of its power. But I have one vivid memory, one that never diminishes, of living away and then making a return trip. I spent many hours in a noisy car (isn’t it wonderful how quiet cars have become today?) with a chattering family and busy radio. And when I arrived at my folks’ house and stepped out of the noisy car and into the quiet wood, the silence overwhelmed me. The silence was deafening. It was not “empty.” The silence was almost painful at first with the dramatic step from complete noise into complete silence. I was surrounded by it and overwhelmed. I have never forgotten the true nature of silence, how full it is and how rich, and how I needed to acclimate to it. I have come to know Silence has something to give me, and if I do not spend time there, I am not being fed…

Oh, and meditation. How I struggled with what I thought was the “nothingness” of meditation. The difficulty of moving from conscious thought into “nothing” and sitting still with it. But there is no “nothing.” There is Something. This Something that appears as Nothing is the greatest place of healing and renewing I have discovered. I now seek every opportunity to meditate and step into this Something.
I remember when I listened to television to disguise my own voice. I remember when I preferred the sound of music to the sound of silence. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still like to watch television sometimes (especially when I am tired), and my life is still filled with the music that I love, but I am less inclined to use it to avoid the depth of my own self and far more likely to seek every opportunity to spend time with no thing.

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