What does Emptiness mean?

Photo by Brian Thompson

Q: What is the meaning or experience of Emptiness?

I prefer to think of Emptiness as shorthand for a longer phrase that I feel is much more clear, which is — “empty of independent existence”.

For example, when there is anger felt within the body and mind, it is empty. “It” has no home. “I” don’t own it. In fact, “it” doesn’t even exist — it is entirely empty of independent existence. “It” is merely a passing phenomena of which I am aware. From where did it come? To where does it go? It doesn’t, because it never truly existed, it just appeared to. It was illusory. It was empty.

To recognize your own emptiness then is to realize that you are not an independent entity. You are not a “thing” or even a separate “someone”. You are an inter-dependent part of the whole — an apparent “something” that is co-arising alongside all other “appearances” of form. But to clarify further, you are empty of form! That includes physical, mental, emotional, and whatever other forms you could possibly imagine.

You are empty of all such conceptual notions. Instead, you are the empty and boundless awareness that illuminates their appearance.
It may appear that you are many things, but with the wisdom of insight it will become clear that you are the causeless Reality that enables all such ideas to be cognized and perceived. You are the emptiness that IS Awareness, that IS the boundless consciousness that illumines the “bound” subjective mind.

Emptiness is indeed boundless, and so is this Awareness that you are, here and now. Awareness (the true Selfless Self) has no perimeter or edges to it. It has no beginning and has no end. It is limitless. BUT, that which appears within it (the world) IS limited, including the personalized sense of self.

Emptiness is a reminder that whatever you think is inherently untrue — most importantly when it comes to your sense of self and your sense of others. The mind and your physical body that is full of feelings and opinions and personal preferences is limited and conditioned by all, past and present. And upon reflection, it will be seen that there has never been a personal or independent self who has ever been in control. There is only conditioning, however it appears and however it arises, here and now.

The paradox of Zen becomes clear when it is seen that the only personal YOU there is, is this Alive Awareness that is cognizing these very words, here and now. There is only THIS. Now. Now. Now. There is only this moment, now — and you are That. No person. Nothing personal. No thing. Nothing. Just emptiness. Just boundless aware space… an awake and aware presence of Awareness, Being.

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Solve the right problem

“A great solution to the wrong problem will always fail,” says Nielsen Norman Group’s Sarah Gibbons in her three-minute video on “User Need Statements in Design Thinking.” Nielsen Norman Group consults on website usability. However, much of what Gibbons discusses applies to other written materials, too.

User need statement

Gibbons defines a user need statement as “An actionable problem statement used to summarize who a particular user is, the user’s need, and why the need is important to that user.” Understanding this information will help you write better communications of all kinds. That includes blog posts, articles, white papers, and even emails.

It interested me that she spoke about the need to empathize with the user.

More resources

If you prefer to learn from written materials instead of video, check out Gibbons’ article on “User Need Statements: The ‘Define’ Stage in Design Thinking.”

To learn about my approach to understanding your audience, read my blog post on identifying “What problem does this blog post solve for them?” and my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.


The image in the upper left is courtesy of Free photobank torange.biz [CC BY-SA 4.0].

The post Solve the right problem appeared first on Susan Weiner's Blog on Investment Writing.

BEANSTALKER and OTHER HILARIOUS SCARY TALES by Kiersten White / Book Review #BeanStalker

By: Kiersten White
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: July 25th, 2017
Ages: 8 & up
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Rating: 5 Owlets
An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales; in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

Snow White is a vampire, Little Red Riding Hood is a zombie, and Cinderella is an arsonist — and that is only some of the mayhem the reader will find in this collection of fractured fairy tales.

A laugh out loud debut middle grade book from one of my favorite YA authors. Kiersten White has created my favorite mix of fractured fairytales and nursery rhymes to date! I loved the way she intertwined, and interconnected so many classics, and the spin she gave each one. If having vampires, zombies and stepmothers isn’t enough to entice you, the illustrations, and the narration will be. 

This is the perfect blend of fairytales and nursery rhymes. Who knew you could combine stories like Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, Jack & Jill, The Dish and The Spoon, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack Be Nimble, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Stepmother. White’s intertwining of these stories was awesome! Numerous times while reading this book I wondered how White was able to pull this off so well. 

The narration in this story is my favorite part of the entire book. Talk about sassy! The narrator definitely stole the show in this book. It’s what made this story so much fun to read. It’s not just their self awareness that makes the narrator so appealing either. The narrator would make a great language arts teacher. Numerous times in this story the narrator points out the homonym and homophone words that characters miss. Like The Princess and The Pea. Let’s just say it’s not, well, you wouldn’t want to sleep on that mattress. This narration definitely makes for the perfect, hilarious, read aloud. 

This book is a must read! It’s equal parts hilarious, and spooky, though it is way more hilarious than spooky. It’s spooky in the best way possible, because some of these characters are not the sweet, innocent characters we all grew up reading about. The spooky twists come from some of them being vampires and zombies. This may be written for middle grade readers, but it will definitely be appealing to all readers ages 8 and up. Including adults. It was part of my Halloween read up earlier this week, but this is one book that can be read all year long.