We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.
I’ve always loved this aphorism of Lao Tzu. It pre-dates the wisdom of Jesus who taught that only when we are empty are we filled. Specifically, I make reference to the doctrine of kenosis, or “self-emptying” taught in Phillipians 2:7 by the Apostle Paul. It is so difficult to take pause in our day to day life, practice a “mindful” moment, and catch a glimpse of our ego-fullness.
And once again, I quote Rilke who noted re the “hero”—- “Daily he takes himself off and steps into the changing constellation of his own everlasting risk.”