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Value of Emptiness

Updated on October 7, 2012

A vase waits for flowers 
Blank paper awaits a pen 
A vacant room, furniture 
An event to be, a ‘when’ 

Emptiness is the value 
Of the space inside

A parking space awaits a car 
A made bed, a sleeper 
A parked car, a driver 
A leap not leapt, a leaper 

Emptiness is 

An empty stage attracts a performer 
An empty playground, play 
A vacant lot, a developer 
The potter’s wheel, clay 

Emptiness is 

The thing that wants a fire 
Is a fireplace 
To receive your heart’s desire  
Make the perfect space 

The Tao Te Ching tells us that the value in a vase is its emptiness and similarly that the value in a house is in the space it affords. Many theologies, Western and Eastern, prescribe the emptying of the self in order to leave space for the deity to come in. But what is it that fills us so that we have no space?

We are filled with emotions. We desire after the future, fear the present and regret the past. Tomorrow we want something better than we had today; today we are afraid that we will lose what we have; and yesterday we are sorry for what we did or did not do. Our emotions speak to us constantly about what we should do or should have done.

Listening to the inner dialog of our emotions, we are deaf to the present moment. Any part of you that is concentrating on "then", be it future or past, is distracting you from fully partaking in what is happening right now.

Meditation quiets the mind - in effect emptying it of its tendencies to fear and grasping. Emptied of its anger and desire, the mind is free to allow the present to come in, with all of its immediate and irreplaceable beauty.

I wish you a life full of memorable moments, and that you should not miss even one of them because of being absent from the present.


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    • sunchild28 profile image

      sunchild28 6 years ago from Nigeria

      brief but powerful hub.Emptiness is transformative

      an empty stage attracts a performer. To receive your heart’s desire make the perfect space, thanks.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much, Rebekahelle, for your lovely and kind comment. :)

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Beautiful, very Zen-like. I'm sharing this and bookmarking.

      Absolutely gorgeous.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks, RHW and Alexander. I am glad you enjoyed!

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      What a positive take on such a bare emotion. Beautiful.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Really great Tom Rubenoff!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Eiddwen, Chris and Barbara. The concept is Taoist, but the poem is mine.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Tom, interesting concept. I like it! Voted up.

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA


      This is my favorite of your poems so far.

      I've always thought of the "potential of emptiness"...the naked canvas, the blank page, a newborn baby's capacity to learn.

      I like that, in your poem, what looks to some to be nothing, to you is a time and space without boundaries, offering limitless possibilities. It's good to confront a meaningful poem that dares to express optimism these days.



    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Hi Tom,

      I really enjoyed this one and oh so much truth comes from this one.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Take care


    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks, G-Ma!!!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 6 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Awww so well put...Thanks for the reminders...:O) Hugs G-Ma