I have to admit that my first instinct after reading the title was to grab a bag of popcorn. My next instinct (or actual act) was to open and eat said popcorn. I’m blaming this on my old friend existential angst. I wonder what Yalom would think? I wonder what ever happened to that woman in grad school who “borrowed” my “existential psycholotherapy book and never returned it. One of my great accomplishments of my career was reading that book cover to cover and understanding it! Pardon my moment of free association.
Can you imagine meditating on emptiness?
A central Buddhist insight, emptiness is the understanding that neither we nor any phenomenon in the universe — sentient or otherwise — has a permanent, separate, and independent core, or soul.
For an anxious neurotic like myself this brings an intial sense of panic. I can feel the ground beneath my feet begin to break up. But on further reflection the idea is intriguing and a core feature of Buddist teachings.
“Mindfulness and other contemplative techniques are very useful for creating mental calm and space in which to explore the mind,” Van Gordon said. “But one has to go a step further and undermine the emptiness of self and the emptiness of all phenomena — that’s very consistent with the Buddhist teachings across most traditions.
I am still working on achieving mindfullness in my daily life. I hadn’t realized there are two more pieces to the puzzle: compassion and emptiness. All mediatative narratives.
In order to have a complete understanding of Buddhist techniques, Van Gordon believes science must cover all three phases: mindfulness, compassion, and emptiness. He wants to see an increasing focus on the relationship between emptiness and wellbeing.
Btw, I put the popcorn down and read the article and was calmer for it… This is a good read or “food for thought.”