The Pregnant Void

Consciousness StudiesMy classes at The Graduate Institute start this Friday. For the past month I have been reading the required books and feeling more and more inspired to begin this new adventure.

One of the selections we are to complete before arrival is an anthology of three classic books by the well  beloved philosopher Alan Watts. All month I’ve had one ah-ha moment after another and I am already saddened for the day I come to the last page of the final book.

This morning though, while nibbling on homemade sweet potato bread and sipping my coffee, I came across an idea that yelled at me from the page.

In Watts’ short tomb entitled What is Tao? he addressees the idea (a conundrum to the Western mind) that “what is beyond is also here.” What does this mean, exactly?

First of all, he destroys the idea that by obsessively dissecting everything in the Universe, we will come to know the Truth. As he says,

The stars in heaven after all, are only radioactive rocks and gas. But this is nothing more than the delusion that truth is to be found only by picking everything to pieces like a spoiled child picking at its food.

He uses as an example the artists of the Far East who…

…leave in their paintings great areas of emptiness and vagueness, and yet the paintings are not unfinished. These are not just unfilled backgrounds, they are integral parts of the whole composition, suggestive and pregnant voids and rifts that leave something to our imagination. And we do not make the mistake of trying to fill them in with detail in the mind’s eye. We let them remain suggestive.

So it is not by pushing relentlessly and aggressively beyond these hills that we discover the unknown and persuade nature to disclose her secrets. What is beyond is also here.

The pregnant voids. Beyond but also here. Here we are, my husband and I, having fully arrived in our new hometown with a strong stability of work beneath us. We are more than ready to start a family, but as of yet, we have come to know deeply that Nature’s miracles occur on their own timetable.

In these spaces of in-between it is so easy to fret–to pick apart at the details of how and when and what and should. But as I read this morning, the time is ripe now for imagining. For letting the space remain suggestive. For being pregnant with the void.

If what is beyond is also here, then I am left for want of nothing.


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