Emptiness – Stage Three on the Community Building Path
Move Over Chaos, Emptiness is a Very Difficult Stage Too
Stage three, Emptiness may be the hardest stage of the community building process. It’s difficult because at this stage we have to let go of so many things we’ve held onto for so long, many that we weren’t even aware we were holding.
In the stage of Emptiness, a place Chaos flows into when we finally, finally, finally decide enough is enough, is the time when we have to empty ourselves of our judgments and our opinions-which-become-judgments. It’s a time when we have to realize that we so often do not see people at all – we see what we expect to see and those expectations block our view of who they really are. We see the world through the lenses we’ve taken a lifetime to precisely craft. These lenses protect us, reducing life and the people in it to predictable bites we can easily process. Our fears and anxieties get in the way as well. When you do not want to deal with an issue, it’s much easier to walk away from someone who is dealing with it, who mirrors it and triggers this issue in you.
In emptiness, we realize that all we see is what we expect to see and that we interpret the world by processing it through our own computers. Emptiness is about acknowledging this, becoming quiet, observing without judgment. Emptiness is about silent acceptance – a willingness to hear and understand.
Emptiness is an awareness of a favourite saying I remember my mother using, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Because the greatest obstacle to community building and therefore the one obstacle we need to address is the thoughts, beliefs, desires, and woundedness of the person looking back at us from our mirrors.
Emptiness is the time when we lay down the strong feelings we had about the things that chaos raised. We question them. We doubt them. We ask for clarification. In emptiness we come to appreciate that though we are all different, we share a need to be who we are, and to be accepted for that.
In emptiness, we find peace. And that’s the portal to community and community is the path to world peace. But it begins within ourselves.
In the 14th Dalai Lama’s Nobel Lecture he said:
“When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.
When our community is in a state of peace,
it can share that peace with neighbouring communities…”
Photo: Lori Gosselin