Reflections: Emptiness

Some years ago, I woke up in a hospital bed. I had been sleeping a very long time.
I could sense my sister and brother, both my children, and my spouse, looking at me
for signs of life and wondering if I would live or not. I didn’t know how or when my family got there, but they came from long distances…Maryland, Nevada and Seattle. I peeked out and saw a tangle of medical tubes which I didn’t try to identify. I closed my eyes.

I am a Buddhist meditator…a breath meditator. We meditate in the face of sorrow, old age, sickness and death. I started tracking my breath….long, slow… in and out. I watched the long slow exhale as it faded away, and then waited to see if the inhale would begin…or not. I focused with great interest on this gap preceding the inhale. I imagine that death occurs during this gap.

My usual compelling thoughts and concerns like…
• what I have done or not done,
• what I am going to do,
• what I should do,
• whom I should talk to about what….
These thoughts were not present. AHH!! Mind empty of usual content.

In its stead there arose a deep, steady, sweet sense of well-being. I felt happier than I had ever felt in my life. Profoundly peaceful. The peace that passeth understanding. The kingdom of heaven within. It lasted a good while. And since then, I have had brief such experiences, mostly, but not only, during meditation.

This is a testimonial to the inarguable reality of a deep ground of well-being within the human psyche, whether one believes in it or not.


Man contemplating.