Since this enigmatic word turns up in the title of this blog it’s important to be clear about what it means in the context of these notes.
Emptiness, for this writer, equates to the ineffable, immeasurable, movement of Creation.
This is an emptiness that isn’t empty – which sounds very illogical indeed. Buddhists are familiar with the concept of an effulgent emptiness, and that’s the way the word is used here although the writer isn’t a Buddhist.
It might be helpful to think of this emptiness as the quantum field of potential and possibilities that our quantum physicists describe. The illustration above is actually a photograph of the kind of activity these physicists observe within a tunnel called a Bubble Chamber. As you can see, there’s a lot going on and it’s far from empty.
Some teachings avoid the word emptiness because it tends to be taken literally when not deeply explored. This can cause some brain operating systems to fall into the trap of nihilism, non-existence or voidness, which can be hard to escape. Other words for this Emptiness include Pure Awareness, Beingness, God, sunyata, Tao. “A rose by any other name …”
However, a conceptual idea of Emptiness isn’t Emptiness. It’s a description; it might be a useful pointer, but the point is still missed. When enough Emptiness flows into Awareness thanks to the vacating of mental activity, it is discovered for oneself that this Emptiness is what one actually is – and always has been. One had simply overlooked a too-simple-to-be-accepted actuality.
This much the woman on the zafu has understood. Now she’s getting to grips with what that means in her ho-hum daily life. Tricky, subtle business this; this is where all the stories emerge from wherever in brainspace they are archived, and raise their voices in protest. She listens to them. She finds they vaporize into Emptiness when viewed from Emptiness. Slowly Emptiness teaches her the way of Emptiness. Slowly her heart melts into long-forgotten Love. She begins to be at ease with not-knowing and not-doing.
She keeps sitting, breathing, scribbling.