A Little Something About Nothing

People talk a lot about things and stuff, but hardly anybody says anything about nothing. Nothing is very important because without it, where are you going to put anything? We need space-time to have location, and space-time is nothing. Or at least, the lack of something.

The thing about nothing that makes it really something is that it isn’t. Nothing, by definition, doesn’t exist. It is, precisely, the lack of existence. But because nothing is the antonym of existence, it is also locked into a dance with it. The process of becoming always goes from nothing to something and back again. Non-becoming is just as much a part of the dance of being as becoming is.

Nothing or space-time is also a way to hold things or objects. The quality of space-time is dimension. Objects require a place to be, without which they could not exist. So paradoxically enough, being requires nonbeing to have dimension.

There is always more space than stuff, because things are limited while space is not. There is no limit to space because being pure dimension, it is immaterial and unmanifest. Yet, we cannot say that space is absolute because of its relation to being and becoming.

Becoming and its opposite, non-becoming or death, are both still part of the process of manifestation. As complimentary opposites like yin-yang or space-time, they cannot be separated. So even though space-time is present unlimitedly long before and after any object, it is still an essential part of the dance of being and becoming.

But there is another concept that does stand alone, and that is emptiness. Emptiness is distinct from nothingness. Emptiness means ‘the absence of absolute being’. Everything involved in the dance of samsara—the manifested universe—is temporary, limited and conditioned. There is no absolute being in the world. Since being requires space-time, it is always conditioned by time, dimension and location.

Thus to go beyond being and nonbeing, stuff and space, things and nothing requires nothing less than transcending the dance of Maya, evading the grasp of Mara and making one’s home in a house of emptiness. This is both an intellectual and philosophical conclusion, and a meditative or mystical experience.

That’s everything about nothing you need to know to get nowhere, where you can find all the emptiness you could ever need. Nowhere is a non-place that you can non-go through meditation, non-doing and non-clinging. There’s a very practical use for all this nothing: it gives us a context to hold the universe we live in as a space for our process of becoming. That in turn gives actionable access to the process of becoming itself.

This clever trick discovered by the Buddha is based on subtle feedback loops he discovered within the process of becoming itself. His Noble Eightfold Path makes use of this to amplify our control over the process of becoming. One who completely masters this process in all its intricacies becomes an Arhant or even a Buddha.

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Published by

Dev Jacobsen

Musician, author and yogi, developer of Palingenics.

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