Opening into Nothingness
Going beyond thought
Whether you are aware of it or not opening into stark nothingness is terrifying for most. We both hunger to feel emptiness and instantaneously grab onto the next thing or thought the moment we taste even the slightest sliver of nothingness. We are so bound up in our thoughts, worries, ideas, activities and the like that few of us even get a glimpse of what it feels like to experience total emptiness. The irony is that emptiness is our natural state of being and yet most of us have never experienced it.
Emptiness or nothingness is what is prior to or before thought arrives on the scene. When thought does arrive it creates and colors the world that we see and what we call reality. Reality for most people is just a conglomeration of their thoughts. True reality however is completely without thought. It simply is. Pure beingness. Awareness itself. Why is it that we are so terrified of our natural state of pure beingness? Well firstly it is because there is no separate, individual self in nothingness. This means that the you that you think is you, let’s call this the “thought” you, dissolves into nothing. There is no you in the traditional sense that you’ve come to know. This feels completely destabilizing to the one you think you are (often people describe it as the feeling of death) and so the reaction-response is to fuse back with thought to feel a sense of stability again.
Secondly in order to even taste nothingness we must be in a state of total openness and acceptance. We cannot be attempting to make something happen, figure anything out or control something with our head/thoughts. All of these put us in a state of resistance or closure, which equates to creating the experience of separation or otherness. You cannot know nothingness from a state of perceiving otherness. Many people however try to do this and nothingness becomes another box or container for their mind to explore rather than directly know. In order to truly experience nothingness you must fuse with it thus becoming it rather than continuing to fuse with thoughts.
When you make the commitment to open your system and let go of thoughts rather than continue to use your thoughts to figure out how to open your system, you will begin to know the beingness and the world beyond thought. You cannot get beyond thought through using thought. You must relinquish the thoughts altogether less your awareness will habitual continue to latch onto them out of familiarity and comfort.
The End of Otherness
Surrender into the Self
As we approach nothingness from a still separate point of view some of the experiences that we have are centered around feeling like we won’t know, that we will be totally useless, that we will be completely exposed or vulnerable, that if our mind/thoughts don’t inform us then what will, and above all we doubt because we don’t yet know what is on the other side of our thoughts. We don’t perceive that we can trust that nothingness will provide and contains everything that is known and needed.
The only way to really work with this is to allow yourself to feel the energy of all of these states of being that arise. That means allowing the feeling of not knowing what is or will happen next which brings in the felt experience of trust, feeling exposed and vulnerable which brings in the direct experience of openness, feeling the spacious empty nothingness that is without thoughts which brings in the direct knowing of yourself. See we often say we want to trust, or we want to be more open, or we want to more clearly and directly know ourselves and we think that we have to do something or figure something out in order to do it. The truth is that trust, openness and knowledge of self come through you staying with those feeling experiences that you keep trying to avoid which just happen to be trust, openness and knowledge of self. The direct path to what we desire is always inside of what we are currently experiencing.
To know ourselves, which is the final destination of the spiritual journey, is really just the beginning of life. Before we know ourselves we are just trying to survive because all we perceive is separation and the fight for our physical needs, desires and existence. If we have something than it means someone else does not have it and vis versa. When we perceive otherness someone or something always wins and the other loses. We fight to save live from the perspective of our eminent demise as we believe death of the body means death of us.
The end of otherness and the bridge into totality is the surrender into nothingness which is the true self or the true you. This is to walk willingly into our own personalized ego death. Ego being that perspective which believes itself to be a part, and apart from, rather than the whole. This is the end to personalization of our lives and the unbending trajectory of the individual needs, wants and desires. To be clear this does not mean death of the body, but to the perspective that body means separate from. There is no separate you. There never has been. There has only ever been the thought of a separate you. Separate you is just a thought. When you relinquish all thought, even for a moment, you immediately realize this. This is the direct experience and knowledge of self. This takes you beyond the concept of you to where you no longer perceive other and the will of this body-mind instrument is divinely inspired and moved. Personal insistences have dissolved and all that remains is God/Love/Spirit of which these vehicles are gladly utilized. “Your” will becomes Love’s will as there is but one will.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado