The words "empty tomb" may readily bring to mind the Christian story of Jesus and his resurrection. For believers, it is a reason for celebration. They live in the hope that someday they too will rise to eternal life... not today though, not now. But for those who answer the call and retreat inwardly to explore the wilderness of their spirits and reflect on the story of Jesus far away from the edifices of inherited teachings and traditions, the empty tomb carries an entirely different meaning. They shut their ears to the deafening noise of dogma and ideology and enter into a timeless, ever-burning silence that the world can never know or understand. In the furnace of that silence a certain sacred knowledge is forged that is stronger than any element. No matter how eloquent language may be, words can never convey that significance and strength to those who have never dared to take leave of their comfortable abodes and temples cluttered with icons and furnishings fashioned by the hands of strangers from another time, another place.
What drives one to venture into that inner wilderness, to take that solitary trek into the nocturnal desert of one's being and to abandon all that is known and all that has been erected by previous generations? It is a mystery indeed, though it may have something to do with the need for reconciliation to a broken heart that has been barely kept intact by an undying candle of innocence. It may have to do with the recognition of that inner flicker of light as a symbol for their own humanity. Many of those who venture out into the desert of their spirits never find their way back. These are often deemed as criminals and madmen. They disappear forever into the darkness of their night and are like seeds scattered upon the rocks by the sower. But those who return, after having been baptized by their own solitude, are called sages. For in the midst of their dark and solitary night, they are gripped by a deep mystery which the light of the world can never reveal. Sages are not those who have perfected meditation over a lifetime or have developed some superhuman feat through constant practice. This is the image that the world would press upon them for easy consumption. Rather sages are molded by a certain quality that escapes any efforts to measure it. For one, sages are truly lovers who, despite their broken heart, return to the world because of their need to mend both. That fervent desire becomes their passion, even unto death. Their solitude is simultaneously their burden and ecstacy and they carry it like an invisible cross on their backs through every station of their lives. And strangely, it sustains them.
Paradoxically, sages are intensely present and yet completely vacant. They are present insofar as they are sensitive to life with all of its pain and beauty, misery and joy. They touch every key in the entire range of the human scale; however they are absent from the world that constantly belittles and shuns the light rippling through the cracks of their broken heart. As such, the world does not care for them; it does not even recognize them. They have no meaning in the world, no position, no goals, aspirations or ambitions. They can be blown about like a reed in the wind, without resistance. The doors and windows of their homes are wide open where the air may freely circulate. There is, in the ultimate sense of presence and awareness, no one home. They possess nothing. Thieves have no interest in them and neither do the tax collectors nor the authorities. Sages live and move about openly and yet they are paradoxically hidden from view because the world does not have the eyes to perceive them. They are in a certain sense dead and yet their tomb is empty.