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.
3 thoughts on “emptiness”
in my experience the emptyness that you describe is what i have called the dynamic void or emptyness in that there is still movement though not of any forms or manifestations + it is the underlying cause behind all manifestation, + this you have described as the quantum field of potential or sunyata. But there is still another emtyness/void from which this quantum field is produced + this is experienced as absolute emptyness/nonbeing + utterly formless + has no movement whatsoever,it is beyond any conceptualisation whatsoever. Buddha called it nirvana but all or any names are misleading + useless, it is the nonbeing/emptyness from which all existence arises.Even experience is negated.
with respect, paul.
i am also not a buddhist.
Thank you for your comment Paul – it’s wonderful to read your authentic experience and know you’ve inquired so deeply.
There’s total resonance here with what you write – however my little explanation of *emptiness* was written “in the context of these notes” – in a speculative attempt to locate the source of their mysterious, dynamic arising. All purely conceptual, I agree, and I’ve no problem with that. 🙂
I don’t know if you’ve read any of the notes (echoes), but the points you make regarding the primal unmoving, changeless, inexperiencable ‘field’ are expressed therein over the course of the year.
~ miriam louisa
Hi Miriam louisa
my humble apologies for not having had more than a simple glimpse of your site + especially your notes (echoes). I was just buzzing around as many sites as i could at the time to see what i could find in relation to emptyness/void + yours was one that intrigued me when i came across it but being a bit of a fool i made my comments without a greater understanding of what has been expressed already on this site, silly billy. So in respect to you + your most gracious + tolerant remarks regarding my ignorance i will at some time in the not too distant future give your echoes (i once had a cat by that name) a good read + post you a more informed + pleasant reply.
Right now i have my head stuck in the nirvana sutra + when i do apply myself to something i like to immerse myself in it for a while .
Peace + love to you + your loved ones, paul.