by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
From an empty heart.
"Thankfulness arises" is a phrase that comes to my mind daily -- not because I think it, but because I experience it. Suddenly there is thankfulness. Thankfulness for what? For everything and nothing in particular. It has no object or reason because it simply is. It is an expression of life.
It "arises" because it is what the life experience in me does. I cannot think it into existence. I cannot will it into existence. I can only feel it and, on reflection, be thankful for thankfulness. This is, I think, the essence of spontaneity; it is that experience that wells up within us as a natural function of life without our conscious or willful activity. And this is not only true of thankfulness, but of all those experiences for which we hunger -- harmony, affirmation, unity.... These things are not accomplished, they are experienced as what is already true for us.
The 'saying' says "empty," not as in void or nothingness, but as in openness. We might say that the bed of the river is empty, though the river fills it; because the bed is empty, the river flows. An empty heart is one that allows life to flow through it. One thing that obstructs this flow is the egoic-self.
When I want things to be the way I want them to be, whining, not thankfulness, arises, and not from the heart, but from this me-self. So, as I go about my daily chores and I step in the mud, logs fall on my toe and blackberries scratch my legs, I whine -- and then I (sometimes) laugh and open my heart to thankfulness.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.