Why Do We Fear An Empty Mind?

“Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”

–Blaise Pascal

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When a thought enters the mind, it is replaced by another. It is automatic. We are not aware that a thought has segued into another thought. But upon developing the muscles of concentration, we become conscious of the entry and exit process of our thoughts. The mind gradually begins to entertain fewer thoughts per minute. We become aware that there is an interval, a delay, a space between one thought and another. This space is emptiness but also a fullness. At this level of awareness, we are in the sanctum of pure awareness. There are many who are living in this state of pure awareness, and their experiences are lucid and real.

Many are in search of this state, whether they know it or not. We are wired to seek and find what we seek. This quest is as old as humanity itself. There is no need to spend time and energy seeking some illusory “self.” What you are seeking is inside of you, and it is you. It is the mind that asserts otherwise.

please read more:  via Natasha Dern: Why Do We Fear An Empty Mind?.

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2 Responses to Why Do We Fear An Empty Mind?

  1. A Table in the Sun says:

    With all of today’s automation, we have even more time to spend in endless loops of thinking and drama-filled action. I, for one, have decided to unplug, undo, and just be. Unlearning a lifetime of creative, but exhausting problem solving thinking isn’t easy at first, but I have have come to love “the space in between” through present moment awareness. Such freedom!

  2. bussokuseki says:

    There are real cultural elements to this as well – I do not believe we all fear an empty mind equally. The American founding ideal of progressing through effort and activity I think contributes to this; I know it does in my own upbringing. It has at once been an obstacle and a gate to awareness.

    Thoughtful piece, thank you. Be well~

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