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Archive for the ‘emptiness’ Category

It is as if a raindrop fell from heaven into a stream or fountain
and became one with the water in it so that never again can the
raindrop be separated from the water of the stream; or as if a
little brook ran into the sea and there was thenceforward no
means of distinguishing its water from the ocean; or as if a
brilliant light came into a room through two windows and though
it comes in divided between them, it forms a single light inside.

St. Teresa of Avila
Quoted in ‘The Virago Book of Spirituality’ Ed. Sarah Anderson

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I sat there and forgot and forgot
until what remained was the river that went by and I who watched. . .
Eventually the watcher joined the river
and then there was only one of us.
I believe it was the river.”

Norman Maclean

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Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”
–Blaise Pascal

 

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains — a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

Natasha Dern, Huffington Post

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The Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.

I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal – a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.

An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.

The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.

Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.

No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.

And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire –
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.

Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

~ Mary Oliver ~

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The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life.

Let this monkey go.
Let the senses go.
Let desires go.
Let conflicts go.
Let ideas go.
Let the fiction of life and death go.
Just remain in the center, watching.

And then forget that you are there.

Lao Tzu
from Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
translated by Brian Walker

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…The day you are discontented not because you want more of something but without knowing what it is you want; when you are sick at heart of everything that you have been pursuing so far and you are sick of the pursuit itself, then your heart will attain a great clarity, an insight that will cause you mysteriously to delight in everything and in nothing.

Anthony de Mello
The Way to Love

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To move
Cleanly.
Needing to be
Nowhere else.
Wanting nothing
From any store.

To lift something
You already had
And set it down in
A new place.

Awakened eye
Seeing freshly.

What does that do to
The old blood moving through
Its channels?

~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

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