Emptiness, Fullness and a Confession

Rock Garden

PALM BAY, FL—By far, Emptiness is the most common “flavor” of enlightenment taught today. Yet lately I have focused on the Fullness aspects. What’s the difference? What worked for me? Which is right for you? My answers below the break (huh?).


Emptiness is a path of inquiry: “Who am I? Where do thoughts come from? Am I in control of my thoughts? What are the properties of awareness? What is it that sees these thoughts?…”

With Emptiness, one (hopefully) comes to realize—via contemplation—that ultimately there is no personal self. When the personal self falls away, all boundaries (theoretically) fall away and enlightenment is realized.


Fullness takes a much more hands-on approach. It is a path of surrender to Life. It is the path of Beauty and Love and Wonder. But it is surrender—an actual practice. Surrender to the flow of Life.

Fullness is a path of faith (not religion). Faith that as you surrender, you won’t get hurt or die. You start by living as a Soul rather than as a human (surrendering your mortality). Then you start living as an “opening” (Radiance) to the flow of Life (Her) by surrendering your Will (Soul). Ultimately you surrender completely—the last vestiges of yourself—to become One with the Divine (Her, Life, God). No You. No God. Just Nothing and Everything.

The Problem

Both paths—Emptiness and Fullness—lead to the same destination: Oneness/Enlightenment.

I believe one of the reason so many teachers fail to awaken their students is because they focus too much on one aspect and not enough on the other.

Non-dual purists focus exclusively on Emptiness—on mental inquiry.

Yesterday’s mystics (Rumi, Al-Hallaj, Saint Teresa of Avila, Brother Lawrence) focused almost exclusively on the Fullness (the Life force in the form of God or the Beloved).

Most of today’s popular teachers (Tolle, Adyashanti, Gangaji) teach about 80% Emptiness, and 20% Fullness (Fullness usually in the aspect of Love, Being or Presence, which are the “movement” of Life).

My Confession

For myself, I know I have been guilty of all the above.

When I woke up, I focused almost exclusively on the Emptiness (thoughts, dropping the personal self, …).

When I went through my “battered by synchronicity” months, it re-awoke the Divine Guidance aspect and I focused on the Fullness (Her, Love, Surrender).

How I Woke Up

But the actual way I woke up was through a combination of both Emptiness and Fullness. I started out (25 years) on the path of Emptiness (see this old video (between 5:30-7:30 minutes)), then had a past life experience which helped me recognize the Fullness. The combination of these two paths ultimately led to my awakening.

My Advice

Use both paths. Learn from the great mystic sage, Lao Tzu: See the Emptiness and the Fullness within all things (Tao). Recognize the benefits of both paths. Find harmony between inquiry and practice, between Self and No-Self.

See the Emptiness Without. Feel the Divine Within. Surrender your self… and be Whole.

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