Zen, Buddhism and Mindful Emptiness

A quote about an open mind

We all grow up with ideas, opinions and prejudices, mostly formed early in our childhood. We continue to modify these concepts as life experiences bombard us. The sum total of all this gives us our belief system, our values (beliefs about what is right or wrong), and our identity (how we see ourselves).

Is this good or bad? It depends how you use it. When you meet someone new you probably form a quick impression of them based on your belief system. What if you get it all wrong? What if you instantly dislike this new person because of the instant judgements you have made about them? The process is very subconscious and difficult for you to control. Maybe this new person is really a very good and decent individual. You could miss out on so much value that could come from knowing them better.

It’s not possible to ignore the subconscious effects of your belief systems. It is, however, worth trying to suspend those beliefs until you know someone better.

Chinese Zen speaks about ‘the empty cup’. Buddhism speaks about ‘the empty bowl’. Perhaps this is the state we should try to achieve. Empty your heart and mind of judgemental belief systems. The results can be amazing.

A state of emptiness is truly a very uplifting state. You will feel relieved and lighter inside.

So live your life from a state of emptiness, it can be very fulfilling!

Empowering Strong Women in Relationships

Image of a confident woman

Some time ago I started to notice that several women that I knew quite well struggled to maintain a relationship with a boyfriend, or even fiancée. Those same women invariably had strong character traits.
By strong character traits, I mean that they had their own opinions, and had no reservations about voicing them. Surely this is a quality to be admired, and desirable in a girlfriend, fiancée or wife?
Sadly the societies that so many of us live in are very patriarchal. Half our population is female and if they cannot take their rightful place in business, in government and every area of civil society, then think about the massive waste of these resources. It is tantamount to sinking a goldmine and then not bothering to dig out the gold. How wasteful is that?
In our patriarchal society, sometimes it seems that strong women are not seen as ideal partners. Why would this be? What does a typical man look for in a female partner? Is he looking for a mother replacement? How often have you heard a man refer to his wife as ‘mommy’? Maybe he wants to be served hand and foot as his sisters and mother may have done before he got married. This may seem like a pleasant and comfortable plan to some men. But life is more than being pampered by a wife. If a wife is submissive to a husband, where is the spark in the relationship? Where are the discussions, sometimes heated discussions, that are so rewarding with a life partner? How can we learn life lessons from a partner if they feel obliged to agree with everything that we say? Where is the growth in our relationship going to come from if there is no conflict and resolution?
A marriage to a weak and submissive wife must be a sterile and empty experience. My own wife is probably the strongest woman I know. I would not want it any other way. If I give her a mouth full of opinionated ideas, she gives me the same back. If I were to give her verbal hell, I know she would give me verbal hell right back (and with a little extra thrown in). I love my wife passionately and wouldn’t want her to be any different. If I wanted a submissive and weak partner then I would have bought a puppy dog. Strong women, please stay strong, you will find a partner that truly deserves you.