The Value of Emptiness

Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that allows the wheel to function.

We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.

We fashion wood for a house,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes it livable.

We work with the substantial,
but the emptiness is what we use.

Laozi Tao Te Ching 11

Living From the Place of Surrender

If we pay attention, we will realize that every moment around us there is a world that we do not create—that’s been there for 13.8 billion years—and there are trillions of cells in your body that are doing what they’re supposed to do, all of nature, everything. And, you wake up and you realize, ‘I’m not doing any of this. I didn’t make my body, I didn’t make my mind think, I don’t make my heart beat, I don’t make my breath breathe—yet I have this notion that I have to make things happen. Yet, all throughout the universe things are happening everywhere, and I’m not doing them. So, why exactly am I the one that’s in charge of what’s unfolding in front of me?’ And, what you realize at some point, is that you’re not.

That the moment in front of you that’s unfolding is no different than all the zillions of other moments that aren’t in front of you that are unfolding in accordance to the laws of nature, the laws of creation. So, you start to practice saying, ‘I don’t want to check inside of me first to see what I want and what I don’t want. I want to pay attention to what the universe is creating in front of me—just like it’s creating everywhere I’m not—and let me see how I can participate in that, be part of that, instead of interfering with it with my desires and my fears.’ That’s living from a place of surrender.