I’m posting this tongue-gently-in-cheek journal entry from one of my favorite workshop participants, Dr. Kit Smith. Tuscany Workshop 2012
The Abundance of Nothing
As I review my photos I come across a picture I took in the last couple of days of a hole in the wall. It is nothing, an empty alcove, nothing more than a recess in a wall. I am sure this type of nook has a name, their numbers are legion, I have seen hundreds of such arched alcoves in fancy buildings and even humble churches filled with statues but my memory of what it is called is as blank as the space in this patch of wall. My recollection of where it was or why I took the picture is as empty as the nook itself. Not even a wind carried leaf graces the flat surface. I search for a clue of an object removed, a mark, a smudge something, anything even a scratch on the marble flatness but the only evidence I can see supports only a memory of void. It was obviously made for something, certainly something wants to be there, and I expect someone wants something to be there I know I do, but there it is, bare, desolate, deserted, void, abandoned, filled with zero, zip, zilch, nada, butkus, squat, even less than diddle-squat. I look at this photo and remember Drake wants us to stop taking pictures of things, “take pictures of nothing like a Seinfeld TV show,” yes, am sure that was his instruction. Perhaps that is why I took the picture. If I were to be graded for this photo I am confident I would get an A+ for nothing, as nothing is there but a hole, which by definition is the abundance of nothing, like the grade for my photos which will not be on the report card Drake will not be giving out. This image is Seinfeld on steroids. The very essence of nothing, emptiness personified. Richard talked about a wire that has to exist being forced to look at its beautiful surroundings, but the stuff that live in this surrounding have nothingness, no beauty to look at, they see only emptiness, they are not even graced with ugliness looking back at them.
But wait, as I look at nothing looking back at me and turn 180 degrees once and then once again, nothingness begins to morph into somethingness, I begin to see images of essence with apparition like arms wafting out to me. Substance evolving just like Drake the Zen Master said it would. Ideas come slowly and begin to trickle in filling the void. What should be there? What does it mean to be empty? Am I missing something, could I be empty, thick in thin things? I do not think so but could I be unaware of my own unawareness, could all my know-how be naught? This could not be, but is this the message of the nothingness in my photo? Is it possible that the emptiness I see was intended. Some of these walls have been here for a thousand years. Could this nook have remained empty for that long. Is is possible that what is before me is a cornucopia of significant truths, a hole full of nothing but profound missives. I am trying to remember where this niche of nothing was, certainly if it was in a hotel lobby this nothingness would not be have such deep meaning, hotels are not centers of wisdom. But if on hallowed ground, a place of learning were difficult questions are asked and answers sought….yes I am sure that is were it must have been. On the wall of sacred space, a masterful missive of majestic magnitude for those who can crack the code. Yes, indeed life, to be good need not be full of adornments, spareness also has great merit. This image of emptiness has become one of my favorite, for its nothingness overflows with fullness, truly the best things in life are not things at all. Yes Zen Master the fog of unawareness is clearing from this humble grasshopper’s eyes. You are indeed full of wisdom, I must continue my pilgrimage in search of the great treasure, the abundance of nothing.