The Empty One
The empty one is the only one who has enough room to hold all the riches of the land.
But the empty one does not hold on to them, but keeps letting go.
And in letting go, the empty one creates room for more riches to enter.
Yet, the empty one does not care if riches or rags come in,
For they are the same to such a one.
The empty one wants to share the riches of the land with you,
but you are already too full of dull jewels and worn tapestries,
from all the roles that you play.
Only one who is empty enough has room to hold all the majesty of this world.
The empty one says, “Let go, and you too will be filled with all the riches of the land."
By John Wepner
This empty one in this poem is in each and every one of us. The empty one is our awareness, the empty space that all we see and notice fills. Our awareness can hold everything, riches and rags. Often times we are so full of the dull jewels and worn tapestries of our ideas, stories, directions, emotions, that we miss the fullness that is present in each and every moment. This fullness is all the riches of the land, and only when we can become empty in our awareness of things, can we feel and notice it.
In the weekly meditation group I lead at The Wepner Wellness Center, our aim is just this. To become empty so that we can experience the riches of the land. Obviously it is easier said than done. Often times our minds are so woven into the fabric of our lives, that it takes time and dedication to allow the mind to unwind. It takes time for the mind to release its grasp on us.
I know when I started doing a daily meditation practice for myself, that it took a whole month and a half before I could sit in relative peace for ten minutes. Because I was committed to simply sitting for ten minutes each day, I could sit through my mind going nuts, it was a very unpleasant ten minutes day after day. Then almost as if it were magic, my mind stopped, and I could sit in peace. Like I said, it took a while for the magic to happen, but it did happen, and it was very pleasant. Now I am sure you would love to hear that I continued this practice and was able to sit in peace forever and live happily ever after, right? Wrong.
After maybe three weeks of being able to sit in peace for ten minutes a day, I lost my commitment and motivation, and stopped my daily meditation practice. Have any of you every experienced this? Where things were going too well and it got boring or you lost interest? On one hand I accomplished my goal of being able to find peace in meditation, and on the other I had given up that space I allowed myself each day to rest in. Life continued, and after a few months I sat to meditate again, expecting the peace I had found would still be there waiting for me. Guess what I found? I found my mind going nuts again. And again it took time to allow the mind to die down and rest. It took time to find peace again.
The moral of this story is finding the peace you want in your life comes at a cost. The cost is giving up the ways you keep it from yourself. For me, it was finding the time to simply sit for ten minutes in meditation, and then seeing it through. I had to give up my desire to keep letting my mind be the most important asset I had. In sitting in meditation I allowed something greater than my mind to take hold.
In returning to meditation, I had to sit with the consequences of allowing my thoughts to rule me, sitting with my mind going nuts again. I still pay this price when I allow my mind to take over. In this world of ours, allowing our minds to run our lives is actually encouraged. That is why a regular meditation practice of sitting in stillness is important; it creates space for letting go of this false sense of control. I invite you to consider such a practice for yourself as well, especially as we enter a new year. The curative agent for all the business in our lives is not to find a better activity; it is to rest, to sit in stillness. And if you give yourself enough time, and are willing to see it through, I can guarantee you will find peace. Even if that peace only comes in fleeting moments, it is worth the endeavor. The peace and aliveness you will find in life contains all the riches of the land.
Blessings on this new year we co-create together,