by Nick Andrea
When I first learned about Eastern spirituality and the Buddhist concept of “emptiness (sunyata),” I tried very hard to realize it; to be no-thing, no-self. However, my father observed one day, “You’ve gone deeper and deeper into yourself only to find that there’s nothing there.” He was right, but he was not complimenting me.
Buddhists claimed that experiencing this “emptiness” was to be a full and joyous experience, but for me it was, well, empty, no pun intended. It was not fun so I eventually gave up.
A short time later I found Jesus, or something. At a church one day something extraordinary happened with me. Something surrendered, opened up. It was like I met something greater than myself and this left me with an enduring peace for weeks afterwards. (It was so powerful I still laugh when I tell the story.) It was through this experience that I discovered the real purpose of emptiness.
Unfortunately, there was a lot about mainstream Christianity that wasn’t Godly so I took the core experience and fused it with my understanding of Zen. The purpose of being empty is so that God may fill us with his light.
Emptiness is not an “empty” thing as I once thought. Like everything it has a context and that context is the fullness of Spirit. However, “we” as we understand ourselves are not that Spirit. It is us and greater than us. Therefore, “we” must be empty that it may flow through us and use us to create a better world.
Just ask any real artist; she’ll understand. 🙂