Emptiness and the Art of Living Lightly
There is an art to cultivating emptiness. Because the way our minds work, we can spin in circles in our heads looking for hidden messages in emails, text messages and even in conversations with friends.
Until we train our minds, it is easy to place hidden meanings in a text message we receive or even in someone's decision not to respond to a text!
In Buddhism there is a concept called "emptiness." It is about not reading hidden messages - into anything. What if we allowed things to simply be - exactly as they are. What if what someone says - is exactly what they meant, with nothing more or less?
A few months ago I flew across the country to see my parents in Massachusetts, patting myself on the back for being such a great daughter. But over lunch my first day, my mom asked, “How long are you staying?” I froze. I had no idea! I had just arrived. Did they already want me to leave? I’m embarrassed to admit I spent the entire visit upset that I hadn’t really been wanted.
Months later I told my family how badly this felt, and they were confused. “I was just wondering how much food to buy!” my mother said. My father said they were just making conversation. I had held onto anger, and resentment, that had no place in my mind, my heart or in reality.
Buddhism teaches us that we can train our minds, over time, to let things be empty. And in this way, we can live happier lives. We can choose not to over-analyze a look, a question, a text, or anything at all.
This "emptiness" is one of the core concepts of Buddhism and something we, at The Path, teach in our meditation teacher training program. It is a lesson we need to hear and to think about often, especially now when people are under so much stress. There is an art to living lightly. It is something we must choose! But if we do - we can live happier, more carefree lives.