So. The atoms in a human body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space.
But is space really “empty”?
Bob O’Hearn echoes the ancient sages – Eihei Dogen comes to mind – in reminding us that what we think of as “empty space” is in fact vibrantly conscious, aware, and synonymous with the pristine and timeless awareness that is the bottom-line of our Being. And – crucially – that one can know this irrefutably, for oneself and by oneself.
Just take the dive.
Sink deep down into yourself, passing through flesh and bone, blood and water, nerves and electrical impulses, cells and molecular structures, atoms, and between atoms, immense empty space, conscious space, pristine awareness without gender, race, age, affiliation, belief, identity — our fundamental nature, nameless, formless, yet the basis of all names and forms, all life, all worlds.
Within this vast spaciousness, which has neither ceiling nor floor, nor any boundary or circumference, something appears. Immediately, attention flows out of itself and merges with that manifestation of itself, in the same way a cloud might appear in the midst of the empty sky, or a wave on the ocean, until we forget about the sky, or the ocean, in our effort to grasp at the cloud or wave. By habit, we grant these objects of consciousness a substantial and independent existence apart from their basis, identifying with them to the point that, when they inevitably vanish back into the space from which they originated, we tend to suffer a sense of loss.
Just so, this essentially cloud-like and transitory matrix of memory, thought, and perception which we generally regard as me, myself, and I spontaneously manifests within the spaciousness as a play of the spaciousness itself, except that we then imagine it to be our exclusive identity, and consequently squeeze the vastness down into this fragile formation of bubbling elements which we want to somehow persist forever, even though it never will, and so in its inevitable vanishing we tend to suffer a sense of loss.
Our friends and relations may gather around a glazed box of stuff which we once took to be our self. As it is lowered into the ground or rolled into the crematorium, some tears may flow, because the spaciousness took back what it made, leaving memories which too will fade, and eventually it will be as if it never was, and that much will be true — no praise or blame, no lingering regret: a wave arose, an ocean swell, it subsided again like a night’s brief dream, and all is well and will always be, in the empty sky of eternity.
– Bob O’Hearn