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Expert GuidanceEmptiness


Thoughts may appear vivid and real but, when we look a little closer, we see there’s actually nothing to hold onto.

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So by now, you've probably come to appreciate that although thoughts and feelings arise in the mind, they're actually transient in nature. However much you might want to chase them or hold onto them, they're ultimately intangible. The backdrop for this phenomenon is sometimes referred to as emptiness. After all, if everything is intangible, what is it that's there? But emptiness is a loaded word. It can imply nothingness. It may even sound negative to some. The truth is, though, we could just as well say fullness rather than emptiness or somethingness rather nothingness. The traditional analogy to help explain this phenomenon is a rainbow. So the rainbow is bright, clear, vivid, beautiful to look at. It's there right in front of us. We can't say it isn't there. But even if we somehow find the rainbow, we can't touch it. In fact, if we try to touch it, our hand just goes right through it. So though it sounds paradoxical is both there and not there. So we can say there's a fullness to the appearance and yet an emptiness to the quality. This is such a useful analogy to remember in our meditation practice. Sure, thoughts appear as vivid, full, as though they're tangible, and yet when we look a little closer, we see there's nothing to touch, nothing to chase, nothing to resist, and nothing to hold on to....


TypeExpert Guidance
Duration2 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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