The Joy of Nothingness


[Just wrote this over the last few days. Kind of a summa. All the old and contemporary sages say variations of the same thing. The non-dual cannot be expressed by language which is inherently dual. So maybe this is as far as language can take things. Zen. The language is all paradox or metaphor because it’s the only kind of language that at least points or hints in the right direction, and beyond language and thought. The reality/experience itself knows no paradox, all quite simple, natural. I took the shot of the sky near here in winter: ‘drawing lines on nothing’…I’m hoping a few might understand this.]

The Joy of Nothingness

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (c. 6th century BCE, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)

Only the mind which abides nowhere is the mind of a Buddha. It can also be described as a mind set free, the Bodhi-mind or birthless mind. Another name for this is Voidness of the nature of phenomena.

– Baizhang Huai Hai, Chinese Zen Master (720-814)

For our entire being is founded purely on a process of becoming nothingness.

– Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1328)

Between you and enlightenment
lies only a membrane’s width of thought.
This width, paper-thin,
can be measured in light-years.

There is nothing to measure it with,
no one to measure it, nothing to measure:
the membrane of thought is an illusion
manifested by thought itself.

Thought, language, naming
is the process-of-drawing-a-line,
of identifying, of manifesting differences,
distinctions, delimitations, definitions.

Drawing a line creates two sides,
entities, a division and duality.

Now some process, something
is drawing lines on the water of reality
in order, it feels, to better survive
as something separate
in a world and universe where nothing
is separate. Thought thus
manifests separation,
inside-outside, duality, distance.

Thought manifests space.

Thought, memory’s distinguishing
and separating ‘before’ and ‘after’
also manifests ‘past’ and ‘future’.

Thought manifests time.

Now something is drawing lines
on the water of events
in order, it feels, to create its own
before and after, birth and death,
in a universe where only apparently
separate things are apparently
created and destroyed, but not
the whole pattern and process
of manifesting and withdrawing
which is uncreated, timeless
beyond creation-and-destruction:

the waves begin and end, arise and fall,
yet the water remains, timeless.
We are wave and water, self/no self,

One perfect, complete no-thought
is thus no birth, timeless, eternity.

One perfect, complete no-thought
is thus no-self, no-separation, the infinite.

No birth, no death, no fear.

We as ‘we’ seem dual beings or processes:
dual and non-dual, created and uncreated,
temporal and timeless, individual and infinite,
thought and no-thought, self and no-self,
thing and no-thing, wave and water.

The uncreated we contains the potential
of the created ‘we’, and when certain
conditions are given, continually manifests it.
The non-dual continually manifests
the dual we/non-we.

This manifesting, this creating,
this identifying and ‘othering’,
is a process of wanting-grasping/fearing-rejecting
and remembering-thinking.

This is the same process as the continual
manifesting or ‘creating’ of the universe.
When conditions are ripe, self-universe
arises or manifests together continually.
When other conditions are ripe,
it also withdraws together continually.

The continual manifestation and withdrawal
of self-universe in the process of
results in apparent crystallisations, reifications,
habitual sedimentations we call ‘us’, ‘me’, ‘ego’,
our individual identities as separate ‘selves’
or ‘things’, as ‘ghosts in the machine’ of the body.

At the same time it results in the apparently
more solid reifications we call external things,
and the two, external ‘thing’ and internal ‘I’,
are necessarily separate, in tension,
in opposition and conflict.

At the same time, watching
all these processes we always remain
our uncreated, non-dual (non-)Self.
From the deep of our ocean we watch
the waves birthing and dying
on our busy surface.

Realising this is termed ‘awareness’,
‘meditation’ or ‘enlightenment’:
it is becoming aware of awareness,
of meditating, of already being enlightened.

It is something we are rather than do.
Look at that rock, at how it meditates.
A mountain, an ocean, an old tree meditates.
A cathedral, a cave, a mosque, all meditate.
The whole universe without exception is
in deep meditation and enlightenment.

Meditating, you realise this is the natural
and original state of everything,
including the human body-mind.
There is no self, no doing involved.
Some ancient cultures call this
state of being The Dreaming.

Within meditation there manifests
a field of potential in which arise
thoughts, waves, particles, beings, things.
(Physicists label this state a ‘quantum field’
and separate it off as ‘objective’.)

These apparent entities begin to interact,
form complex chains, webs, patterns.
Self-universe manifests,
a huge, dynamic web of forces and life,
of space and time.

In this self-universe, all beings
are made up of other beings
that are made up of other beings
interacting with other beings.

All beings are thus interdependent
super-organisms, from your own
feeling-thoughts to the physical forces
and chemical elements to bacteria,
plants, humans and the planet, stars,
galaxies and beyond.

Meditation is the non-activity,
the subtle ‘glue’ that holds
all super-organisms together
like gravity, like the spirit
that holds healthy humans
and their groups together,
the water that holds the planet together,
the scent and sticky propolis
that hold together the golden
super-organism of the bee colony.

When thoughts emerge
in the ocean of meditation,
waves or wave-particles (wavicles) arise,
space and time, entities and events.

This process we call The Creation, The Origin,
The Big Bang. The non-dual has split
into the dual, the One into the Many,
the Tao into the Ten Thousand Things.

You do not need a Large Hadron Collider
or space probes to explore the Big Bang.
You simply need to meditate
and watch the process. As within,
so without, inner space is outer space.

The emerging wavicles are born
with internal ‘laws’, ‘principles’,
‘logics’, ‘numbers’ that guide
their self-organisation in space
and evolution in time
into ever greater complexity, diversity,
into ever more extensive clusters
and webs of super-organisms.

The universe, the human body and brain
in all their glory, emerge, the number
of neurons equalling the number of stars.
There is no separation.

And all this manifest glory, this infinite web
of interdependent beings, stars and neurons,
revolves in deep meditation like a wheel
around a central hub of nothingness,
emptiness, the non-dual, nirvana
or enlightenment.

And we are the wheel,
we are the hub.

~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on October 14, 2015.

2 Responses to “The Joy of Nothingness”

  1. lovely peter…we humans sure have managed to distance ourselves from the idea of interconnectedness…your bisected sky is a perfect metaphor…

    • Thanks Kristi, hope you’re well and still merrily seeding those kids’ minds in Florida…Beautiful spring here, tho el ninjo starting to kick in…Considering experimenting with a new, more natural type of beehive (Warre) at the moment…Interesting.

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