Today's post is brought to you by the letter E for empty. [Credit: The awesome folks over at Sesame Street]
Emptiness. It sort of has a negative connotation, doesn't it? The glass being half empty is a bad thing, right? I wanted to write a blog post today but I came up empty in terms of content. I didn't know what to write about. I can't offer you some cure-all yoga posture or some in-depth discourse on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras or an anatomy lesson on what happens to your SI Joints in Malasana. Instead, I humbly offer you something from my real life.
I'd also like to turn things around for emptiness and transform that bad rap into something a little more positive, or at the very least, thought provoking. This morning as I was brainstorming possible blog topics, I found myself feeling reflective rather than panicked over having writer's block. I let my mind wander about in the emptiness of it all. It was actually quite fun. And, of course, it reminds me of my own experience.
The past few years I've had a few important questions on my mind. I really, really wanted answers to these questions, as I thought they were important. I was in full seeker mode. The questions ran round and round in my mind like little hamsters on a wheel. Needless to say, it took up quite a bit of mental and emotional energy. Until one day I decided to take a different tact. Rather than stress out over the questions, pushing myself for answers, I decided to live with the questions. I let go of trying to find/figure out the answers and enjoyed being in the question. Sure, it felt a bit scary, but it sure seemed a heck of a lot easier than the constant questioning in my mind.
Now here I am -- questions answered. Interestingly enough, the answers to the questions weren't exactly what I expected them to be and yet they are so much deeper than I'd ever thought they'd be. The answers have led me to a whole new place in my life (and my brain is feeling a whole lot lighter). If I had forced answers on myself rather than let the answers come in their own time, I surely wouldn't be where I am right now. Most likely the answers would have been based in fear and the result would have been quite different than my current reality.
I suppose that's what happens when we brave the emptiness. Ironically enough, the fullness is found in the emptiness. Uh, oh -- I'm sounding a bit like a fortune cookie now, aren't I? It's true though. My first real taste of this was years ago when I went on a 10-day silent retreat (Vipassana style). I emptied my mind and was amazed at rushed in to fill up the emptiness -- peace, joy, love. Despite that wonderful experience, I've gone to great lengths to avoid emptiness over the years since. Perhaps it's our society's views of productivity and our bigger/harder/faster/more mentality. All of that hard work and busyness gives emptiness a bad name. Some call it laziness or navel gazing or lack of productivity. I now call it necessary.
So I'm fine with feeling empty regarding blog topics. After all, this post is getting written, isn't it? And it's reminded me of the important lesson that emptiness offers -- fullness. It sounds a little like a koan, I know, but roll it around in your consciousness a bit and consider it. Do you allow emptiness in your yoga practice or do you have goals for and expectations about how it should go or what it should look like? Do you allow emptiness into your life or do you fill up every last minute with to dos or obligations or fluff (re: watching TV or surfing the Internet)? Do you give yourself space to allow your feelings to be felt and for your inner voice to be heard?
The blog post that started out as nothing has now morphed into this -- an invitation. I invite you to welcome emptiness into your yoga practice and your life. And I invite you to enjoy the fullness of the emptiness.