Essence Is Emptiness
Emptiness brings peace
Everything else, disease.
In this world of trickery
emptiness is what your soul wants.
Illuminated Rumi, rendered by Coleman Barks
Does our soul really want emptiness? How can one’s consciousness want emptiness? What our soul is subjected to now is a continuous onslaught of activities, ideas, desires, perpetual motion generated by our thought process. Our attention is constantly distracted by a barrage of unsolicited thought waves that crowd out any awareness of our inner state, our real self.
We live in a world of trickery. What appears to be real, of substance, is all just smoke and mirrors. Everything here is in a state of flux. Nothing remains the same and nothing lasts. And because we have become separated from that which is real, we naturally look to the world to find substance. It is a clever scheme devised to keep us involved in the mirage. For countless lifetimes the mind has run after its objects, persons and places, striving for personal achievements, knowledge and enjoyment, trying to find fulfilment and peace within the parameters of this physical plane. In doing so, we have so complicated our living, so crowded our mind, that we spend most of our precious human lifetime agitated, unfulfilled and out of touch with our true essence – our soul.
Rumi tells us what the nature of that essence is. He says “Essence is emptiness.” Our consciousness contains no words; it is unoccupied with thought forms. Who we are is nothing of this world. The identity that the mind upholds, that we believe in, is not our essence. It is our soul that is the vast pure consciousness of love.
Everything else is accidental. The word “accident” comes from the Latin “accidens”, meaning non-essential quality. Everything we are involved in here – our jobs, our accomplishments, our relationships, our strivings, even our impressions and perspectives – all are contingent on the law of karma. We reap what we have sown in the past. Everything arises from extrinsic causes – causes that operate outside of us. They happen from without, and do not form a part of, or belong to us. They originate from the past and act upon us, but are not a part of our essence. They are not who we are.
And Rumi says: “Emptiness brings peace to loving. Everything else, disease” – dis-ease, lack of ease, lack of peace. When there is an absence of everything external, we are at peace with ourselves, at peace with the love that fills that emptiness. Everything else is disease; it impairs our internal being. Only when we become empty can we experience our essence. It is what our soul wants. It wants to be free from the domination of the mind, free from the mental pre-occupations that continually steal our attention. It longs for the silent calm that allows it to be in touch with its Source.
Maharaj Sawan Singh says:
There is a higher consciousness in each one of us, but we can be aware of it only after concentrating our attention at the eye centre. The saints have called this conscious energy, the surat or soul. Surat is another name for attention combined with consciousness. It is within us and is the very life and essence of our whole being. We have to know it (i.e., to know ourselves), and understand it, and thus free ourselves from worldly ties.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. I
I wish that all of you who have received initiation may go inside the eye centre, become the dwellers of the beautiful mansions your Creator has made for you, and be masters of these in your own right. In a way it is not difficult. One is only to look inside one’s own self instead of looking out…. With patience and skilful handling, man has trained wild animals, even lions. By repetition of the names and by hearing the sound current, all this in its own interest, the mind can be trained to sit inside the eye centre and enjoy that sweetness and bliss which it has not tasted before.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems