Anthony Lawlor and CJ discuss how we navigate the ever-shifting sea of life. This episode is a reminder that “the only thing permanent is impermanence”. The blog post below reminds us to rest in the gap that happens with the transition. In the first segment, Anthony Lawlor discusses how he creatively works as an architect to navigate his client’s need for both structure/function and something more magical that incorporate’s a client’s soulful expression. If you want to listen to more shows like this, make sure to subscribe to our show on iTunes or “like” the Fire it Up with CJ page where we’ll post the final show. Link to full segment.
BLOG POST by our guest (Anthony Lawlor)
Facing Emptiness: Seeing through my mind’s compulsion to define things
Over time, my explorations in living consciously have brought me to indefinable territory. It is a realm of less and less boundaries with more and more spacious silence. Since definitions and understanding is what my mind lives for, it sees this spacious silence as emptiness. When I face what my mind calls emptiness and look closely, I see through the fictions my mind creates. What my mind defined as emptiness is neither empty or full. It just is. It’s a field of being stirred into becoming by thoughts, words, actions and events. Stirring being into becoming, I sense the world resonating to life.
Learning to relax into and trust being seems to be my task in the field of Becoming. As the usual beliefs and stories become more and more transparent, it’s strange and disorienting for my mind. There is less and less to grasp and more and more indefinable being to live. There is no problem in this unless my mind labels it a problem and fears for its survival. Since my mind is a story-making machine, it continuously tries to make some-thing out of no-thing. When no-thing won’t cooperate by compromising its indefinability, my mind thinks it fails and gets depressed. Undaunted it tries again and again. Over time, my mind is learning that surrender is a more enjoyable option.
This reminds me of the story about the Japanese soldiers found on islands in the Pacific long after World War II had ended. These soldiers were so identified with the war they didn’t believe it was over. Wise psychologists knew that these soldiers couldn’t instantly change their beliefs. Instead, they had someone regularly whisper in each soldier’s ear, “The war is over.” Over time, the soldiers’ experience showed them they were no longer living in a war zone.
Whether this story is true or not, it helps my mind settle into and explore the indefinable territory of being it finds itself inhabiting. This territory is not the territory of the conventional mind which values duality in all its forms. In the indefinable territory of being, pleasure and pain, success and failure, etc. are stirrings of silence into sound For my mind to revel in this indefinable territory is yet another interpretation, a “success”, that is enjoyable, but transparent to the no-thing that pervades every-thing more and more.
Imagine all the problems that are created by our minds trying to define the indefinable. Conflicts, wars, discrimination, greed and all sorts of other problems can result from trying to fit the world into our definitions, no matter how well intentioned. I think John Lennon’s had it right when he said, “War is over if you want it.” Perhaps we would be better served by facing what our minds call emptiness, seeing through our compulsion to define it, and cooperating with the indefinable mystery of stirring being into becoming.
About Our Guest
I’m an architect and author, writing this blog to explore the following questions—How do we live well on this planet? Confronted with the greed, ignorance and fear shaping much of the world, how can we find openings to dwelling here with wisdom, connection, creativity and delight? Looking into these questions reflects my passion for understanding how our thoughts and actions shape buildings and cities. My two books—THE TEMPLE IN THE HOUSE and A HOME FOR THE SOUL—examine the idea of design as a language of human experience. This blog expands these connections to explore how imagination influences what we build in nature. In turn, it looks into ways nature can open our imaginations to more inspiring, sustainable and creative ways of dwelling here now. Let me know what you think.
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