memo to mind

Dear team-member:


It has come to our notice that you’ve been indulging

in speculation, prediction,

definition and generalisation


what it will be/is like after “awakening” occurs,

how to recognise an “awake” human being,

and even the degree of your own “awakening.”


 In other words, you’ve been snoozing on the job

and entertaining yourself in an indisious dream

in which you assume some kind of god-identity

and dish out judgement.


Not good teamwork, comrade Mind!


Speculation only serves to separate,

and we all know this team is a seamless unit;

seamless, spacious and silent.


What is your life about, anyway?
Nothing but a struggle to be someone.
Nothing but a running from your own silence.
– Rumi


We note that you get very edgy around silence.

(Your earnest claim of being no one

shatters silence as effectively as any “struggle to be someone.”)


Arthur Boyd, Sleeping Woman with Dragonfly and Watching Figure, c.1964


Dear comrade,

have you noticed

the iridescent miracle

hovering at the window of wonderment?


Are you aware

of the Beloved’s presence,

eyes bloodshot from its sleepless lifelong vigil?


Have you marvelled

at the way the life-stream flows on, inevitably,

without minding (without minding).


– – –


Please reconsider your function and report back.
Thank you.  You are a valued member of the team.


Arthur Boyd (1920 – 1999), Sleeping Woman with Dragonfly and Watching Figure c.1964
Pastel on paper, 48.5 x 63.0 cm

Apologies to Arthur Boyd for hijacking his artwork for poetic purposes.


oh how I love being so deluded


Andrew Wyeth: Wind from the Sea, detail


I was asked to find my mind


I failed

I was asked to find my thoughts


I failed

I was asked to find my self


I failed


So then it seemed timely to try to find

the I

that was so successful at failing



it couldn’t be found


it can’t be escaped


oh how I love being so deluded

that simply watching words leak out of a pen

can deliver shameless delight!


Image: Andrew Wyeth – Wind from the Sea
Tempera on hardboard, 1947, detail
[What moves – the curtain or the wind?]
Source: Washington Post

All writing on this blog leaks from the pen of Miriam Louisa Simons.  Over at my other blog this unlit light, you’ll find more of a smorgasbord of writing, including some of my own.
I chose this WordPress theme for its uncluttered minimalism, and because it’s responsive (i.e., it displays readably on all devices).  All the links that normally appear in a sidebar or footer are hidden behind the menu icon at the top of the page.  If you feel inclined to explore the offerings posted here since 2010, please click that icon.  You’ll also find a way to follow this blog by email there.  I promise you won’t be overwhelmed – emptiness has erratic and unpredictable habits.  Posts turn up.  I marvel.

– mls
Copyright © Emptiness

tough love

Tough Love? Because most readers will find the contents of this post confronts their comfort-zone. Like happened here when I first encountered these notions. I won’t be surprised if you unfollow this blog, but I’d nonetheless love to think that you’ll take a look for yourself. For yourself. For. Yourself.

faith and hope


When you open your newsfeed and scroll through the week’s latest instalment of tragedy and brutality, you are observing the carnage wrought by faith and hope.

Faith and hope are two words sagely trotted out by both traditional and new age purveyors of fixes for the human condition. They feature large in the Christian Bible, and slip easily off our politicians’ tongues at times of crisis. “Only have faith!” “Defend the faith!” “Trust (have faith in) our democratic processes!” “Hope is our salvation …”

We are warned about “losing faith” or “losing hope” as though such absence will lead us to the top of a slippery slope and the inevitable descent into despair.

My teachers were strict. They demanded that every word employed be fully understood in all its implications. They would incisively question words that fed the illusion of separation, or that implied a ‘self’ solid and separate from the all-containing movement of creation. They had no time for those who counselled one to have faith, to hope, or to trust, because each of these positions betrays a desire for a self-satisfying outcome, a result that will bring relief, comfort, security or improvement in the life of the supplicant – or in the world they perceive to be faulty. They pointed out that these words, and others like time, need and want, are just more names for the illusory self, which is the root cause of all violence and suffering. They dismissed those who enthused about the merits of such attitudes with ruthless compassion: “Please come back when you want nothing but the Real.”

And I have grokked this so deeply it actually hurts my heart to hear people tell themselves they only need more faith or hope or trust (or compassion or understanding, or even time) to embody “the peace that passeth all understanding”, when it is the very abandonment of these notions that will throw them into a ‘me’-shattering, heart-melting intimacy with Life. An intimacy that makes future outcomes irrelevant, for the future is seen to be as illusory as the present (a dreaming streaming of perceptions, imagination, and ceaseless commentary); an intimacy that brings the mind unconditional peace and rest.

Let’s get the crucial questions lined up and check them out for ourselves:

Where can the one who needs to have faith (in any ideology) and hope (in any imagined outcome) be found? Be very precise. Where is the world to be found? Again – precision please. Where are disharmony, violence and tragedy to be found?

If you suggest they are all in the mind, tell me, where is one’s mind to be found?

If you can locate any of these, or anything else, outside of your fundamental awareness, you’ll be the first in the entire history of humanity to do so. And you’ll be wrong, because no matter where you stick the pin, it will still be a gesture occurring exclusively in the awareness that you are.

Gertrude Stein put it pithily: “There is no there there.”

If there is no place or time, or me or them, apart from the awareing of them, what does that do to ‘our relationship’ with the streaming shimmering dance we call world? Does it even make sense to speak of ‘relationship’ (which again implies separation), or is there only the streaming shimmering dance, dancing?

What are the implications of that mindshift?

Where is the brutality? The tragedy? The heroism? The suffering? It is nowhere but here, and it is all ours; it is all us – busily entertaining robotic thoughts and believing them to be real.

On the other side of faith and hope there’s a spaciousness that knows exactly how to respond to anything it meets with intense appropriateness. It’s a movement without a centre – without a trace of conditioning, without the burden of memory. We have all experienced it.

Let us rest in that spacious stillness, alert and awake, and see what Life will do with us. It might be something shocking, something we’d never imagine for ourselves. That will be a good indication of its authenticity.

I’ll meet you there.


In a similar vein, something I wrote in 2009 on ‘this unlit light’ blog:

the universe arises in your light



I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands
even at the height of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound.

– Hafiz


have you seen my mind?

I’m not sure what it is about full moons, but they seem to turn on a tap of poetical scribblings here. June’s full moon: it’s cold and audaciously bright as it rises behind the tropical foliage that protects my terrace. Three haiku fall from my pen…

– – –

Bats flying across the full moon, NSW, Australia


here’s a state of Grace:

bats flying across full moon –

my webbed wings, aloft

what a paradox –

my greedy seeking has ceased

yet nothing was found

have you seen my mind?

I can’t find it anywhere

though it’s right in my face!


Image source

spidermind at the clothesline


Echoes from Emptiness: St Andrews Cross Spider from


three dark nights she toiled
throwing a silken mooring-line to the backyard clothesline

three bright mornings she watched it break
as the washing was hung out to dry

next night she cast her thread at the picket fence
and in the morning, strong and secure
raised a cocky eyebrow as I came with my basket

I laughed and I bowed to her –
eight-armed embodiment of the mind of creativity



Instructions for Living A Life:

Pay Attention.
Be Astonished.
Tell About It.

– Mary Oliver


if there’s no ‘there’ out there…

Meditating Woman - sculpture by Dorothy Frankel


I keep on checking
but I always fail to find
a ‘within’ or ‘out there’
apart from thoughts in mind


so how can I ‘go within’
to ‘nurture’ the Immeasurable
or ‘cultivate’ it in the world
when ‘world’ and ‘me’ are inseparable?


if there’s no ‘there’ out there
(and this isn’t hard to see)
the buck stops right here
in this matrix called ‘me’


with nowhere to go
and nowhere to hide
no inner, outer, higher or lower
the heart can open wide


can kiss each wondrous moment
with a love that can’t be taught
the only way you’ll stop it
is to entertain a thought



Sculpture: Meditating Woman by Dorothy Frankel



calligraphy by Jayarava - prajnaparamita

always at home
in this inescapable
bright unlit luminescence

this crucible of Creation:
Mother of time and space;
vast unknowable knowingness

always at rest
in this ultimate abode;
unassailable, yet ever available

prior to the mind
container of consciousness –
beyond the concept of beyond

always at home, always at rest
always already
p e r f e c t

. . .

Calligraphy credit

About prajñāpāramitā – here and here