One of the most difficult aspects to understand concerning the practice of meditation is the concept of “emptiness”, and the whole tradition of meditative practices is filled with this concept. At the opposite, modern Western culture is filled by fullness in every meaning of the term: in art, in music, in physical spaces, even as a constant flow of thoughts in our mind… all is filled with „something“. There is no place for what in the ancient meditative traditions, is called “emptiness”. And, never before as in our contemporary society, humans suffer a loss of moments of silence and stillness – for “empty spaces”.
But what is the meaning of such emptiness and why should one achieve it? The meaning of emptiness in meditation is that we have to empty the cup to receive new water; in the same way, before realizing our inner nature, our true self, we have to empty our mind (the cup) from all the contents which don’t allow the expression of what we really are.
The reason for this observation originates from a statement that could be expressed in the following words: every human being possesses a hidden nature that possesses marvelous qualities and possibilities, but they can’t be expressed because of the hundreds of preconceptions and convictions which fill the mind. The realization of such a primordial, hidden nature (our true nature) can be realized through the emptiness intended not as a philosophical concept, but an experience.
In meditational practice, one tries to put aside or, better said, rarify convictions and ideas acquired through life and realize a still emptiness from which will arise new perceptions and understanding concerning human nature and life in all its integrity. The practitioner in such a way will make the distance from the conditioned perceptions of reality, and this is the meaning of “emptiness”. No judgments, no points of view; just the clear intuition that all what we see, perceive, accept and know is only the tip of the iceberg compared to what we objectively are and what life is.
There is not very much to say about “emptiness”; indeed, speaking about such a topic would seem to fill something that needs to remain… empty.
Everyone of us has the possibility to accept and understand or, otherwise, refuse and deny the idea that we know very little about ourselves and life in general: every opinion, thought or image we have about reality is still a part of the conditioned mind. Only through achieving a state of mental silence can we allow an unconditioned wisdom flowing from inside us.
This is the so -claimed “silence” of which teachers and meditators had spoken of and still speak about: an emptiness in the real sense of the term- free from every content, conditioning, conviction, judgment and everything that represents a limit to the expression to our true self.
While keeping the attention on breath and posture, we take the distances from the common associative thought, we don’t try to stop it, we just allow it to progressively calm and vanish. What will remain is a silent “empty space”, in which, through a constant practice, we’ll see arise a different perception of our intimate nature.