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Full of Empty in Wonderland: One Day of Mindful Awareness

Updated on June 2, 2012
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"Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures." - Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-87, Writer/Reformer

A Glimpse of Wonderland

In the beginning, everything arose from awaiting emptiness.

“26. Empty and Alert

Just as dark is the source of light and still is the origin of moving, so serenity is the beginning of restlessness. In spite of the known, therefore, keep to the unknown; in spite of certainty, be keen and attentive, empty and receptive.

Search only in the light and the dark source is overlooked. Be only moving and the still origin is missed. Be only full and the empty centre is lost. Know and be separated from the deep mystery.

When thinking is too full for understanding, think with emptiness. First empty of thoughts. Return to empty and alert. In the beginning, everything arose from awaiting emptiness. Like the Tao’s arising from emptiness, be there in the beginning. Just as everything arose together in a proper way, so knower and known arise together as understanding.” –Ray Grigg


This is a sequel to my article, that made mention of turning meditation into a daily routine, that is, in the process of doing mindful awareness meditation. As usual and true to the idea of a previous article, Difficult Life Lessons, shortly after I write the storyline, experiences are sent my way as opportunities to “walk the talk.”

I got the chance to join a recent company outing. Being a one-person department with no one really to consider close enough to hang around with, I had skipped joining the previous year’s event, as I thought, “what would I be doing, considering there was really no one there I could consider being close enough with to be around with for a round-the-clock event?”

But this time around, I thought why not? and looked to the event with a sense of adventure: Who might I eventually be hanging around with? Note that this is in contrast to an attitude, which is more common to me, of “I will join only if so-and-so is joining.”

On the day of our departure to the venue, to begin with, I got a bus seat of choice, without asking for it. I was one of the last to board, but there it was: still empty up to the last minute, with no takers.

When we got to the hotel, out of town, and checked into our room, I discovered others had chosen to share our room. I was amazed as, by now, I have already interacted with five different departments counting from the beginning of the event.

Lunch time was a hearty meal shared, complete with friendly chit-chat, with yet another department … counting six! Dinner and cocktails, likewise. Everyone just seemed so friendly, making me feel like an old friend. I guess we were, considering we always smiled at each other when we met in the office corridor.

Room service brought in the requested extra roll of tissue so promptly it made me feel guilty having neglected his tip.

The following morning, as I woke up, I couldn’t help singing the lyrics, “I want to spend my lifetime loving you.”

Back from the trip, in the city, I asked in my thoughts what may be the best ride home, although preferring to take the cab instead of the train, due to the inconvenience of toting around my large baggage. But since there was no cab in sight as I left the building, my feet propelled me to walk towards the direction of the train station. Lo and behold, a few strides away, stopped among those waiting for the red light to turn green, a cab!

When I got home, my daughter asked who my companions were during the trip. We have counted people from eight departments so far, but as I write this article, the list of friendly interactions continue to grow in my recall.

And, as the days following the trip rolled by, more insights regarding seemingly insignificant events during the trip surface. One incident that I noticed only by recall was my somehow ending as first in line for breakfast. Considering that I only went by based on the instructions emailed two days prior and that I had no point-of-contact during the actual event, how could I have known that breakfast was already being served?

How exactly did all these delicious synchronicities happen when all the while I was having thoughts about not joining in the first place, for lack of close company?

What I did know was there was an awareness of a feeling of affinity with the unfolding moment, with whomever the person (or department) I was with or whatever was happening. I try to attribute this to the practice of acceptance of the moment we have spoken about in several past articles related to ‘the I and the it’ and mindful awareness.

Most importantly, if I stayed stuck to my comfort zone of requiring the company of someone I knew well for me join the outing, instead of choosing a sense of adventure, I would have missed the fun and the opportunity to ‘walk-the-talk’ and better assimilate previous insights.

How does mindful awareness figure with sense of adventure?


The act of acceptance, of surrendering to the present moment is our way of allowing God’s graces or synchronicities or delicious events entrance into the physical dimension or the earth plane, into our experience.

What I can say from this experience is that I’m taking this entire out of town trip as a milestone, to remind me of the wonderland that unfolds as I decide to practice mindful awareness and/or acceptance of the moment, to remind me of the moment’s affinity and reciprocally my once having been in love with a moment now past.

And now in commitment to every present moment, shall make this vow:

I want to spend my lifetime loving you

Moon so bright, night so fine

Keep your heart here with mine

Life's a dream we are dreaming

Race the moon, catch the wind

Ride the night to the end

Seize the day, stand up for the light

I want to spend my lifetime loving you

If that is all in life I ever do

Heroes rise, heroes fall

Rise again, win it all

In your heart, can't you feel the glory

Through our joy, through our pain

We can move worlds again

Take my hand, dance with me

I want to spend my lifetime loving you

If that is all in life I ever do

I will want nothing else to see me through

If I can spend my lifetime loving you

Though we know we will never come again

Where there is love, life begins

Over and over again

Save the night, save the day

Save the love, come what may

Love is worth everything we pay

I want to spend my lifetime loving you

If that is all in life I ever do

I want to spend my lifetime loving you

If that is all in life I ever do

I will want nothing else to see me through

If I can spend my lifetime loving you …


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