*Brian Wilcox. 'Kennebec River ~ Winter Series no. 10
View from Sagadahoc Bridge that connects Bath and Woolwich, Maine. To left is Georgetown Island, to right historic shipyard, Bath Iron Works, which has been in operation since 1884.
Once I knew only darkness and stillness... my life was without past or future... but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.
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The Sage was asked about his teaching on the centrality of emptiness. He said:
A man asked an architect to build a house for him. The man said, "I want a house without a door." The perplexed architect asked, "I can do this, but how will anyone get in?" The man said, "Oh, no problem, I'll figure that out after it's built." The man also instructed, "And I don't want it to have windows." The architect, more bewildered, replied, "I can do that, but how will the sunlight enter?" The man said, "Oh! no problem, I'm sure that will become clear after the house is built." The architect built the house based on the owner's instructions. Yet, no one could find a way to enter the house, and the sunshine could not shine into it. The house was dark and vacant. One could say that this was a lonely house.
The Sage spoke, "So, is it not the emptiness of the doors and windows that welcomes the house to be filled? Emptiness allows fullness. The more you empty yourself, the more you welcome into yourself. How sad, indeed, is one empty of emptiness. That one is truly empty."
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We see this conjunction of emptiness and fullness in all Nature. Photosynthesis is one example. For photosynthesis to occur, plants require light, water, and carbon dioxide. Water is ingested from the soil into the cells of roots. This water passes through the xylem arteries in the stem until it reaches the leaves. Leaves have pores called stomata, and through these pores carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere. The leaves contain chloroplasts that hold chlorophyll. The chlorophyll is what receives the energy of the Sun. Without emptiness, which is also receptivity, the plant could not welcome this fullness ~ water, oxygen, sunlight ~ into itself. It would be truly empty, it would die. The openness, the spaciousness of welcome, to receive, allows the plant to be filled, so thrive.
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So, emptiness does not contradict fullness. Emptiness works in agreement with fullness, they are mutually-dependent, alike how in-breath and out-breath move in harmony. Hence, wise words of the late Agnes Sanford, in The Healing Light...
Only the amount of God that we can get in us will work for us.
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(C)Brian Wilcox, 2020