The Power of… ZERO

Empty Space

Empty Space


“God is the tangential point between zero and infinity.”
– Alfred Jarry

ZERO. Is the presence of nothing different from the absence of something? Does the term “ground zero” mean the beginning or the end? Are you comfortable with empty space?

Zero is both a number and a concept. Many historians state that the introduction of zero was the most significant achievement in the development of our counting system because it made calculation with large numbers feasible. The inclusion of zero introduced negative numbers and opened up a new world of mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and business. Creating a symbol that represents “nothing” also gave birth to an advancement of human abstract thinking. While our ancestors were more concerned about solving the problem of how many horses were needed (and -5 was not an acceptable answer!), we are now able to ponder the concept of “something” that is “not there” (which is different than “nothing”). Zero made possible the concept of “infinite.”

The origin of the word zero says a lot about its significance. It comes from the Arabic “al-sifer”. Sifer is a translation of the Hindi word “sunya” meaning void or empty. In other words, zero came about as a way to define empty space. It is, in essence, a metaphysical number. German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz said: Zero is “a fine and wonderful refuge of the divine spirit – almost an amphibian between being and non-being.” The Tao Te Ching teaches us the value of empty space. Tao 11 says:

“We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.”

So what’s all this fuss about nothing? Some have put forth that we have a cultural discomfort with both the concept of zero and the infinite because they both remind us of our own emptiness and finite nature. As a consumption-based society, we are used to acquiring external things versus inquiring within. We are not very comfortable with the unknown. Think about the number zero in your own life. Do you view it as positive or negative, or neutral? Does it reflect the beginning or the end… or both? Was there a time when your bank account hit zero? Why was that? Did you use it as an opportunity for a fresh start – a new way of managing your finances?

The concept of Yin/Yang mandates that for activity there must in inactivity. It is important to experience both sides. Next time you confront an empty space, be Present with it versus trying to fill the void. See how non-being can benefit your being. Use the emptiness to grow and experience a connection with the Universe. Find space in your daily activity to breathe. Remember that there is strength in non-action. Free yourself of expectations and attachments, and open up to life. Tune your mind to receive inspirations. Be a vessel for positive energy. Define your own Year Zero, a new base point, representing an awakened consciousness and a renewed spirit.


  • Clear your physical and mental space. It’s hard to think clearly when there is clutter around you. Clear away the unnecessary things and thoughts to create space for new possibilities.
  • Practice stillness. We tune to a higher frequency by sitting in the empty space. Develop a practice of meditation, and allow the stillness to give rise to your potential.
  • Seek to understand. Know that there are always at least two sides to a story. Approach situations with no judgment. Listen, learn and be Present. Allow the pauses to bring peace.
  • Welcome endings and new beginnings. The Chinese word for crisis is composed of two separate characters. One means danger and the other means a critical moment. When a crisis comes, know that it is a time for a decision. Flow with life. Change springs forth growth. Allow ground zero to be both an ending and a beginning.


Today, I honor the empty space.

I am comfortable with my being. I don’t always have to be doing. I balance activity with inactivity, and understand that the emptiness provides space for growth. I am open to the possibilities in life and in others. I approach situations with no judgment and allow the pauses to bring peace.

Today, I honor the empty space.

Listen to the Affirmation:


Copyright Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy. Power Living Column Vol. 71.08, originally published April 2008. Teresa Kennedy has written over 70 “The Power of…” columns that are available for syndication. Call 212-901-6913 for more information.

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