During our last satsang, we used the description absolute nothingness as a pointer towards Self-Realization. Afterwards, someone brought up a common reaction to having a very direct experience during the satsang: “I don’t know if I want to be ‘Nothing’.”
Yet, we already are the substanceless substance, the undifferentiated awareness that is described as Nothing, Silence, Truth, etc., whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes the identified mind can jump in with assumptions about what that direct experience of Nothing is: boring, fearful, nonexistent, listless. It tells us Nothing is less than the stories mind can bring into our lives. Nothing threatens our believed stories: “I am a teacher, writer, doctor, construction worker, philanthropist. I like running, cooking, insects, the Bears. I’m intelligent, patient, short, good with children.”
When we no longer identify with stories and directly experience Nothing, we are living Nothing “as” a teacher, writer, doctor, construction worker, philanthropist, etc. This Nothing is in everything manifesting before us; it is the rich, diverse, multi-layered landscape of our living. Now we are living from a perspective that has a vested interest in not only the personal ‘I Am-ness’ we are aware of, but in everything in life appearing before our ‘I Am-ness.’ Life lives out within the Nothing. As Nisargadatta beautifully describes, “When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love. And between these two, my life turns.”
The ‘Nothing’ being referred to is not an absence of something. It is Nothing within which everything is contained. Nothing is the Brahman referred to when the sutra says, “The world is illusory, Brahman alone is real, Brahman is the world.” The nothing and everything Nisargadatta refers to is the same essence. These are not metaphysical terms; they are descriptive of direct experience.
So, the next time you experientially feel yourself as ‘Nothing’, congratulations, you are aware of what has always been, is now, and always will be living ‘your’ life.
And what is that awareness that experiences itself as Nothing? Adyashanti states it succinctly, “Awareness is simply something that’s happening. It’s not a thing that your mind can hold on to. It’s the aware ground which makes it possible to be conscious of anything—Awareness is.”
In Truth, Steve and Bec