46.2 - The concept of Emptiness – Formless Awareness
“The concept of Emptiness – Formless Awareness - in Buddhism – (shunya in Sanskrit).
“Silence is not empty; it is full of answers.”
Tonight as you begin your practice, imagine leaving your shoes outside. Imagine your shoes represent the past and all you have traveled through to get where you are tonight. You will not need your shoes for the next few minutes. While you are at it, imagine leaving the ego and the mind outside also. Leaving the mind outside, simply means leaving aside all that you believe you are and all that you believe you know about yourself and life. Leave aside all thoughts about your past and any memories that tie you to your past. Avoid paying attention to any thoughts that come up about your future, for the future is impossible to predict anyway, so let’s not waste energy during your practice today by focusing on it. Also leave aside any interpretation about the present moment. For the next few minutes we do not need to refer to these things for they are not important and will not help you in finding or experiencing our freedom.
Even if only in our imagination, for the next few minutes, let’s leave all these things at the door of your practice. Almost as if you just got home and started removing your stinky clothing from your day at work. Imagine realizing as you do, that you are not your watch or your jewelry, you not the clothes, you are not even the flesh and bones, for these are all costumes we are wearing. In the emptiness that remains, we can see ourselves as energy and light; we are pure love, compassion, kindness and tolerance, untainted from anything external. At the end of this exercise, you get to decide whether or not to put back on this costume, but perhaps you will only put back on the parts that you decide still serve you. While we cannot choose the physical manifestation of our gross body, that our creator has given you for your journey, much of what we wear to identify our self to others and our ego is nothing but an illusion anyway.
Your wounded, blemished, stained self is filled with false beliefs regarding who you are and who you are not. Your wounded self may see you as inadequate, unlovable, not good enough, but in stepping away from the ego, we experience our true self in the limitless light of what we call “formless awareness.”
This is the emptiness of formless awareness that the Buddha taught us to bath in during our meditation. Free of all the human cravings and the clutter of untruths, take a moment to bask in this freedom deep within the soul.
“Emptiness is not something to be afraid of, says Thich Nhat Hanh. The Heart Sutra teaches us that form may be empty of self, but it’s full of everything else.” Practice repeating the manta - “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form, wave is water, water is wave”” – David Scott
Inhale the future. Exhale the past.
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Learning to unlearn is the highest form of learning. —Buddhist proverb
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“In meditation and in our daily lives there are three qualities that we can nurture, cultivate, and bring out. We already possess these, but they can be ripened: precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go.” - Pema Chodron
Your soul is your best friend. Treat it with care, nurture it with growth, feed it with love.
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“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit of extra effort.” – David Scott
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You’re only as young as your spine is flexible. Quality of life is determined by our health.
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“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.” - Cybele Tomlinson
"To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.” – F Scott Fetzgerald