Surprisingly, direct insight into emptiness doesn’t leave us feeling empty but actually quite fulfilled. When we realize that things have no everlasting substance, they can appear more vividly in this moment. In fact, only in the present can we experience our lives fully. This very moment is where emptiness and form meet head-on.

In the First Mode of Meditation, we primarily look at forms in all their various sizes, colours, and textures. In the Second Mode, we turn our focus toward emptiness, the indefinable realm where all forms come from and return to. In the Third Mode, we examine the world of forms again; but now we start to see that forms themselves consist of emptiness, and that emptiness functions as a never fading essence that permits forms to function freely.

In the art of painting you first learn how to render objects accurately, a vase, an apple, or a tree. Then you learn how to paint the space in-between and around these forms so they start to connect with each other. Yet at some point you have to see that objects themselves are imbued with space. When you put an apple on a table, the space it occupies is not gone. And if your painting doesn’t show that, you fail to do the apple justice; your painting won’t express its alive quality.

For Cezanne, this was a major concern. His apples and mountains look as if they are caught in the mysterious process of becoming. You actually see them slowly emerging out of emptiness and taking shape right in front of you. They appear somewhat unfinished, as if their future is still wide-open. And this makes them vividly alive. It obviously takes training to become a good painter; and for us, it also takes training to see that we are all continuously involved in creating and being created.

Here I am, but how come I am here, at this junction of space and time? What a miracle it is! And, what will happen next?

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