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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What is Emptiness?

Emptiness..what is emptiness?, my sister telephones. My mind spins with possibilities, all ways of describing the indescribable.

It's a great subject, dear to my mystic's heart. Just last week at the Meditation and Conversation group I am trying out, I focused on Aum, Om, the sound that comes out of Emptiness. And now comes this serendipitous opportunity to consider it a bit more.

Implicate Orders

The response in terms of physics might be Physicist David Bohm's theory of implicate orders. His idea is that all creation...sky, earth, people, animals, atoms, stars and oceans....come out of nothing. Each was an idea before becoming a reality on the physical plane. Bohm has implicate orders inside of implicate orders, like Russian dolls that nest one inside the next.

In the Beginning was the Word

St John, in the Bible, says “In the beginning was the word, and the word was made manifest and lived among us.” Where did the word come from? From nothingness, the void, emptiness. Vedanta says the sound of Om is actually God; Om is the sound that comes out of emptiness.

Silence is the Altar of God

Another expression, “Silence is the altar of God” from Paramahansa Yogananda, the great Indian yogi, suggests the same emptiness or nothingness. In this case, the Unformed, the Unmanifest, Emptiness is called Silence.

Tao Te Ching

Or consider the Chinese Tao Te Ching that begins, “The Tao that can be named is not the One.” Again, the Tao is the unseen emptiness from which all actions, all things flow.

What is emptiness? Not absence. Rather, overflowing potential.

Mystical Intuition

What does it look like, how does it taste, what is its smell? What is its meaning? Obviously, it's unseen, it cannot be smelled or tasted or felt, nor can it be heard. But perhaps it can be intuited. Meaning is not tangible and hence, has a life apart. We intuit the Source of All Things, using senses beyond the physical body.

Vastly more powerful than all the nuclear energy on the globe—immensely more expansive than all created things, emptiness speaks to the inner knowing of each mystic, ultimately lives in each of us.

Out of the darkness...out of emptiness, God said let there be Light.

Your Comments

I'm sure much more can be said about Emptiness and Silence....I'd like to hear your “take” on my sister's question, “What is emptiness?”

(c) 2010


  1. For me, Emptiness is giving one's self the permission to "not know" at the moment. I believe the best teachers are those who listen as much as they preach. It can be scary to feel empty for a while. But I'd rather be empty, than full of things in my life that are not helpful to my growth. I think the more people try to fill their lives with non-essential things such as excess money or power, the more they will find themselves empty in the future.

  2. Lynne, thanks for your comment. The Tibetans say, Emptiness is form; form is emptiness. So we go back and forth between the two, but it's all God.

  3. Emptiness and Form is a great topic to explore. As a Scientist/Philosopher I have studied Physics and Science and used to be a Physics major in 1982 - 1984.

    In the last few months I reviewed what Bohm has to say about Emptiness and Form. Bohm was a quantum Physicist in the early seventies and eighties.

    Jo speaks about Bohm's Theories of the Implicate and Super Implicate Orders. One thing to think about is that to locate a sub atomic particle in any form one cannot pinpoint exactly where that particle actually is in the physical world of this Matter-Energy expression of Reality that we all live in, instead Quantum Physics approaches this topic in a different way, that is that the particle is located in a probable location, and when you are able to see it, you are seeing a potentiality, or probability location and not exactly the particle location you are looking at because your eyes can only perceive the light that the particle produces, and the act of looking at the particle essentially alters where it is located. Because the particle moves at high velocities approaching the Speed of Light, we can only see a probable location of that particle based on a period of time.

    Bohm shows that our physical bodies are constantly blinking in and out of Reality Called Matter-Energy depending on a period of time. So we perceive each other in a period of Time in the Time-Space Continuum we Call Matter, or the physical expression of Life as we know it. Since we are all perceiving each other's light transmitted to us at the Speed of Light, we appear to each other as substantial and present in our Reality in a period of Time.

    Also, it is also very important to note, that Biology, Science, and Physics has shown that our physical bodies are essentially made up of empty space. Every second the human body is in a state of equilibrium or balance biologically, and energetically, and is constantly changing. When you eat, your physical body as a whole existence is in a state of change.

    Biology and Science have also proved that within seven years our bodies replace all of its cells, which means our bodies are essentially a different body every seven years with all the substance replaced.

    Bohm calls this expression of Consciousness the Explicate order which contains every thing we perceive with all of our senses and sixth sense or Third Eye and is the expression of all manifestation in the Time Space Continuum or Matter-Energy existence we call Reality that we perceive every day in a segment of Time.

    If we can accept this as a form of Truth, we might say that we are in a constant state of Recreation. What an interesting way to explain the Reality that we Know and Share with 9 Billion other Human Beings? Who would of thought that the reality of Recreation could be so personal, non personal and Universal all at the same time? This is a great time to be Alive.

    The Explicate Order is contained and made manifest out of the Implicate Order, which is contained in the Super Implicate Order, which is contained in an Infinite number of Super Implicate and Super Super Implicate Orders to the beginning and end of all Time, the Time-Space Continuum or Matter-Energy Existence we call the Multi-Verse.

    Being Human Beings we share our lives on the Beautiful Planet Earth which contains all of the building blocks of Life that we experience every day with all of our senses and sixth sense or Third Eye.

    Being that we are essentially made of empty space yet we are also made of form, a form that spans throughout the Orders of Reality called the Immplicate, Super Implicate, and Explicate Orders of Reality or Multi-verse and that it is essentially empty space.

    What a phenomenal and miraculous Multi-verse we live in?

  4. Thanks, Maitreyaspirit, for becoming a follower and for your post on Bohm....he is an amazing theorist who also wrote about spirituality. I'm always amazed at the interjunction of science and spirituality.

  5. It was a pleasure explaining Bohm's theories a little bit more clearly. Thanks for your comments.