The Buddhist concept of emptiness teaches us that nothing has inherent meaning, only that which we project onto it. This is true in our individual lives and as a society. Modern physics has also proven that at the most elemental level, nothing is fixed; everything is continually in flux.
Awareness and integration of this truth is tremendously freeing and liberating; but how can we live it in our daily lives? Use these ideas and practices for living from the awareness of “emptiness” more of the time:
1. Delve Deeply Into Emptiness
Do you truly understand the concept of emptiness, or is it still somewhat abstract for you? Spend time immersing yourself in its reality; think about how certain food items are heavenly to some people and repulsive to others. What is traumatic to one person might be no big deal to another. We all have preferences, and we are all continually making meaning of our surroundings. See deeply that meaning is relative and that nothing is fixed. Try and tune into the innate creative power that is inherent in everything; this is emptiness.
2. Tap Into the Quantum World
Quantum physics has proven that everything exists as pure potential until there is an observer to give it meaning. Waves of potential remain waves until the scientist (observer) measures or observes it; then the wave “collapses” into a particle that tends to coincide with what the scientist expects to see. What are your expectations of life? How are you collapsing “waves into particles” in your reality? Can you see that anything is possible?
3. Know that You’ve Been Conditioned
We’ve all been conditioned by our childhoods, schooling, peers, adverising/marketing, societal structures and the world around us. Knowing that we are predisposed to making meaning in certain ways can help us to remember that there is a “zero point” from which all phenomena arise and to which they all return.
4. Get in Touch with “The Watcher”
There is a transcendent part of each of us that is independent of our conditioning and preferences. This dimension has been called “The Watcher,” and the more we can watch our own mind, thought patterns and meaning-making mechanisms, the less we are in bondage to this conditioning. We can still have preferences, but we don’t have to be ruled by them.
5. The Best of Both Worlds
Ultimately, all phenomena are “Buddha nature” just as much as emptiness is. Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form; it doesn’t have to be either-or. Even as you’re making meaning and enjoying your preferences, know that within everything is the emptiness of pure potential, which can give birth to anything.
Living with the awareness of emptiness might be easier said than done, but diligent practice will pay off. Use these five tips to integrate the awareness of emptiness and enjoy a more liberated life.