In a culture that values doing, we’re unable to find beauty and magic in moments and places of emptiness. In an age that hurls children from one activity to another, the safety and pleasure derived from a kind of endless time for dreaming, creating, and attending becomes unknowable.
When the power goes out, when television, computers and other electronic stimulus fail to provide the constant inundation we have come to expect as a background hum of engagement, we feel cast adrift. Perhaps enforced bed rest, long illnesses and calamity that limits interaction with external stimulus will remain points of entry to the world of emptiness.
In emptiness is the place of deep listening. In emptiness is the push to explore territories, ask questions and attend to themes that one would prefer to ignore. In emptiness is the sensing of rhythms of earth, sky, sentient and non-sentient beings. Seeing, feeling, sensing, listening all become deeper and richer experiences through emptiness.
In emptiness is the path back to ourselves. When busyness is left behind, when purpose can not be found – there lies the invitation to inquiry and attending. There are few who choose emptiness. For most, it is an enforced deprivation that, at best, yields unimagined fruits.
For sensitives, emptiness is a home that tends to be surrendered at an early age and must be reclaimed along the way. The belief that one needs to be busy, or should be engaged in worldly things, makes the choices that would foster empty time hard ones to make or sustain.
It is only when emptiness becomes a constant, or a companion like sunshine or fresh air that its absence becomes uncomfortable. In all of us is a well where emptiness brings us sustenance and rejuvenation. Perhaps, as cultural habits of engagement are broken down and habits of social interaction become too expensive for many to maintain, emptiness will take its place again as a treasured experience.
“Everything that seems empty is full of the angels of God” ~St. Hilary