31 October 2011

Filling a Much Needed (Non-Existent) Void

I had a prof in grad school who threw me one day with a line about some philosopher's writings.  He said, "Oh yeah, so-and-so.  His work fills a much needed void."  I cracked up on the spot, I chuckled the rest of the day, and I still think it's a great line.

Here's the thing: It's as true of my life as it may well have been of that philosopher's work.  As the years plod on I find myself letting go of this activity or that thing, not because there's a problem with it inherently, but because the void I'm trying to fill with it is just fine on its own.

Then again, maybe that's not the best way to put it.  Let's go with this:

There has never been a void.  I have never been separated from anything.  Any "void" I'm trying to fill is but a phantom, an illusion, a projection of a self that wants to set itself apart.  I can try to fill all I want, but in the end I'm just making the chasm deeper and wider.  When I stop, when I lay down the burden, the non-existent void "closes" of its own accord.  All I have to do is stop.  All I have to do is lay down the burden.

They say there are no articles of faith in Buddhism.  I'd say that there's one:  I believe that when I stop and lay down the burden of the self that all manner of things shall be well, just as they have always been from the very beginning.  Of course, now that I think about it, when you get right down to it that's nothing but the truth of dukkha, its cause, its end and the path to its end, isn't it?

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