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Blog Exercises: Experiment with Emptiness

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.In “Meditation on Emptiness,” the author writes of the Buddha nature:

The Prasangikas say that this teaching is an example of giving to the ’cause’ the name of the effect, for the emptiness of the mind of each sentient being is what allows for change of that person’s mind, and this emptiness is being called a fully developed Buddha. The emptiness of the mind, its lack of existence by way of its own being or its dependence on causes and conditions, is that most marvelous quality of the mind allowing it to be transformed into the wisdom of a Buddha.

…Buddha set forth the non-literal teaching of a Tathagata essence for Mahayana trainees who are not yet able to recognize the profound emptiness; he taught it in order to allay their fears of emptiness.

We fear the empty mind. The famous Protestant Work Ethic is based upon the belief that idle hands are the devil’s playground. We must be busy, busy, busy, in our bodies and our minds, at all times.

Blogging is work. It is hard work. It requires your brain to be fully engaged. It’s exhausting, using not just your brain but your entire body.

Yet, it is creative work. In creating creative work, there are times when we need to quiet our bodies and our minds and just be. Be in the moment. Be in the experience. Be in our thoughts. Or be nothing. Empty.

Emptiness, the kind described by Buddha and his followers, is a profound state. The kind of emptiness I’m talking about is welcoming, open, and ready for anything.

If your mind is closed or noisy, it’s hard to get a clear thought into it. Blogging demands you keep an open mind at all times – okay, most of the time.

Challenged to find something to blog about, or frustrated with a concept I’m trying to convey, I have to remind myself of Buddha and slow down. I quiet my mind, take slow, deep breaths, and tell my mind to shut up. I eliminate the noise inside, making room for something new, something fresh, some creative energy. It’s hard to do and has taken me years of practice, and I’m still not good at it, but I get better all the time. In the quiet, I just be. In the moment. I don’t bring up thoughts of what I was working on, nor await some blinding insight from the depths. I just stop. Breathe.

Within a few minutes, often 3-5 minutes, I return to the world, my energy level restored. My enthusiasm is back, and all the challenges and frustration melt away as the ideas flow across my mind and my computer screen as my fingers race to keep up.

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.Your blog exercise today is to make an appointment with yourself for empty time. Just you and your head doing nothing.

You may meditate, or just sit quietly and take slow, deep breaths. Clear your head. If you have a thought, put it on hold. Tell it to go away. It will be there when you come back.

I’ve seen people slow down and meditate in the middle of a crowded party, so I know you can do this any where. I’ve done it myself. On a plane, train, walking, at my desk. Just become a little Buddha and let your mind be quiet.

When you come back to the world, your mind may be opened just a little more to the possibilities around you. Blog them.

Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. sari
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Have you ever noticed that when you write something powerful, there is no thinking process behind that activity? Some of us never realize it, however real shit happens in that “state”. Actually it is not a state. It’s something before any kind of state. I usually call it “the absence of I”. Anyway, great writing. Peace.

  2. Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Sari, my professor (Mark Christensen, BSU) calls that the subconscious. Often we will write something, not really understand the drive behind it, just because of the subconscious. He also says we often write things that have themes we aren’t even aware of! That’s something great about being a writer; or a painter or a dancer.

    Lorelle, I thought this all to be great advice. I am currently working on my project proposal for
    Weblogs and Wikis and I got stuck. Taking some time away from it will definitely help!

    • Posted March 22, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      It is the subconscious but more than that. Even the subconscious needs a rest sometimes. We all need to stop and clear our heads once in a while. I’ve been on overdrive for many months, honestly only a rare day or two off where I did absolutely nothing, but I felt guilty. So yesterday I decided to take two hours off rather than a whole day and ended up at the Tao of Tea Teahouse in Portland, Oregon, sipping pu’er tea and nibbling on ethnic food, just staring at the walls by myself. When I found myself reaching for my cell phone I stopped and just sat there and took a breath. After an hour of that, which was very hard for me to do, I walked up and down the Hawthorne District of boutique shops for the last hour, just letting the color of the people and streets enter my mind, telling my brain to stop thinking when it would drift off onto a subject or putter around articles I’m developing. I returned to my work refreshed, recharged, and ready for anything, as well as a ton of new ideas flooding my mind once I gave myself permission to think again. It was magic.

      While it wasn’t an empty time period, for me it was the process of yanking myself off my well-traveled path and changing my thought process for a while. It is so important to that we step out of our comfort zones once in a while to shake things up and find a quiet and possibly different place to let our mind expand into new and exciting areas.

      As for your project, it is certainly fascinating. I noticed the site mentioned me without a link to what it was describing – might want to fix that, lol! I’m so excited that blogs, wikis, social media, and the social web in general is finally reaching academia, though it is fascinating to see how many still don’t get it. I love watching the evolution and change. Thanks!

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