Friday, January 29, 2010

The Nothing that is Something

Having devoted some time now to active breathwork meditation,energy and bodywork, I can sometimes generate the experience of being “manic” without the mania.

I was reminded of this while reading Bodhi Sarango’s daily musings on the lessons of dharma, and his interpretations of the Buddha and his teachings. Today he addressed an aspect of the "self/no self.” Or what the Buddha meant by “Nothing.”

There is a wonderful metaphor in Nature of the experience of Consciousness embodied as human being which I have written of before, and is worth repeating. I had read that scientists had discovered what they initially thought were mushrooms peculiar to a large area in the western U.S. It turned out they were a single underground fungus of which the heads were the only visible part. “We” are the single heads who, once born as individuals, forget our Cosmic Oneness (I=We), and our work here on the planet is to remember it-- to "wake up" to the piece of the Universal/Divine/Eternal/ Nothingness/Brahman/God/Allah (whatever term you want to put to it) that is the essence/source of Everything, including ourselves. Or not. There is free will.

Interestingly, in a completely different field (or language of expression) and a seemingly non-spiritual discipline, physics has been finding proof of this (see Laszlo's, Science and the Akashic Field) Certainly, basic physics reveal we are mostly a vast space held together by a fast moving atomic/molecular energy system. No different from the very same energy system that makes up galaxies, a chair or a grain of sand. As Wallace Stevens wrote, "The nothing that is something...." And on another level, conscious physical beings are the vehicles for the Eternal to experience that physical reality--each of us the All contained in a broom closet.... though most of us travel through life completely unconscious of this.

Life certainly gives us plenty of opportunities to "wake up" and, in the western canon, I love the biblical story of Job. Some have interpreted this as the quintessential tale of "life is unfair." I see it as a western version of the journey to Enlightenment. Through Jehovah’s trials, Job finally "gets" that Joy is not dependent on material circumstances or attachments.

I have had the great privilege of experiencing Cosmic Oneness in a manic state, which is very difficult to describe and can only be approximated in language, since it does not occur in language or sequentially. Simply, there is no "I" and yet there is something that is aware of the simultaneity of no-time, Consciousness, profound Joy and Compassion. Sensation registered "my" body as solid, yet both light and energy at the same time. The words that came crudely to "me" were something like "This is what God feels like as me" even as "I" understood there is "no-I.” Jill Bolte Taylor speaks of Satori she experienced during her stroke, and the sudden fear that her “self” registered when it wondered how Self-as-Consciousness could be compressed back into her tiny, fragile body. But “It” did, and she is alive to tell her extraordinary tale.

I sense that this experience of the Eternal is the one to which the Buddha referred when speaking of Nothing. It is annihilation of the Ego only, and the capacity of an individual to live as/from Consciousness contained by the vessel of mortality. There is a glorious moment of getting that "we" are not our thoughts, though language is certainly a useful tool for navigating and exploring the grand adventure of physical reality….

Ah, La Comedie Humaine!

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