This word emptiness – shunyata – has been very much misunderstood by people, because the word has a connotation of negativity. Whenever we hear the word ‘empty’ we think of something negative. In Buddha’s language, emptiness is not negative; emptiness is absolutely positive, more positive than your so-called fullness, because emptiness is full of freedom; everything else has been removed. It is spacious; all boundaries have been dropped. It is unbounded – and only in an unbounded space, freedom is possible. His emptiness is not ordinary emptiness; it is not only absence of something, it is a presence of something invisible.
For example, when you empty your room: as you remove the furniture and the paintings and the things inside, the room becomes empty on the one hand because there is no more any furniture, no more paintings, no more things, nothing is left inside; but on the other hand, something invisible starts filling it. That invisibleness is “roominess,” spaciousness; the room becomes bigger. As you remove the things, the room is becoming bigger and bigger. When everything is removed, even the walls, then the room is as big as the whole sky.
That’s the whole process of meditation: removing everything; removing yourself so totally that nothing is left behind – not even you. In that utter silence is freedom. In this utter stillness grows the one-thousand-petaled lotus of freedom. And great fragrance is released: the fragrance of peace, compassion, love, bliss. Or if you want to choose the word God, you can choose it. It is not Buddha’s word, but there is no harm in choosing it.
Meditate over these beautiful sutras:
Thirty-six streams are rushing toward you!
“Thirty-six” is only a Buddhist metaphor; it stands for “many.” Many streams are rushing towards you. Each moment you are surrounded by a thousand and one desires, and they are all pulling you in different directions. You are a victim and you are falling apart.
A young man entered an hotel. He saw a very beautiful woman sitting alone in the corner drinking coffee. She was so beautiful and so attractive, the young man could not resist the temptation. He went close to her and asked her, “Can I join you?”
The woman looked at him for a few seconds and said, “Do you think I am falling apart?”
But that’s exactly the case: everybody is falling apart, even that woman. If I had been in the place of that young man I would have said, “Yes. You need to be glued together.”
Everybody is falling apart. You are not one; you have become many, many fragments, and all the fragments are going in different directions. That’s why there is so much misery in your being, because when your parts, which are essentially your intrinsic parts, are being pulled in different directions you feel the pain of it. That’s what misery is: the pain of falling into different directions simultaneously, rushing into different directions simultaneously. That is what creates craziness, insanity.