Mindfullness: do I get it? #2
Written by Hillary R. Hoff
People speak about empty spaces found between the constant flow of thoughts when meditating. Empty spaces that may last for only a milisecond or two. To be an empty space, it doesn’t mean it’s a blank slat or filled with nothingness, but more so similar to the experience of seeing a shooting star. You see the star just as it shoots before you have time to grasp really what it was, until you see another and another you start to become familiar with what a shooting star is. Within time you begin to see more and longer falls of the shooting stars and even the opportunity to point them out to others in the moment that you see them. The empty space between thoughts may be a flash of a feeling, a delayed emotion from something which happened previously in your day, a visual, a memory from your dream, a click to your subconscious, an answer to a personal question, a tap on the missing puzzle piece perfectly connecting all corners and angels. A Buddhist antidote refers specifically to guilt when referencing emptiness. “Emptiness. As ultimate cure for all delusions, realizing emptiness will also rid your mind of guilt” (http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/guilt.html). However, I believe this empty space is a cure to much more than only guilt. What is this emptiness? Is it the time for answers and explanation to finally catch up from our thoughts? Is it a relaxing or a sweet slow down period for our brains to absorb? It must be something very special and unique for all of us because it’s our individual emptiness, just as we all have different fingerprints and wave colours in our eyes. We all have our own meditative empty spaces to discover.
Some cultures and societies around the world do not encourage to embrace emptiness. Western society admires speed and instant gratification; leaving no time for emptiness. People in professions who are forced to think quickly and are constantly “on their toes” are paid larger amounts of money and set as a hierarchy. The pressure of technology pushes everyone to fill empty space with social media, emails, and being regularly available for work. This emptiness is necessary for our brains to discover more of who we are, building the bound with ourselves. Just as we spend days and hours throughout our week connecting with others; writing emails, collaborating with colleagues, communicating with loved ones. We rarely have an empty moment to give invested time and energy to ourselves also; giving ourselves fuel and love to burn off into the universe. Just as a boomerang comes back after sending if off into the unknown, how do we expect to catch it when our back it turned to someone else or head is down looking at our phone. Being alert and aware of this empty space by slowing things down a bit and most importantly paying attention to ourselves; also known as mindfulness.