Fabian Kostadinov

This Page Is Intentionally Left Blank

I am always subtly amused when opening a book and one of the first pages encountered states that this page is intentionally left blank. Because, of course, it isn’t. There’s a statement printed on it. The situation reminds me of a first-time meditator deliberately trying to empty his or her mind of all thoughts - because, that’s how meditation is supposed to work, isn’t it. At least according to the first-time meditator’s belief. Yet, the more we try to empty our mind, the more we notice how distracted we actually are. Thoughts arise as a continuous stream, and there is little we can do against it. So, after a few minutes of trying hard our first-time meditator finally gives up. What the meditator does not understand at this point is usually: The mind’s intention does not leave it blank. The intention alone is sufficient to actually create content. The closer we inspect our mind, the more we realize that intention and content in fact arise together. The situation is thus as absurd with the statedly empty book page. The very statement nullifies itself. This page is not left blank, and contrary to the meditator’s assumption our mind’s task is not to stay in a state of no-thought.

By the way, the true reason why sometimes the above statement is printed on otherwise empty pages is to assure the reader that no page is missing from a document such as a book or legal proceedings.

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