All I know is that what I experienced that night so long ago, that which seemed strange enough to be termed crazy, that which could only be the result of a feverish and inexperienced or ignorant mind, that which I refused to believe although experience had made me see it has turned out to be true.
I was 16 or so and given to day dreaming more often than my parents thought healthy or normal; I was 16 and was still willing to believe most of what my Father spoke as truth. I was 16 and spent a tremendous amount of time in my room with the door closed doing –now I cannot remember- god knows what and little more. It might have been night time, at least I believe it was, and I was day dreaming as usual, of nothing, of everything, dreams that teenagers have. It was night, now it begins to come back, and the darkness of it captured my attention. Yet there was light, light from the streetlamp that I could not see but perceived through the glow that reached the far wall outside of my window, light perhaps from a moon or the twinkling stars which were still visible in the sky for the now infamous smog of Mexico City had not yet taken over. Light, no doubt, from under my closed door for my parents were probably downstairs, or had gone out and not yet come home. The memory speaks of silence, there was silence; the night was quiet of that I am sure. On the cobblestoned street where we lived there was no traffic and much less after night fall. An occasional car would pass slowly and then the silence would wrap once more around the houses like a dark shawl. I was sitting, if I’m not mistaken, on the stool in front of my dressing table, my elbows resting on the glass top which protected the white wood from being stained, my cheeks resting on my fists, my eyes peering out into the night and my ears listening to the silence until it began to fill my head. Everything, including my mind was still. And then I did a strange thing.
I removed my fists from my cheeks where they had been holding up my head, spread them out and covered my eyes as tightly as I could. Once I was sure that not a slithering of light could get through, I opened my eyes, now under the cover of my warm palms, and looked. I looked as only a young person can look: with no preconceived notion of what it was I was going to see and I saw. I saw that there was nothing, absolutely nothing between the darkness inside and the darkness outside, nothing separating the cosmos that resided inside and the cosmos that resided outside: there was no “me”, there was only darkness, there was only cosmos; even the stars were gone from the Infinite inside. The experience was one of awe and peace: “I” was no more, there was nothing but “that” and “that” had not yet separated into “this, and this, and this…” It just was: silence and vastness, unending silence, unending vastness. I would never forget that experience, would as a matter of fact use it in a novel some 30 odd years later, but as surely as I would not forget it, neither would I believe it, neither would I know that in that moment I had seen, experienced what I would spend the next 45+ years searching for.
How was I to know? The moment I removed my hands from my eyes, reality as I undestood it then flooded back in, as light, as thought, as denial: “figment of the imagination”. How was I to believe that which no one and nothing in my living experience was validating: that the body, that the whole material world does not actually exist unless I perceive/project it. All I seemed to know at that moment was that for a split second I had experienced an inner realm as vast, unending and abysmal as the outer cosmos. That which I could not imagine, the infinite, the unendingness of the cosmos without even a celestial body –a star, a moon, a sun- to dot it, was my inner reality, much more so than lungs and heart and stomach and uterus. I was Nothing, creating myself and being created by that Nothingness at every instant, over and over and over, never real, always becoming and folding back into nothingness: beautiful, overwhelming, incomprehensible, awesome, fearful and miraculous Nothingness.
Now I understand that at that very moment, I also experienced that the selfsame nothingness, is not nothing: it is vibrant, alive and that which we all long for deep down inside: it is our birthing place –now, now, now. What Freud mistook as a desire to return to the womb, is a desire to return to the Womb, the Void, the Nothingness that is Everything in potential.
Fifty-one years later I can now live from that Place, visiting it whenever I wish and never losing contact with it. It manifests in the current of peace that underlies my everyday life; in the gentleness with which I view most circumstances no matter how apparently uncomfortable. It flows forth through my chest which opens out connecting both realities in wave after wave of love. I am that Nothingness, being. I am blessed
4 thoughts on “NO-THING-NESS”
It’s ironic that I have at last connected to you through a shared experience of Nothingness – No- Thingness. Update your Freud with Almaas’ “Pearl of Great Price” or “The Void.” Beyond drive theory there is the wonderful world of object relations to contemplate, and then the world of no objects, just no-thing-ness, and at the center a peace beyond all understanding.
How great to see you here. So we are (ALL) on the same wave length and getting “there” (as if there were anywhere to go). Yes, the No-thing-ness is what I actually experienced way back then, but there was nothing around to validate it, so I thought it was just “strange” me. Took me 50 years almost to understand. It is great hearing from you and would love to keep in touch. Big hug, Brianda
And, Paula, thank you: I have changed the title because your way of putting it expressed so much more what I wanted to say. Brianda
Paula Cole and Brianda Domecq : my favorite seniors at Dana! And then there was that wedding. Thank you for the memories, girl friends. And what is Almaas’ “Pearl of Great Price could Paula tell us? Long seeking for the Wizard of Oz led me too to the doughnut hole. A great place for listening.