06 July 2009

Understanding the empty room

The Spacious Mind

By Ajahn Sumedo, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. V, #1

The spacious mind has room for everything. It is like the space in a room, which is never harmed by what goes in and out of it. In fact, we say "the space in this room," but actually, the room is in the space, the whole building is in the space. When the building has gone, the space will still be there. The space surrounds the building, and right now we are containing space in a room. With this view we can develop a new perspective. We can see that there are walls creating the shape of the room and there is the space. Looking at it one way, the walls limit the space in the room. But looking at it another way, we see that space is limitless.

From the Tao, it is not the room that is important, but the space within. From Heidegger, the space exists whether the room does or not.

But I feel that what we fail to realize is that it is the space, the empty area that defines the room, that we never truly understand. The area we live in is filled with our stuff, stuff that we feel defines us, but the space between all of that is what truly does. It feels all that we do, and absorbs our energies, recording what we were at that moment in time.

And that is what we fail to see, that all that we do is seen somewhere, usually by the space around us, and is recorded. While we all wish to be good and do the right thing, in reality we all have our own dark moments. The space around us records it.

No, we should not avoid the darkness. It is part of our own human nature and vital to our survival. It makes us who we are, and if we can embrace it as natural, then we will be whole.

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