I recently wrote a post for my own blog, ajdowntherabbithole, about feeling empty and not being able to write because of that emptiness. It is a very frustrating place to be – emptiness – especially if you want to be productive. But there is another way of looking at this state of being that I did not go into in that post, and I would like to address it here.
In Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki talks about how when we are always at the beginning, always open, there is room to fill up and we are continually learning. To have beginner’s mind is, in a sense, to be empty and ready to become full. It is a fantastic, young way to look at and be in life. Beginner’s mind helps us to be acutely aware all the time, always seeing for the first time, living in a world that renews itself every minute. Each morning you are born anew, facing a different environment, and a new mind.
In looking at emptiness through this lens of beginner’s mind, emptiness becomes a state of expectancy, giving one the capacity needed to fill up. It makes room for revelation, inspiration, and acquisition – both literally and figuratively – and means that we are never at the “end”. We are starting fresh all the time, emptying and re-filling constantly. It is part of the circle of life. We cycle the same way Nature cycles, just sometimes in ways that cannot be seen.
This view of “Empty/Full” says that we are never completely either, that we are always in a state of becoming, which is what gives life its vitality. It is true that this kind of constant flux can be a challenge and sometimes uncomfortable, but it is also life’s movement, and no one should be static, even though static can feel safer.
Seeing my own emptiness in this way, I know that I am expectant. Empty and Full become the same thing and I am forever a beginner. It is comforting to me to be able to accept this, and it keeps me in mind of the fact that nothing stays the same, change is all around me and through me. Being in beginner’s mind all the time is an opportunity that goes on and on. Allowing myself to come to terms with emptiness means that I am ready for fullness, for this never-ending process. It means that I am always creating. And it also reminds me that I am no different than any other artist.
Andie the Fae