On the pathway to the Prajna practice space on our grounds here in Santa Fe are several vary large lizards have made their homes under the flagstone pathway. They have created small entryways under the flat stone pavers and they kick loose gravel everywhere. One species looks like burnt adobe, their camouflage checker-backed markings, baked to a non-descript sandstone color. The Little Striped Whiptail has bands of sun-colored stripes down its back and a turquoise tail the color of the Aegean Sea. This morning on my way down the path, a grand-daddy whiptail scurried out from under my feet, then turned its arrow head and looked right through me with an obsidian eye. Throughout Asia, at the gate to the temple grounds, there are ghoulish looking samurai-like guards that have bulbous eyes, and fierce eyebrows, sharp teeth and thighs as thick as cedars. They carry weapons (curvaceous swords, or daggers at their belts) that may be used to ward off any insincere arrivals at the gate’s entrance. They are the protectors, the sentinels that look out from the threshold, there to cut through the seeker’s ego bullshit, petty pre-occupations, fermented self-importance or grey-black doubts. Today I realize that this fleet of razor backed reptiles at our studio’s entry are there for a reason.
To empty is to let go. Typically we hold onto so much stuff. We hold onto ideas, belief systems, family members. We hold onto ingrained ideas about ourselves like “I am not good enough and “there is nothing I can do to change.” To empty is to let go of the old—the old paradigm, the old attitude, the old self. By emptying we become more open, more available, more in the here and now.