Creating Emptiness

Another excerpt from my manuscript: The Commonzense of Saint James

Our lives are busy, and our minds are busy as well. There is no space left in our days, or seemingly, in the world around us. The empty space of quiet solitude has become synonymous with bad, and emptiness is now regarded negatively. We honestly feel it is necessary and worthy to fill up all the vacant space in our lives and in our world. Unfortunately, this leaves us with little room for new ideas, let alone space for those in desperate need of our attention and help. As the Sōtō Zen monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki wrote in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, “If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, [and] it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Openness with others and the world around us requires the emptiness of quiet reflection, and this is more than most of us are willing to give. A man I know likes to say, “I have an open mind—it’s just that the opening is very narrow.” Unfortunately, this cute saying adequately sums up his disrespect for others and the world around him. He claims he is too set in his ways to change. Why should he change, anyway? In his mind, he truly believes that his way is the right way, and sadly, the world simply changes without him. If our lives are full of our own opinions and assumptions, how can we embrace and accept anything new and different without first emptying our minds?

“I think about that ’empty’ space a lot. That emptiness is what allows for something to actually evolve in a natural way. I’ve had to learn that over the years – because one of the traps of being an artist is to always want to be creating, always wanting to produce.” -Meredith Monk

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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6 Responses to Creating Emptiness

  1. sarahjosie says:

    Wow! This concept of emptiness is so important. But what do you think about emptiness in someone after they have had pysochosis or a traumatic event? A lot of people struggle with this but I think it’s the body and souls way of making room for healing and repair.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patty says:

    For me it’s – I think – what I call ‘patience’. Taking the time to learn, instead getting all the answers at once. After reading this, I realize it’s also about emptiness. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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