Achieving mindfullness by emptying your mind –  a Zen perspective

Our minds are capricious. Although it should be inside us somewhere, you can’t see it, so you can’t control it as effectively as you’d like. It can be full if you try – as the experts of “mindfulness” tell us – but it can also be left no so full, and you sometimes feel “empty.”

But when you achieve “mind-full-ness,” your mind is fully present and aware of where you are and what you are doing, according to the experts. It snaps you back from all kinds of distraction or frustration to where you are and will let you stay focused in a collected and composed way.

So it’s a good thing to try to keep your mind full.

So how do you achieve mindfullness? Meditation is a typical tool, and a lot of people link Zen with meditation. People like Steve Jobs or Phil Jackson practiced Zen meditation with significant outcome.

But there is an interesting fact. Zen – or Buddhism in general, as Zen is one school of Buddhism – doesn’t advocate mind-fullness. Instead it tells to vacate your mind. It challenges you to become “nothingness,” by purging all sorts of desires, ambitions or emotions. 

If one approach tells to keep your mind full and the other tells to dump everything in your mind, are they talking about completely different things? Or are they contradicting each other? 

Ultimately, they are telling the same thing. But we tend to underestimate the profound power of nothingness. When you say “I feel empty,” it means you are feeling consumed, battered and helpless. But if you flip the coin, you are completely free from all kinds of negative thoughts if you were able to empty your mind. Just like you have boundless options and potential to design your room if it’s completely empty, nothingness can be turned into unlimited potential. Read more about the seemingly contradictory approach by Zen or Buddhism to celebrate the power of zero to achieve mindfulness.