[this post is a duplicate of the ‘about’ page]
A small, weary, middle-aged woman sits on a zafu. She is hobbled by an old injury that will soon require surgery. She is thousands of miles from her work, her colleagues, her friends and her sangha. Her brilliant life is reduced to ashes.
She is withdrawn but not sorrowful for she accepts her circumstances, and she deeply loves the two sweet friends – her parents – she has crossed the world to care for in their ancient age.
She has inquired deeply into life’s mysteries and questions. She has been blessed to be taught and mentored by great spiritual souls. The zafu is her friend.
She stops, perforce. She sits. She stays. This time there is no escape.
She enters Emptiness.
~ ~ ~
It would be truer to say that Emptiness enters her. Emptied out of all the notions of who she took herself to be, how her life should be, how the world should be and how she should fix it all, there was space, silence and stillness.
Emptiness found a vacant home and it moved in.
~ ~ ~
It became her custom to rise early, before the tropical heat became suffocating, and spend a couple of hours on the zafu before limping forth into the day.
And every morning there would be a small insistence, unavoidable, that she pick up the spiral-bound book she kept beside her and put some words down. They simply arose, she simply scribbled. She was often amazed at what was written, and caught herself thinking, “I wish I’d thought of that.” But she never had any sense that the words came from another entity. They just arrived. They had a life and a movement of their own – if she didn’t catch them on the page, they moved on, irretrievably.
The notes were scribbled for a year. She wondered for a long time – years actually, what to do with them, if anything, and what to name them.
~ ~ ~
Seven years later. The woman is lying down after lunch. She’s on a solitary retreat in a remote and beautiful hermitage in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Her practice includes the morning zafu-sit, which has continued to be the default way to start the day. She is not contemplating the notes – she is simply and delightedly breathing into Emptiness.
Suddenly she knows. The title drops into brainspace. Echoes from Emptiness is the name for the notes, and it’s time they were shared.
~ ~ ~
It doesn’t really matter where these notes begin and end – they are numbered, not dated – but chronologically-speaking, and most interestingly, it was on an Easter Friday. The woman is not a Christian or anything else, but she has grown up in a Christian society and the symbolism isn’t lost on her. Her own cruci-fiction finds meaning and relevance within the ancient pre-Christian Easter ritual of death and rebirth.
~ ~ ~
[So, now you know as much as I do.]