A good way to reveal the difference is by comparing it to your email inbox. Our inboxes are all way too full. (people are even talking about “Email Bankruptcy” these days – a public declaration that you owe too many emails and can never recover from your debt.)
The Nothingness approach would say “Delete the Inbox. Yeah, the whole goddam thing.”
OK, so problem solved. No more email. Which might be useful if you’re gonna go live in a cave the rest of your life, but not so if you’re still a participant.
The Empty approach says “Empty the Inbox”. There’s different ways to do this usually encompassed by the 4 D’s (Do it, Delegate it, Defer it or Dump it). One way or the other, at the end of the process you’ve got this shiny, beautiful empty email box. Ever had an empty email Inbox? Try it sometime it gives you a very warm tingly feeling. And, more than that, you will be way more efficient on that particular day.
The point is that with Emptiness, you’ve still got the container, the sacred vessel. Nothingness throws out the container with the bathwater.
And so it is with meditation. You don’t Delete your mind. You spring clean it, work through all the shit that’s in it. Ultimately out of respect for it. And once you’ve got an empty mind, you can see with clarity the new “emails” that arrive in it. You can see which messages are important, and which should be dumped on the spot. You get a lot more done. A lot quicker. And a lot more efficiently.
Now all you need to do is switch to Gmail, and you’ll be an efficiency factory on steroids.