The Art of Emptiness
The Art of Emptiness
Sometimes our lives seem very full. So much to do. So much to think. And sometimes, not much time to simply be.
Today, I am lucky.
Today, 2nd June 2012, I have spent most of the day sitting in one place. A sunny, beautiful place.
Sometimes my eyes have been open and sometimes they have been shut. Once I lay down and had a little snooze. And I had a break to put the washing on the line…
And then I came back to doing nothing.
I have enjoyed it very much. This photo is of one of things I can see (I am still here!)
Today has given me a chance to have a stretch of nothing.
I have been emptying out, letting go. When I found my mind thinking about a particular thing, I have let it move on. I haven’t had any profound thoughts or blazing insights; rather a chance to release some of my habitual busyness of mind and body.
I am not writing all this to make you feel jealous. I know how lucky I am.
Rather, it struck me as I rested here, that what I am experiencing today is like a long exhalation, over hours rather than seconds. Over time, the outbreath is finding its place, lengthening and softening as it realizes I am not pushing for the next inbreath, not struggling to move on, and that it’s OK to rest into its own being.
And for anything, when given the time and opportunity to be fully itself, there is profound relief. When resting into acceptance and spaciousness, there is room simply to be.
When resting into acceptance and spaciousness, there is room simply to be.
How much do we long to be accepted, to be allowed to be ourselves, to be seen and heard for our true selves?
It doesn’t matter whether it is an outbreath, the breather of the outreath, the thoughts that race around our heads or the feelings in our bodies – I believe that everything has a fundamental desire to be accepted just the way it is.
I see this all the time in my work with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
When I ask (for example), “if it could speak, what does that pain in your shoulder want to say to you”, the answer is always something along the lines of, “stop trying to push me away, I’m only trying to help you”. Then when we tap on behalf of that pain-
• “Even though you have been doing a great job of looking after this shoulder, it’s OK to rest now”
it is acknowledged and feels free to leave its post and literally the pain goes.
Or when we give voice to the hidden thought – “I am such a shit to have done such a thing, I don’t deserve to ever feel good again.” Then we tap,
• “Even though I am telling myself I am such a shit, I love and accept myself”.
• “Even though I don’t deserve to ever feel good again, I accept myself just the way I am”.
Then that thought is given space and acceptance and love and begins the process of being dissolved.
The very act of acknowledgment, with love and acceptance, of even the dark and dangerous parts, is a major part of the healing process.
How often have you felt relief when someone just listened to you? Not forgiven (that can come later) but first and foremost just (just!) listened and heard and acknowledged…
I believe it is a huge societal ill that this doesn’t happen. From the tiniest baby (“stop crying!”) to the war of righteous words slung across battle lines – if we only stopped
and gave space…
Listening doesn’t mean agreeing or condoning. We absolutely need morals and ethics. But even the murderer has a point of view. Hearing it surely gives more wisdom and understanding?
This is the function, I believe, of the Set Up Phrase in EFT. EFT tapping works without using the Set-Up phrase, but I really really love it, for all the reasons above.
When we acknowledge all the pain and darkness and judgements, and still say, “I love and accept myself”, then the dark side is given space. It doesn’t matter whether we do love and accept ourselves, the words are enough. They are the day to the issue’s night. They are the ears to the issue’s cry. And if someone really can’t say them, there are endless variations, all the way from “I’m a great kid” to “I just about accept that one day far in the future I might be able to think I am OK”.
We frame the Phrase, “Even though”…
We state the problem, “I have this issue…” – this is the inbreath…
We acknowledge ourselves, “I accept myself…” – this is the outbreath.
There is a magical rhythm to this. Without the frame of “Even though” and the acknowledgement of “I accept myself”, there is only complaining or moaning or judging or being a victim. The outbreath gives it transcendence. It lifts our problems out of the realm of the ego and begins the journey to forgiveness. (Again I stress that we are not condoning the negative, merely giving it a right to be voiced…)
With EFT tapping, if we clear our false beliefs and unwanted negative emotions honestly and thoroughly, then we come to the knowledge not of, “I love and accept myself” but, “I am loved and accepted…” and that, surely, is where true healing lies.
And it begins with the acceptance, the being, the outbreath…the emptiness…
Each time we tap, we are giving ourselves the chance to rest into acceptance. Each time we tap, (whether or not we have used the Set Up Phrase), we dissolve the ties that bind of those false beliefs. And there is a beautiful emptiness there, with no room for ego or false pride.
So even if you don’t have the chance to spend all day doing nothing, you have the chance to tap. Even a few seconds gives that space, that acceptance, that emptiness. So the art of emptiness doesn’t depend on the luxury of a day spent doing nothing. All it needs is acceptance. And an outbreath…