Posts Tagged ‘nothing’

the presence of emptiness

September 9, 2010

I know the title to this piece sounds like an oxymoron – if something is empty (if there is nothing) how can there be presence? Emptiness has a true presence – it is a vacancy ready for occupation. Emptiness fills the spot in a person’s absence. In letting go of the past, emptiness is what comes when the feeling that used to be present is gone. Emptiness is having a wordless place within the desire to write and express. Emptiness is looking for the person that I used to be and finding she no longer exists. My past selves are but a memory to me.

Where there is nothing, though, makes real the possibility of something. As I let go of anything, I become more available to other things in life. If I am not careful in my growing to fill myself with something vibrant, new, and colorful, emptiness will settle its placid self down in my life and occupy any available space. Then, I become vulnerable to the Law of Distraction.

The Law of Distraction is anything that will take my attention away from the fact that I am empty, and, generally, the Law of Distraction is attached to the Path of Least Resistance. Whatever is easily available in my life becomes my focus and distracts me from paying attention to my emptiness. I am still empty, but I have all of these distractions that require my energy, so emptiness sits back in the easy chair, with a beer in one hand and the television remote in the other, and makes itself at home.

At some point, I need to confront emptiness. In paying attention to what I think, do, and feel when I am empty, I come to know my default attitudes and ways of being. Not all of them serve me well but what becomes clear as I watch myself within my emptiness is that each and every one of them is a choice.

I appreciate all of them, especially the ones I am letting go of. They served a purpose in my life at some point, kept me alive, and got me to where I am today.

And I greet the empty spaces they leave behind with grateful anticipation and wonder at what I can create there now.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

A nothing presence?

May 2, 2010

Life appears insurmountable more frequently than I want to admit. When I become fully engaged in living, far too many projects and their associated tasks pile up on my agenda until it threatens to topple over and bury me. I can see my epitaph now: “Woman dies beneath projects with ‘to do’ list clutched in hand – multitasking reportedly rampant.”

Humans are programmed to always be “doing” something. Many of us succumb to trying to do two or three activities simultaneously. Even as I write this, I am eating my breakfast. I cannot imagine a moment that I might look around and say, “Hmmm . . . nothing to do.”

But that is exactly what I need to add to my project list: nothing to do.

In his book Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn says that the objective of meditation is to do nothing. We know we will breathe (that’s doing something) and our monkey minds will go off in all sorts of directions no matter what. Kabat-Zinn says just to observe that and focus on our breathing – be aware of that involuntarily movement of air in and out of our lungs. It is still “doing” something but in a way that has no specific outcome, no goal, no finishing place to get to.

Both my shamanic forecast and numerology reports for the month of May indicate that “The creative energy this month is on the edge of being out of control” and “May will most likely be a very stimulating month.” Oh, dear. Time to get busy doing nothing.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass