Blank Canvas

“This seems to be a challenging post for many of us, Shiv. It puts me (and I’m guessing I’m not alone in this) in touch with my desperate need to feel safe in this unfathomable mystery of existence I find myself in, and how I attempt to do that by describing whatever this is as somehow fundamentally loving, caring and benign. Of course I really do know that no descriptions of mine could possibly say anything truly meaningful about what life actually is, and when I let go of them and simply feel into the desperation behind them I rediscover, as Alan Watts said, that the need for security and the feeling of insecurity are one and the same thing. And paradoxically, though it may not feel “safe” in the traditional sense, there’s a sense of lightness and expansiveness in not knowing and having nothing to defend that seems to leave me feeling more present and sensitive to myself and my surroundings – a feeling for which I could imagine using the words loving or kind or benign.”

(This was a poignant comment I wanted to share with you made by Russel on my previous post : “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?”)


A: Russell, yes, we project onto the world what we fail to fully embody within ourselves. Everyone does it to a certain extent. Children especially do it. But reality is a blank canvas on which we spill our art. It allows for every kind of colour, shape and form to be painted upon it yet it fundamentally has no color, shape or form.

Think about it, if the canvas was red you’d never know what the colour red was. You’d never be able to express the colour red in your painting. If life was love, you’d never be able to know what love is. You’d never be able to express it.

Love, hate, joy, fear, freedom and suffering – all of these can exist, can be experienced and be expressed precisely because they happen against the backdrop of a blank canvas.

Ask an artist what kind of canvas she would like to paint on and she would choose a blank one. Our human brains have yet to catch up to the fact that what our hearts really crave is for the world to be empty of form yet infinite in potential. Only blankness can provide that.

Love is what hearts do. Life’s fundamental structure is to provide the space in which that can happen…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *