2013-10-06 001 2013-08-24 038

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


This morning as I sat on my deck with the rising sun a brief conversation came back to me. Yesterday I told the two women I’m facilitating an 8 month contemplative series using Teilhard de Chardan’s work, that I recently attended 6 weekly sessions discussing Pema Chodron’s book Living Beautifully in Uncertain Times. I said that I find Buddhist practices enhance my contemplative life, but that I still struggle with the concept of emptiness.


Sometimes we need to say something out loud to “get it.” Of course I “struggle” with emptiness. As a sometimes writer, collage artist, and quilter I know emptiness. There are thousands of books full of writer’s prompts for facing the empty page.

These books include ideas about letting the self talk go – you can’t write, quilt, paint – so you can begin and keep going with your project. Pema Chodran and other meditation teachers emphasize letting the chattering monkey mind just go by. Fr. Thomas Keating writes something like what your mind is chattering on about “is none of your business.” Return to the breath. Repeat as necessary.

My quilting table has a large project laid out that I must complete before October, and the paper work to continue my Medicare health plan is due next week. When I sit on my porch in the morning I face a garden full of plants to prune or water, an apple tree and a plum tree ready for picking, and that means applesauce or jam? and/or a trip to the food bank? This election season sits heavy on my heart.

Begin with the breath. Breathe in, pause, breathe out. Empty the clutter on the dining room table for the meal; empty the living room for the dance party; empty the to-do list mind for the fullness of Love. Repeat.

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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6 Responses to Emptiness

  1. Kerry Alspaugh says:

    Whatever your mind is chattering on about is none of your business is a thought I never imagined before but I think that perspective is very helpful.

  2. Judy Mieger says:

    lovely, lovely, dear Marian. and you don’t even need a sand labyrinth to do it!! XOXOX >

  3. Such good thoughts. When I struggle with emptiness, I try to reframe it as clearing the space.That is, when I remember to breathe!

  4. Of course you do my friend – it is your byline. And perfect… i love picturing you doing tai chi – clearing the space. With love, M

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