Empty with being busy?


What could you be hiding from?

I am a very busy person who has learned the value of being empty, but not because I have allowed the busy to overtake me. Quite the opposite. I have found that allowing myself to be busy at all times is the vehicle to illusion (maya) which, paradoxically, takes me Nowhere.

Being overly busy affords us relief from the pain of facing ourselves. We can easily hide. We don’t have to think about that which stands in our way of being a better, and perhaps less busy (i.e., hiding in “to do lists”), person. If we keep ourselves busy enough, we can ignore the obstacles that keep us from evolving because it is easier to ignore the hurt and truth that we simply do not want to face. The rationalization: it is just too difficult. It hurts.

When we open our eyes and our hearts to all that is, we face the light and the dark within us. We can then see the full spectrum of humanity through others’ eyes because there is only emptiness inside, making room for expansion and awareness, and therefore positive action. Sunyata, or nothingness, is zero. Zero is All and One. One is zero. Sunyata is unity or oneness.

∴ ∞

Through Dharma we learn that if we build and fortify the illusions in our lives, we close ourselves off from the peace and joy that we have been created to manifest. When we let go of everything, absolutely everything, even if it is momentary, we become aware of the fact that we (as in I) are no different than anyone else. We are no more special, or troubled, or important, than anybody else who – at that very moment – may be experiencing the same pain we are feeling. This does not imply that the stories of our lives are meaningless and unimportant. This implies that we share far more with the Universe than we are willing to realize. It would be easier to remain in victim mode than to see the much larger and more meaningful picture. Paying homage to and releasing our stories requires a great deal of courage and analysis. However, once those phases have concluded their usefulness, letting to and moving on are the only options.

In my case, letting go has only come about when I have been so broken down and seemingly defeated that there was nothing else. I found this to be the most fertile time in my spiritual evolution and experienced immense gratitude in my ability to synthesize many schools of spiritual thought into one supreme concept: We are All.

Sidebar: this is heady stuff and I will admit that it will take me a lifetime to grasp and practice. That’s OK. As I say often, “once you know, you know.” Then the real work begins. 

Letting go, for me, facilitated emptying myself of all worries and desires to control. Ideally, one could perpetuate this type of emptiness and live in a constant state of delusion by not knowing. The goal is the opposite: recognize that worry and control are states of emptiness and fly directly in the face of blissful knowing or working toward awakening to our higher selves. Being human presents the challenge of continually reminding ourselves to stay awake, even if we cannot achieve that emptiness some or much of the time. Pushing back on the noise of life clears the way for space. Rather than preoccupying ourselves with entertainment or being busy, we can then see things through a more harmonious and peaceful lens.

Fear often inhibits our ability to allow emptiness. Emptiness can be uncomfortable and painful. Emptiness can be scary. Facing emptiness head on, staring directly at it, allowing it, brings the concept of being empty to a place where it is no longer fear-inducing. Staying with the emptiness and understanding that this is not all there is becomes the purpose. Being comfortable with being empty, rather than busy, lovingly takes down the Ego and allows us to stay with that feeling until it and We transform. Recognizing the risks of nihilism, balance becomes central to the concept of thought and action. Without balance we will end up back at merely keeping ourselves busy, and therefore asleep. While I am not suggesting that one quit their job and meditate 24/7, there is something to be learned in creating space through emptiness to work toward living in a mindful and loving state, especially when we find it difficult. The maya or illusion that we create out of this conflict is the means by which we torture ourselves and it is not what our divine presences are intended to do.

It turns out that we are our own jailors when it comes to our thoughts as prisons. I decided to stop telling myself there were limitations and unplug my well-developed logical tendencies. I found that if I do not allow my thoughts to run free then I cannot truly capitalize upon my capabilities. This will be a lifelong practice and I know that I won’t often get it right. The perfectionist tendencies I have carried threaten to block my path but I am learning to recognize those thoughts for what they are (thoughts) and move past them whenever possible. After all, I create them, and I can let them go at any time if I desire to do so.

That’s true power.


8 thoughts on “Empty with being busy?

  1. Very good message this one. Reminds me of a phenomenon which is very common – those people who, once they are “forced” to retire from their working lives, essentially waste away and die inside (and eventually physically) because they simply have nothing left once that “business” is taken away from them. Very sad.

    • I think you’re absolutely right. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend recently who was talking about their ideal house to live in after retirement. I explained that because my work has been dispersed differently over the past few decades than most who are in a long-term corporate situation, my idea of retirement is more abstract. In fact, I don’t really even know what that means. I have been freely exploring and stealing time to do what I want as a rule. To my friend, retirement was the opportunity to start doing those things. I realized at that point that I have been really fortunate to have such a blessed life. On the other hand, I could work 24/7 – and I have – which leaves me to ignoring the freedom that is inherent in my existence. That’s no good.

  2. Reblogged this on Nirvana Linden and commented:
    I am in accord with everything you say! Take away all negative and critical thoughts, which have become ingrained in human existence, and we become pure constellations of light! This is bliss and heaven on earth.
    Filled with joy to be in contact with you!
    In deep gassho

  3. that was brilliant! 😀

    sometimes i think you just think entirely too much 😛

    but ive been wondering about this emptiness… how can we possibly be empty?
    maybe what it really is is a sort of unrest? of feeling unhappy and unfulfilled… and thinking that something needs to be added, or replaced… therefore leading to a feeling of emptiness.

    hmm… i tried the whole gratitude thing a while ago, i feel like its at least part of the answer… but i wasnt feeling it at the time… thought the ‘method’ (the book ‘the magic’ by the author of ‘the secret’ lol) was a bit fluffy…

    where’d i put my buddha beads?

    • Ha! The irony is that I have a job that pays me to think! ooh goodie lol! Nonetheless, there is definitely truth alongside of the humor.

      I think it’s a very individual process. When I first started reading about emptiness in the Buddhist context, it blew my mind – kind of like when I began meditating. For me, the most grounded and accessible explanations came from Pema Chodron. I started with emptying out all of the worry based upon the premise that it is selfish. Then I would focus on staring at a tree, or my dog, or the ducks swimming in the pond; everything faded into one homogeneous image and for a few moments, nothing mattered and All was One. Just being. Just existing.

      Analogously, it is like when I stand in the shower and stare at the wall. I’m not really thinking about anything in particular, just listening to the water run and feeling the steam all around me, blissed out in nowhere land.

      The emptiness was already there and had been my whole life. Only as I grew up I learned to fill that emptiness with lots of noise, self-criticism, and expectations. Emptiness is about returning, as much as possible, to that state that existed BEFORE all of the garbage moved in…the social conditioning, the construction of illusions, the false images of who we think we should be…THEN the gratitude comes.

      For me, the practice of gratitude comes easier after understanding how to be empty because being empty makes room for growth. When we’re kids we have lots of room for growth, because we’re [naturally] open.

      Does any of this make sense? 🙂

  4. the part about kids does. its all about getting the wonder back 😀
    i went out to our farm back in summer, its like an hours drive away… dont really go there much these days because its mostly just old people haha. anyway, i walked all the way up to the highest point on the property… then ran back down and jumped in the ocean… shoes and all hehe. was a bit of a new years day event, kill the hangover before lunch 😀

    then i told my dad and he said WTF you know the neighbour keeps wild pigs for hunting, that was a pretty dumb thing to do! muahahhaa.

    the area also got its name from all the SHARKS in the water! so what do i care about pigs?

    but mm. thats where i spent a great deal of my childhood, did much of my growing up there… its where i can always go back to. aside from my parents divorce when i was 17… i had an awesome time as a kid. have tried to pick through it for some kind of, omg theres my trauma… *shrug* probably buried it too deep! haha.

    ive also got a bunch of family who are… what you might call, hippies? whats the word, when you go on that journey to the motherland or whatever… you know. backpacking through india types of people. and that thing you do, when you go to mecca… its not migration… ahh. you know. lol so i kinda had all that stuff floating around throughout my life.

    have you read the celestine prophecy? i read it in my early teens. kinda blew my mind at the time. i think its a bit old news now… perhaps even a little light for you :p but yeah. synchronicity, seeing how things connect, thats another good one!!!

    • It sounds like you’ve had some fun with being carefree and I dig that notion. You’re right when you say it’s about returning to being in awe and seeing things through childlike eyes. It’s so easy to discount much of what is around us because we’re too busy being “responsible” and grown up.

      I haven’t read the Celestine Prophecy but synchronicity, as a concept and as a dynamic property of the Universe is very good stuff. Adding to the list! I have read quite a bit on network theory and analysis, which is related. I’m a big picture learner so anything that connects one thing to another makes sense to me inherently. Without a big picture I struggle to provide some degree of framework or structure so I can synthesize.

      If I weren’t so damn tired I would go do something kid-like. But, the changes in my diet [read “sucking air and eating nearly nothing”] have made me feel less energetic. Oh well. Another day!

  5. pilgrimage!!!! is the word i was looking for hehe.
    the lady i go to for reiki tells me to go for a walk barefoot in the grass., even just in the backyard, and stomp my feet to keep me grounded because i get very much stuck in my head and theres a lot of stuff in there! i have a tendency to want to look at the big picture as well, but i also tend to get a bit dark about it all lol. which just leads to more worry and fixation. so i have to remind myself to keep it simple.

    havent seen her in a while, should probably give her a call. she lives in this little run down farm house in the middle of nowhere. but shes one of the happiest, most open and genuine and caring people i have met in a really long time. i love it. as for the therapy… its like she just takes everything away… i dont know what she does with it… releases it back to the universe i guess. its not some john coffey stuff 😛 i dont even have to talk to her, she just seems to know whats up! i always come home feeling, hmm, not so much energised, but not as weighed down.

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