A first look at emptiness
This is a preliminary attempt to examine the ideas about emptiness.In an earlier post I quoted Lao Tzu “Hollow vessels are useful by reason of their emptiness.”But emptiness is not just one concept.
To make an initial point,our first notions of emptiness are related to the stomach.An empty one is painful to the infant who cries until fed.A full stomach then feels pleasant.
But a stomach can be empty in a good way….and there is a feeling of desire and appetite,So this can feel good.On the other hand there is the emptiness of a stomach which has just vomited up something bad and is reluctant to take in anything new for a while.hopefully desire will return.Anxiety can take away appetite and keep the stomach empty when it needs to be filled with good food.If this continues we become ill.
Anorexics may keep themselves empty as a mistaken form of self control.
Ideally there is a movement between fullness and emptiness.We need to be empty for the right things.A woman may have an empty womb crying out for a child but by mistake she may fill up with food instead.So we need to know what we are empty for.
Empty headedness can be bad…if you have never received anything good into your mind like poetry,classic literature etc you will be a poor person indeed.On the other hand people get creative ideas when they are half dreaming,resting,in the bath and so on.There is a little more space in the mind for a new idea to emerge.But the idea will have meaning only within a structure that is already partly there within the mind.The answer to a writer’s block won’t come to someone who never writes.The block may be a creative void but it’s no good if one’s entire mind is a total void.The emptiness needs a container.We rush to fill out empty sad hearts when we feel we can’t contain them within ourselves,as holding them may be agonisingly painful.
Emptiness per se may not achieve much.But look at a new baby.They are looking and taking in both food and sensory impressions.And how the mind is growing,if conditions are favourable.
An empty table is no good to an empty stomach.A professor with no knowledge/learning will not give anything to the empty headed students to take in
Or biologically,the egg needs the sperm but the fertilized egg needs the kindness of the nurturing Womb and the ability of the woman to be there whilst development occurs over time……and for woman we could put artist or writer,speaking in metaphor.
My first thoughts end now! A need for space has arrived