Emptying the Mind

EMPTIED 10″x8″ mixed media on canvas board

I’ve read a number of Buddhist authors and participated in meditation groups and a retreat in the United States.  I’ve never really understood the emptying the mind thing.  Painting has been my one way to express this life’s journey, especially in the past 18 months.  Painting provides the opportunity to explore reality without words.  Over the holidays I was alone — for the first time.  I woke one morning and asked the question “why?” Why after many years of sacrifice to accomplish academic and professional credibility am I now without?: Without employment, without my family, without financial security and without a home. 

With little space between the question and the response, the answer came.  The impression of a voice, rising from the fasting lodge, the sweat lodge, the rocks, the mountains, the sky, the river and the ocean.  I’ve been emptied.  Nothing left to hold onto and nothing remains that I can attach my identity to.  Emptied.

At that precise moment, like the commitment to apply the loaded brush to canvas, I surrendered to the answer.

When I’m emptied, I see when jealousy, envy, hatred, resentment, sadness, gratitude, compassion, kindness and forgiveness enter the open space of emptiness.