If you try to hold a cup of water absolutely still,
It won’t work.
How can you still your cup if thoughts, without any ripple?
Just put the cup down, and let it take its own course without interference
– Sri Ananda
A vibration is usually the first sign of the stillness coming forth and expressing its full presence. Not a truck rumbling kind of vibration. But more like a motor – a pulsing, quickly turning motor that peers just above the consciousness, if you let everything else just fade away for a while.
Thus vibration is the color of the stillness, it’s texture, it’s odor. I call it it’s texture for stillness is otherwise elusive in description, for words come from stillness. It is like the proverbial fish describing the water. It just is, the fish would say.
Our stillness is the water. It just is. It is our breath. Our light. Our life. We emerge from the stillness, and we return to the stillness, interrupted only briefly by the shortest of journeys we call a life. Yet, we quickly forge a path that is composed of everything but the stillness. We maintain that our path, our life cannot be full without filling the emptiness with the makings of reputation, opinion or desires. If we do it long enough, like the glass, we fill it to the point where nothing can be added, where the glass overflows and nothing new is retained, and only the old attachments become our existence.
Like the silence that remains even when noise overtakes our senses, the emptiness that is the infinite stillness remains, awaiting the tipping of the proverbial glass.
So what are we to do first? Empty the glass, but leave the tap open? In so doing, we just keep filling the glass. Maybe even more quickly if we discover that the glass is empty, a feeling we can’t recall feeling maybe since our conscious memories, or shortly thereafter.
We just turn off the tap. We must stop. We must cease to fill the emptiness with emotions, sensations, reflexes, fears, wants, mindless actions, acting out…
Doing nothing is essential for thinking to occur. Many of the most important thoughts are unintentional—they can be neither solicited nor cajoled but have a rhythm of their own, creeping up, arriving, and leaving when we least expect them. It is important to cultivate the lassitude of mind that clears a place for the arrival of what cannot be anticipated. Idleness allows time for the mind to wander to places never before imagined and to return transformed.
—Mark C. Taylor
We must stop. Just stop. Just stop, knowing that it won’t empty the glass, it won’t bring forth the stillness and the infinite emptiness. It will simply cease to fill the emptiness, letting the same happen as with the glass, letting it just sit empty, slowly leaking and draining the vessel.
Although one would be tempted to tip over the glass and make it empty as quickly as possible, this would be the same as filling the glass with stuff. The action of emptying the glass more quickly than it can empty on its own is an act of filling the glass. Emptiness and stillness cannot be emptied and returned to its original form. It can only be left to return to its original nature under its own ways.
Only by returning to the stillness and the emptiness can you empty them of their baggage. Only by letting the stillness and infinite emptiness rest, just rest, can they float to the surface of the noise, the stuff, the actions, thoughts, feelings, sensations that have overfilled it for so long.
It is convenient therefore that simply being in the stillness and infinite emptiness is what is needed to both stop filling the emptiness, as well as emptying the emptiness.
How many days does it take to empty the glass? I guess it depends on the size of the glass, how much stuff is in the glass, and how leaky is the glass. It also depends how serious you are about stopping to fill the glass with more stuff.
Well, the glass is large, it’s many years worth of filling. It’s lots of stuff, large and small, sticky and runny, old and new, good and bad. Let’s say it’s full.
Perhaps we all carry an immemorial wound, an infinite loss, a self-exile we perpetrate on ourselves. It turns us into isolated entities stalking the earth in search of what we think we need—the temporary stays against ennui, despair, loss, and terror. But sooner or later, the wound can carry us toward its own remedy, if we only let it.
How leaky it is puts forth an interesting observation. If you are attached, sticky, clingy, to the many things in your glass, you may very well have described the importance of non-attachment, as attachment is effectively the recipe for making your glass water tight. You want a leaky glass? Bask in no-attachment. Then your glass will begin to leak, and empty itself of its contents.
As for adding new things into the glass, such things can only come from outside the emptiness and the stillness. The fewer these things are brought into your consciousness, the books and the media, the thoughts and the emotions, the wants and the fears. Both our world and our minds will find ingenious ways to continue to seek cracks and fissures to fill our space. Attaching to preventing them from entering is not the answer, as with attachement comes the clinging and glue that this external stuff needs to stick.
We can’t stop the mind from attempting to fill the emptiness, no different than we can prevent the external world from trying to sell us corn flakes.
So, rather than resisting, allow them to try. Invite them to try. Openly tell them that they are more than welcomed to fill the glass. Tell the world. Tell your mind. Not just tell them, invite them. Warmly greet them and observe them wanting to fill your emptiness and silence.
Then let go. Then detach. Not dettach as in surrender, detach as in non-attachment. Just don’t stick to them, and let the vessel stay empty. Let the vessel get really leaky, just letting these thoughts, ideas, sensations and emotions just come, and just leak out of the boat.
If you truly detach from the all, you will find your vessel as leaky as a sieve. It will just offer a bit of resistance in letting it go, but it will let it go, for it can’t do otherwise.
And you will find yourself left with not much. Only stillness, silence, infinite emptiness, and nothing left for which to cling or attach to.
This is another way you can consider the words
Be without need
You become without need when you have nothing within you to cling to, to grasp, to attach to. For you become infinite stillness, infinite emptiness, and the voiding silence that accompanies them.
In stillness and silence you will find the infinite emptiness within which needlessness rest.
Buddhism teaches us that desire, for all the agony and ecstasy, is no match for the truth.
– Joan Duncan Oliver