Your Soul… What is its nature? What are you made of?
Are you filled with radiantly divine spiritual light, as some ancient teachers have proclaimed?
Are your atoms microscopic sizzling suns of indescribable cosmic power?
Does your inner essence contain intricately rich inner worlds?
In other words, does your consciousness contain an ever-expanding fullness — abundantly over-flowing?
Many are convinced, through their meditative experiences, that radiant fullness defines your inner essence. If this is true for everyone, how do we explain another ancient realization that reached the opposite conclusion…
What if your essence is nothing at all — mere emptiness — as other ancient sages have proclaimed?
How would it feel if you believed that your essence were an expression of emptiness? When you move your awareness through the inner depths of your being, each level of which presumes to be an ever-deeper layer of your essence, could there be an inner empty world, free of all identity?
Would you find an unwritten blank slate deep within your essence? A void which has potential, yet it has no name, no specific identity, no personality, and no unique soul signature? If so, how would you recognize it as You?
Will you find the infinite void at your soul’s center? And, how would you respond to this discovery? Would you react with delight, that you had found your true self as being free of any limiting identities?
Or, would you respond with amusement, that you had tried so hard to discover your true identity, only to discover the shallowness of your quest?
Would you discover within your self a quiet speechless silence, free of all vibrations? Would this reflect true inner peace, or would you feel that this was merely a dull nothingness?
How could mystics have reached these opposite conclusions?
Fullness versus emptiness… It all seems contradictory. You can’t be full and empty at the same time, can you? But what if these were different expressions of the same deep understanding?
You can discover the greater truth uniting these seemingly contradictory principles by understanding what fullness and emptiness really meant to the ancient people who spoke of these principles:
1. Fullness refers to the ancient realization that everything in the universe– all physical forms, all people, all thoughts and feelings– all contain a seemingly limitless quantity of living, radiant energy.
This divine energy shines forth as a mighty power within even the tiniest grain of sand. Were you to explore a grain of sand with an infinitely powerful microscope, you would find that the infinitely smaller and smaller sub-atomic particles are filled with infinitely numerous micro-dynamos of inexhaustible energy. So we can understand how ancient spiritual explorers, searching within everything with their inner vision, recognized this unlimited fullness within everything in creation.
2. Emptiness refers to the ancient realization that the essential divine energy of the universe is everywhere. Therefore, it can not have one appearance, one sound, one feeling, or one identity.
It must, by its infinite nature, be able to express itself as all appearances, all sounds, and all identities. How could such an infinite energy be defined? It can not, except to say that it is so infinite as to contain all potentials.
And so, as reasoned the ancient spiritual explorers, such an energy, so grand in its scope that it can not be limited, named, or identified, must be free of all names and distinctions. In other words, it can most easily be characterized by complete emptiness– also known as the void.
3. How are fullness and emptiness expressions of the same idea? Let us compare these seemingly opposite principles. . .
– Both the fullness and the emptiness are everywhere.
– Both the fullness and the emptiness have no particular identity.
– Meditating upon both the fullness and the emptiness frees you from fixating upon any particular time or place.
– Meditating upon both the fullness and the emptiness shifts your attention from concerns of past, present, or future into a more universal awareness.
– Meditating upon both the fullness and the emptiness frees you from physical tension, and may help support general wellness.
What then, is the value, if any, in distinguishing fullness from emptiness?
Actually, though fullness and emptiness refer to the same essential quality of the Divine, they each have a different feel or flavor. . .
When you meditate on fullness, you are granted an ever shifting panorama of deeper levels within deeper levels of light, sound, and sensations…
This experience reveals the essential quality of the universe as ever-shifting and ever fascinating; a panorama of newness in each moment. This is valuable if you wish to be inspired, activated, and spiritually awakened. Such a meditation helps you to release limiting perceptions that the world is dull, unchanging, heavy, limited, or generally not enjoyable.
When you meditate on emptiness, you are relieved of the over-excitement of the modern material world…
You are given the freedom to see all the concerns, all the tensions, and all the overwhelm of modern life as a mere surface. Under this surface of busyness you discover the evenness, and the divine simplicity of the void– the realm of emptiness. This is valuable when you seek freedom from the overcharged, hyped up world that stimulates your senses.
If you are not sure whether a fullness or emptiness meditation is for you, feel free to explore both.
Here is an emptiness meditation you can explore:
– Notice your body, and notice the room or environment around you.
– As you breathe, notice the different shapes, colors, and textures around you.
– To explore emptiness, let yourself look through the objects, as if they were transparent. Let yourself imagine this.
– As you glance about the room, notice that the transparent objects all contain the same essential universal energy. Now you are discovering that all the objects in the room are no longer made of various materials, because you sense their essential oneness. The room has become simplified, and in that simplicity you can experience the balance, the grace, and the harmony of the void.
– Imagine that you can feel the energies in the room. You may find that the universal energies in the room are becoming even and smooth. You are discovering the underlying energy, and feeling its universal identity– empty of any particular identity.
– Let this simplicity calm you.
Here is a fullness meditation you can explore:
– Notice one of your hands.
– Sense the energies in your hand.
– Gently focus your attention on the center of your hand.
– Imagine your attention reaching more deeply into your palm, so that your awareness enters the inner sub-atomic world of your own hand.
– Go even deeper there– you are discovering the infinite worlds within your palm.
– Notice that the deeper you go, the more you discover ever more worlds of energy– each discovery revealing the infinite levels of creation.
– Let this experience free you from the limited perceptions you may have about this seemingly material world.
– Now let the infinite worlds within your palm gently flow through your body. You are touching the fullness of the universe — within yourself. You are letting that universal fullness share its infinite nature with your body, mind, and soul.
Through these simple awareness explorations, you can learn to deepen your perception, so that you can have your own profound spiritual realizations. You are beginning to learn how the ancients made their own spiritual discoveries.
With practice, you find that your imagination is a skillful path to deep inner knowing. Your imagination, when focused, helps you discover your own spiritual world view. You align with universal knowing, and attain the mystic realization that you and the universe are one.
And now, when you hear teachings about the universe as emptiness, or teachings about the universe as infinite worlds of radiant light, you will smile knowingly, because you now know that these teachings are both explanations of a deeper unified truth:
It is a truth that you have accessed through your own inner sensing and knowing…
And it is a deep understanding that you are becoming ever more familiar with each day, with every breath you take — fullness and emptiness are one, and both express your true nature.
Joel Bruce Wallach