The Potential Of Sunyata or Emptiness
Sunyata is a Sanskrit word that is generally translated into English as emptiness. Sunyata is the noun form of the adjective "sunya" which means "empty" or "void" (derived from the root "svi", meaning "swollen"), plus -ta -ness, making empty (- ness) or voidness. The idea behind the word makes reference to unbounded openness or a hollow or womb pregnant with unlimited potential. The latent energy referenced by the word Sunyata is particularly poignant as the year draws to a close and we prepare to begin a new cycle. In eastern thought the idea of emptiness is tied closely to the cultivation of insight, wisdom and ultimately inner peace. Sunyata signifies the flux or dynamic impermanence inherent in all things while simultaneously exposing the inter-related or interdependent nature of being. For me personally the idea of emptiness is powerful because it brings to mind the potential for transformation. Like an empty container waiting to be filled, the mind, when void of thought, has the potential to hold any possibility. The end of a cycle or the beginning of a new year are powerful times to let go of what no longer serves us and create the space for what lies ahead. Cultivating emptiness for me is about walking the edge between where I have been and where I want to go next. In yoga, sunyata, is signified by the moment when we have exhaled completely, and before we take the next breath. It is a space of great lightness and serenity between the actions of coming and going. Although we are constantly moving in and out of this space we don't often allow our awareness to fully rest in this space. The end of the year is an excellent time to reflect on emptiness as we resolve to relinquish old patterns and take steps to commit to a more fulfilling future.
"I think about that "empty" space a lot. That emptiness is what allows for something to actually evolve in a natural way. I've had to learn that over the years - because one of the traps of being an artist is to always want to be creating, always wanting to produce" -Meredith Monk
May you be empty with potential and pregnant with unbounded energy!