The abundance of emptiness



I find myself looking up a lot in these past weeks – walking in to the building where I teach, my gaze lifts to the branches of tulip poplar and oak, the stones and bricks of the rooflines, the copper flashing, the chimneys, the sky and the morning light or the evening light, crows and blackbirds, a crescent moon, clouds, the last few leaves of November. This is the ground of my teaching practice, the world that surrounds our inquiry and our dialogue, the vast space of all that is, that which is possible, that which always has been just as it is. Whatever we take up in our thinking in the teaching space, it is already out there in its fullness: the forces that act on us in the universe, the relatedness and interdependence among living organisms, the energy conversions that take place in every interaction.There is a great abundance of form and intricacy and beauty in every element of the whole. I love sharing in the exploration of all the details, working with what it means to become intimate, fully in contact with the depth of knowing and seeing everything as it is. Language, gravity, sound, story, music, taste, culture, currents – these are the ten thousand doors into the space of intimate awareness. In my botany class, we are enjoying the phyletic feast this week, a celebration of the diversity of plant food. We have enjoyed sweet potato noodles, guacamoles, falafel, cucumber mint soup, rice pudding, gazpacho, mango salsa, mushroom stuffing, apple-squash soup. We enjoy every moment of every flavor. I am filled with profound gratitude for the thoughtful, generous, curious students who share the space with me. Every week, I am touched by what they bring in their energy, their insights, their vitality. I hope to give to them some small part of the joy and awe I experience in looking out into the world and seeing the infinite reflections of possibility, and the clear and absolute ground of emptiness. My gift is the opportunity to be present for whatever arises. Nothing is left out.


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