We cannot let another person into our hearts or minds unless we empty ourselves. We can truly listen to him or truly hear her only out of emptiness. ~M. Scott Peck (from Brainyquote.com)
Happy Spring! I hope you all are enjoying fabulous weather. Lately, I’ve been thinking about emptiness. Sometimes, you might here someone refer to meditation as “emptying the mind.” That works for some people, but not all. The word empty has a negative connotation for most of us.
Indeed, Merriam-Webster’s entry for empty includes these words and phrases: null, unfrequented, containing nothing, lacking substance or reality, destitute, idle, devoid of sense. You get the idea.
But what if you never emptied or cleared anything? Such as your inbox or your refrigerator? What if your stomach was never empty? What if we kept filling everything up and never felt what it was like to feel that emptiness?
My husband and I joke that our life is so full that our cup runneth over, puddles at our feet and then sometimes we fall down in it. Pretty close to the truth on a lot of days, but it is not in our human make-up to be constantly full. In the stomach this creates indigestion. In a home it creates chaos and a feeling of bursting at the seams. In the mind fullness can foster in inattention and lack of focus.
There is much to be learned from emptiness. Even an empty gas tank or bank account brings a lesson, never forgotten. Is that a negative or a positive?
Emptiness allows space, breathing room, possibility. Do you know the story of the begging bowl? Buddhist monks sometimes carry “begging bowls” with them and what sustenance they receive for the day comes from what strangers put into their bowls. Sometimes they receive a slice of delicious bread or warm soup. Other times cruel people might spit into their bowls. This is a spiritual lesson because the monks must learn to be grateful for whatever is given to them. There are similar stories across all belief systems.
If we accept emptiness as something that might be positive, then we can learn. If we allow our bellies to feel empty, we might find out what we are hungry for. If we empty, or calm our minds, we might experience an unknown peace. If we allow some space in our day, in our lives then we might discover our greatest potential.
What do Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen and emptiness have in common? Take a few minutes and find out! Funny, beautiful and wise-my favorite combination!