The Van and the Essence of Emptiness

The Space between the Rocks

The Space between the Rocks

On the Kern River, LAKE ISABELLA, CA—I’m really loving this lifestyle. I’ve been in this area about a week, camped at various spots along the river or in town or by the lake. I just camp wherever I feel like being at the moment.

Of all the rigs I’ve owned, the van is by far the best.

Why? Because it satisfies my love of freedom. The van offers me the ability to go where I want, when I want—without any planning or forethought. Freedom.

In a similar sense, the spiritual seeker values freedom: Freedom from mental suffering, from stress, from anxiety, from doubts, from self-consciousness. Freedom from a noisy mind.

To really live comfortably in a van though, there is a key quality that most van dwellers don’t seem to posses.

You could say this same quality is required to live comfortably with your inner self also.

Oddly (or indicatively), there doesn’t seem to be an English word for it. Spartan is close, but is too harsh—too severe. In Japanese it is called MA which could be translated as the essence of emptiness. In the West, we might call it a lack of clutter.

About a month ago, Bob Wells looked inside my van and the first words out of his mouth were, “Geez, you don’t have much stuff.”

And it’s true. I don’t have much stuff. I don’t have much stuff at all.

Glenn Morrissette, when he first sat in my easy chair commented, “Man, compared to my rig, your van is absolutely cavernous.”

Not having much stuff—and thus having as much MA as possible in the tiny space of a van—was a very conscious decision.

I don’t have much stuff in my van, and I don’t have much stuff in my head.

Not having much stuff is key to living happily in a tiny space.

Not having much mental stuff (and the sense of self is a huge space hog) is key to inner peace.

Having what you need, and getting rid of what you don’t, is often the key to personal harmony—whether it is making a very small space more comfortable, or making the inner workings of your mind more serene.

Simply put, stuff weighs you down. Whether that stuff is an extra set of utensils you don’t need—or your sense of a personal self (which you certainly don’t need either).

The essence of emptiness: Can you feel it? Can you feel its vastness, its aliveness, its potential?

All that junk you cling to. Is it worth it? Is your stuff worth losing the beauty and serenity of an uncluttered life?

It's Time To Wake Up

Mystical Oneness and the Nine Aspects of BeingMystical Oneness and the Nine Aspects of Being is a step-by-step guide to enlightenment and beyond.

Available at:

Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes- Google Play - Kobo

It's Time To Be Happy

The Serentity TechniqueWe live in divisive times.

The Serenity Technique provides 7 simple steps for inner peace… whenever you need it.

Available now on Amazon

It's Time Let Go

My Dying WordsImagine I have only seven days left to live.
Now imagine I share my last thoughts with you.

Available now on Amazon

7 thoughts on “The Van and the Essence of Emptiness

  1. It’s all about what we really need, isn’t it? Looks like you have it down in spades, Wayne. I am still always filling in the holes in my life with stuff, then purging to Good Will, etc. I will learn someday….or not!

  2. 🙂 i swweet reminder about my camping pack, there is too much stuff.

    And on another topic.

    One time after an hour meditation I looked inside my mind. What i found was layers of this sticky gooey substances and set about its removal. Much got removed, but thin layers got left behind.

    Looking at it now it seems like clutter has built up again and needs to be cleaned out. I dont know what went right before but i know i dont know how to go about going through the same experience for a second time.

    Yahwah, Bless, Amen.
    Thank you for the reminder 🙂

  3. I think we re-accumulate because its part of nature. When I lived in a house, I would look under the bed from time to time and find those dust bunnies under there. That’s the byproduct of electrostatic energy, the same force that formed the planets. Life recapitulates like that so it’s not just restricted to physical systems. If everything is information, as I believe, then we can expect this tendency for stabile ideas to attract more to itself either for detriment or good.

    Because of how our mind builds a model of the world every idea we have is an attempt to freeze a constantly changing reality. It is like picking up a piece of tar and trying to shake it off. The buddhists describe this phenomenon well from a behavioral standpoint. Now recent theory in neuroscience along with improvements in fMRI imaging technology are making some directional progress in displaying evidence of this extremely important phenomenon.

    According to Jeff Hawkins, author of “On Intelligence” and AI inventor, the brain forms “Invariant Representations” to build a model of the world. I propose these Invariant Representations are formed in much the same way as motion stabilization algorithms are used in video tracking software now available in many consumer video cameras. The brain uses a similar algorithm with all our senses inclusive with the dimension of time.

    Timed input of information is the reason the mind can compare and draw useful analogy and connections between stabilized input from different senses. The mind is not matching precise information but the cadence, rhythm and interval in which it arrives.

    Furthermore it uses the same process of stabilization and timed analogy to classify phonemes into letters, letters into words, words into concepts, concepts into ideas and so on.

    This essential cognitive mechanism has the caveat in that it creates attachments to things, ideas, people, etc…. Human behavior as all things lies on a continuum.

Leave a Comment