Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.
When a thought enters the mind, it is replaced by another. It is automatic. We are not aware that a thought has segued into another thought. But upon developing the muscles of concentration, we become conscious of the entry and exit process of our thoughts. The mind gradually begins to entertain fewer thoughts per minute. We become aware that there is an interval, a delay, a space between one thought and another. This space is emptiness but also a fullness. At this level of awareness, we are in the sanctum of pure awareness. There are many who are living in this state of pure awareness, and their experiences are lucid and real.
Many are in search of this state, whether they know it or not. We are wired to seek and find what we seek. This quest is as old as humanity itself. There is no need to spend time and energy seeking some illusory “self.” What you are seeking is inside of you, and it is you. It is the mind that asserts otherwise.
When you believe this mind, you seek this “I” outside yourself. All one has to do is to remain quiet, calm the mind and experience this space between the thoughts. In this state, only the “I” exists. When you let this “I” in your mind be, without resisting, you enter the realm of emptiness — pure consciousness or the creative void. Whatever comes up, do not take it personally. Just observe. Allowing your mind to “go blank” for a little while won’t kill you, and will actually help you discover your potential, unlimited.
Now developing some comfort with this state is both simple and complex in concept. Since we are slaves to stimuli, we can’t imagine harnessing such a practice of emptiness or of being. We are incessantly tempted to turn our attention to something just to avoid this sensation. Blankness is not nothingness. To be empty does not mean non-existence. Emptiness is the ground of being, and because of it, everything is possible.
When the ego cooperates in suspension of all sense impressions and thoughts, it enters the realm of empty, unnameable nothingness. This nothingness is the gateway into the deeper layers of consciousness. It is here where inspiration, knowledge and creativity will ultimately strike.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does the simultaneous attribute of emptiness and fullness of the space between two thoughts mean to you? The author talks about impersonal observation - can you share insights from an experience where you were able to do this authentically? Can you share a story to make concrete the inspiration, knowledge and creativity that can arise from tapping the deeper layers of consciousness?