The Writing of Self-Discovery & The Knowing of Nothing!

 A Brash and Naïve Young Man

As time passes, these books of mine tend to take on more concrete forms in my perception of them. As I take three steps back, my books appear as what they are: mere expressive templates for my self-discovery.

Upon reading the essays and stories I wrote just two months ago, I think to myself — what a brash and naïve young man! He knows truly nothing! Upon reading my most current works, the words that I am writing down at this very moment, — in two months I will think, what a brash and naïve young man! He knows truly nothing! What is it that wise old Socrates said?

I am wise because I know that I know nothing.

Even wiser, perhaps, is to know that you know you are nothing. To comprehend that you are empty of your Self — what the Buddhists call, sunyata. But, we shall explore more of this a little while on down the road…

***

The Writing of Self-Discovery

          It is said that a writer writes to discover himself. I find this to be true, time and time again. The more I write, the more I discover what is truly hiding behind the wet corners, dusty attics and musty basements of my deranged mind. The more concentrated I am as I compose these sentences, the deeper I am able to penetrate into the mystery of my identity and the eternity of my being.

All schools of Buddhism teach a concept known as Sunyata (emptiness). This is the idea that all things are essentially empty of Self, that the Self is an illusion of ego, or a conceptual identity which is created to satisfy our desire for concrete, distinguished, compartmentalized forms of thought based upon our ego’s reference of comprehension.

It occurs to me that this is what “I” am. I am one whom fervently writes down his own daydreams, attempting to grasp the slithering tails of his own illusions.

Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, “All of life is but a dream within a dream.” As a writer, this is what I am primarily concerned with. I write in order to capture a dream which is within the dream of my Self.

This identifying Self is perhaps but a dream of pure consciousness, that fabled ground of reality which lies beyond positive and negative, beyond living and dying, yin and yang, good and evil.

The harmony of the physical world is found within the interconnected unity of energy which composes all the atoms which in turn compose ourselves and all the whole wide universe. Our individual experiences of always feeling separate from nature and the eternity of the universe are the illusions of Self, the dreams in which our ego-identities dwell.

Whether one dreams through Life or not, I believe that everyone is destined to come around full-circle eventually. They will leave home and after many years of travel will find themselves once more upon their own door step, just as one will fall asleep in bed and awake in that very same bed. Taking it the next logical step further, one will die and then wake up to sleep and become what they were before they were born…

How do you like that? Sunyata greets you in dreams and embodies you in reality!

 

Conversations With Myself About ‘Nothing’.

The Following Musings Are A Whole Lot About Nuthin’

As soon as we begin to ponder Nothing, it becomes a something; a singular word, an image of empty space or blackness, etc. The only proper way to grasp Nothing, or non-being, is to die. It is only when we die that we will truly know nothing.

***

Conversations with Myself

I am sitting alone in my trusty armchair, hosting a strange conversation within the comfortable confines of my cranium with one of my peers from back in my school days. It goes a little something like this.

“So, what’s your favorite subject?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I said.

“How can you not have a favorite subject?”

“I do and I don’t. Nothing is my favorite subject.”

“Hmph! Well, you must be interested in something,” she asserted.

“Well, now that we’ve brought it into conversation, it is a something. Nothing is now a mental construct. I suppose that is something…”

“You’re making very little sense!”

“Excellent! Nothing shouldn’t have to make sense anyway, as it is by definition, senseless.”

***

The man is lying on the pavement with blood coming out of his mouth and he’s fading fast. The paramedics put him on the stretcher and begin wheeling him into the ambulance. A few of his loved ones are there and are desperately clutching onto their crucifix necklaces. “Stay away from the light! Come back to us!” they scream down at him.

The man, semi-conscious and drifting into the black hears their demands from somewhere far off and thinks to himself, “What light? I see nothing but Void. I can feel my consciousness dissipating into nothing. And how can I come back when I’m going nowhere? There isn’t even a foothold in the Nothing to return by! Not to mention, my voice is only your imagination talking at you. I am nothing. I am. I…”

The man is thus liberated from existence and the crucifix clutchers are demanding immediate resurrections and other Godly miracles. Such is Life.

***

A Semi-accurate Picture of Nothing     ———–>>   

 

***

Back in my armchair. Hot cup of coffee by my side. My mind begins to wander. I create a character out of less than thin air, out of nothing.

“If the universe is expanding, I want to know what it is expanding into.” says my Character.

“Can’t be known,” I say. “It’s not expanding into anything.”

“Which means it’s expanding into nothing?”

“Yes,” I reply.

“How can a thing expand into a no-thing?” my Character persists.

“It doesn’t, because by definition, noting doesn’t exist.”

“The universe is just expanding for the sake of expanding then. There’s nothing on the outside for it to expand into, and so there is no ‘into’ and there is no ‘nothing'”.

“Precisely right!” I say.

“That really boggles my mind, man.”

“Try not to get so hung up on it. It’s no thing really.”

My character dissipates back into the void of my imagination. I take a sip of the hot black coffee and feel its warmth in my throat and belly. I fall asleep for awhile and when I awake I think to myself, “Sleep is like a temporary death.”

Life is good.

 

 

Blessings of Nothing & The Curse of Immortality

Our existence is structured, framed and given ambition and purpose through the perceived presence of the Nothing. Without death dispensing the flesh from our bones and the consciousness from our brains, without the due process of time and the phenomena of entropy and age, in what dastardly hell would we find ourselves? In other words, if we were not mortal, what possible freedom and purpose could there be invented for our means of existing?

Death provides human beings with much needed liberation from the chains of living — it is only sad or unfortunate that at times this liberation can take place unsuspectingly. Death comes whether we are ready, or not. If we are to accept these things with Stoic temperance, we might say, “such is life”.

Humanity has a difficult enough time providing purpose and meaning to their lives as it is. Imagine the hollow and empty hell of an immortality! Some human beings are ready and eager for non-existence by the time they are seventy-five or eighty. They are like ripe fruit, fit to be picked, ready to fall. Imagine being five hundred and eighty years old! (Perhaps at this point we would dispense with the obvious euphemism “years young” and openly accept our own antiquity). I imagine Immorality would be fun for a few minutes. Then reality would set in and the repetition of life would drown us with insurmountable sorrow. Immortality is meant for unconscious things, such as subatomic particles, energy and the like. But we conscious humans are not fit for it. Morality is copacetic only with mortality, and nothing beyond.

I think now of the common goals and ambitions of the race. I think of goals and ambitions of the common individual. “I want to obtain my PHD by the time I’m twenty-six.” or “I want to live a life of travel. I want to see France and Spain and the Netherlands!” Well, cursed with an immortality — what need would there be to strive for that PHD? You’ve got all the time in the universe. As for world travel, you might circle the globe a million times or more. What left is there to see after the first few hundred years? Futility and boredom breeds sorrow in the Immortal Man. Perhaps we should pity the Gods, should they exist. Can we truly blame them for creating such a faulted and entertaining species such as ourselves? Humankind is the ultimate comedic tragedy and we would undoubtedly make for some fantastic, cosmic theater for any outside observers. We would be a wonderful distraction.

Getting back to the Void, the Nothing….just as the purpose of a bowl is to hold things, it cannot do so without the emptiness which shapes the rest of it. The Buddhists call this emptiness, this nothingness and void, sunyata. Just as without the nothingness which gives purpose to the bowl to hold things, without the nothingness which circumvents our lifespan and all of humanly existence, mankind would be without pleasure or purpose to live. So, I say, let us be thankful and grateful for nothing!

Nothing, the thing which is no thing, by virtue of its definition does not exist. Yet its non-being is immediate and felt everywhere, like a phantom embrace. It is herein that humankind subscribes to these non-values of nothing and are remarkably all the better for it.

Good day to my beloved readers, and sunyata!