First of all there is only me. And there is the world and the people that affect me.
Here I am. Clare Dimond. And I have needs and wants that must be satisfied in order for me to be ok. I have preferences and desires and vulnerabilities. I am who I am and I go about the world seeing the meaning it has for me and battling through to somehow get what I want in order to be happy and secure.
Maybe you are a bit like me in that respect?
And this makes total sense. There is nothing wrong with this. Because we look to the world to work out who we are. We have an identity and a sense of self. And anything that seems to threaten this can send us into overdrive or withdrawal.
We go through words, tones of voice and gestures with a tooth comb looking for ways we can be right or secure. We have to secure this idea of who we are at all cost.
Whether we are self-effacing or selfish or somewhere in between, it is ultimately all about the idea of ‘self’. A self that may seem so inadequate it has to be continually insulted or that must be protected or that must be asserted over other selves.
Then someone comes along and says ‘Well actually that you, that person that looks so real to you is not that real. In fact it is not even a thing. It is nothing. And that world out there that looks so real to you is actually not that real. In fact it is not even a thing. It is nothing. This idea of who you are is a collection of beliefs. There is no substance to it. Even this body that looks so real, physical and solid is experienced through thought and belief. This world that you see is only ever the reflection of what you believe. And beliefs are not substantial. They are not things. So there is nothing. You are nothing. Nothing experiencing nothing.’
And oh boy that sounds just awful. Impossible and awful. After an entire lifetime of desperately seeking Susan, Clare, Mark or Dave (or whatever your name may be), of trying to make this self of ours into Someone, the idea of nothingness is shocking.
The idea is so intolerable that thought brings in the big guns:
‘I get it. It’s a choice,’ says the belief in self ‘You can have me. A real person. Yes ok there are some flaws. But nevertheless, I’m real. I’m the only way money can be made or work can be done or the world can be experienced. And if you ditch me then there is nothing. Vast swathes of meaningless, desolate, futile nothingness.’
Not much of a choice is it?
And so of course we say ‘No thank you, I will stick with this me right here that looks absolutely and say no to the desolate emptiness that seems to be the only alternative.’
And we turn away from any further exploration.
And what a shame that is.
What a great shame.
Because the thing is, this nothingness is beyond all wildest dreams.
It is what we have been searching for our entire lives. All our lives we have looked for nothing. In that search, we found something believing it to be the nothing we were searching for. It is a cheaply-won, pretend jewel and we clung on to it, fixed our gaze on it and in doing so missed the crazy, wild, abundant, spectacular nothingness that surrounded it.
In seeing the nothingness, we realise that the belief in the ‘I’ and in a separate world were locked together in a desperate, interminable tango. Each whirling the other round and round in an insane dance to the death.
And that crazy destructive tango now stops. Because there is nothing to be resisted and no one to resist. There is not me in the way I believe myself to be. There is not the world in the way it is believed to be.
With nothing in the way, the sheer wonderful beingness just is. The filter of who or what or how or when or why we think things should be fades away.
The nothingness and the being is life. And life means that the nothingness of being is so rich, dense, vibrant and palpable that it can give rise to an infinity of thoughts alongside the infinity of hues, sounds, smells and textures. All of it appearing and disappearing. All of it a miracle. The thought of a me that is limited and incapable is a miracle. The thought of a nothingness that is dull, bland, neutral is a miracle. All of it nothing.
There is only aliveness and awareness of aliveness. Life. That churning, dynamic, vital, molten miracle.
In the words of Tony Parsons, ‘Being is totally whole just being. And it is alive and fleshy and sexy and juicy and immediately this; it’s not some concept about ‘there’s no-one here’. It’s not some concept about ‘there’s nowhere to go’. It’s the aliveness that’s in that body right now. There is pure beingness, pure aliveness.’
It has never been a choice of ‘me or nothing’. There is no choice to make. There never has been. Because the ‘me’ has only ever been nothing. It is only ever life happening and life giving rise, because life can do anything, to a belief of an ‘I’ and of a way that life should be different.
There is just pure life. Pure being and we are all of it.
Life is the miracle and you are life. There is no you. There is only you.