The Nothing, The Everything & the Miracle Between
As we open the windows of perception, either through the release of consciousness from mental programs, the non-attachments to contractions in our feeling awareness, or through the allowance of pure sensory perception, a fundamental duality at the core of nondual experience emerges. This is the duality of the everything and nothing.
When the perceptive window of consciousness flies open, no longer barred by beliefs, thought patterns and identities, the seeker asks: “Who am I?” No thought, no image, no belief seems to define him. He experiences himself as the consciousness at the source of all thoughts. The light of knowing through which thought itself takes form. And he becomes conscious of that consciousness. Time – beginnings, middles and endings – seems to collapse, together with the definitive story of self.
A great nothing emerges in the world of identity. Wisdom, the highest expression possible from the level of mind, says: “I am nothing.” No-one. Nada.
Yet, as consciousness becomes depersonalized, the mental nets over what is acceptable in the dimension of feeling unlocks a new freedom in the dimension of feeling awareness. Still, with a driving impulse into the world of form, the seekers than drops to sensing who she is, sampling how it feels to be alive, here. The question that emerges now is “What am I?” As sentient awareness is flowing in its purity around and through all energetic contractions, and as the eyes and ears of the heart open, the experience that comes forward is “I am everything.”
Feeling occurs in real time, without the constrictions of mind. As such, to feel an energy in an awareness is to feel as that energy. Every form through which awareness spreads enters the felt sense of awareness. It can be an experience of the one soul observing directly through us. Where we suffer, it suffers too. Where we are in joy, the greater dimensions of Being are also in celebration.
There is a rising absolutism as the mind realizes that everything that emerges in awareness is part of the whole, at the same time that it claims that nothing can be existentially real, that is not arising in awareness.
Often at this stage, a belief system is constructed that takes experience as the defining factor in the proof of awareness as absolute. The hierarchy of authority gets confused. Experience is restored as a defining factor of reality, now in an absolute sense. As by now, the seeker has returned to the mind, experience is then objectified in a subject-object duality, in various forms – as body-mind, as the “other” through which we must seek liberation, or as the “other” that is essentially made of consciousness.
Yet earlier, the mind experienced itself as Nothing, and a paradox prevails. “So who or what am I then?” All of this? None of this? Both? Neither?
Fear arises within the impulse to grasp a position and defend it. With fear, there is aggression, ego, and the birth of a whole new form of identity which is often deeply wounded in the area of authority.
For some, this is confusing. Yet it is precisely where the everything and nothing become one, in the perception through emptiness, that the deepest living liberation occurs.
All form is a configuration of time and space. Through the window of consciousness, time is liberated as temporal, passing, non-definitive. Through the window of awareness, space is liberated into the boundless infinity of being. Yet, the tendency to spiral between the duality of time and space will continue in a perceptive zig-zag movement between head and heart until the courage is allowed (or karma demands) the movement into the realization of the body.
The body is the form which contains both time and space in unity. As such, perception through emptiness involves the realization of the source of both time (consciousness) and space (awareness), in any given configuration of time and space. The body is the container of heart and mind. In the body, heart and mind are one. Just as in each and every transient form, time and space are one.
How do we contact the body?
The only way that we even know we have a body at all is through direct sensory perception. Even with our five rudimentary senses, it is through the touch of the air on the skin, the sound of the wind in the trees, the sight of the face of our loved one, the smell of our mother’s kitchen, and the taste of our favourite food that we compose our reality.
Yet we are conditioned to view our sense perceptions as dead-ends on the inside. As such, there is a lot of fear about taking in too much of the ‘outer’ world, as if we would get blocked by it, filled up or dominated. Yet when we truly allow the physical sensing of the world around us, truly allowing that which is able to sense anything at all that is transient and impermanent by nature, then it becomes clear that our sense perceptions are open channels. Through our senses we take in the world, and through our senses the world manifests outwardly through us.
Sense Perception in slow motion: the everything and nothing.
In every moment of sense perception, the everything and the nothing are one. Why?
If we are to truly allow the use of any sense organ, we actually have to totally let it go. Often this requires relaxation, as in relaxation, we are able to open. We need to release our restriction on the channel, and let it receive. To do this, we have to allow it to work in and of itself. We need to become nothing.
Yet simultaneously, in that precise moment of being nothing (not even the one that listens, not even the receiver), the sense opens and everything is allowed to be. That is, in the purity of nothing, we become everything. In every moment of sense perception, the nothing and everything are one.
We are not listening to ‘the sound’. We are not the listener who is ‘listening’. We are the listening itself, in a manner that is so utterly free that there is no fear of getting caught there. We are, as Jesus said, in the world but not of it. Everything and nothing. One in every second of the miracle of experience, by virtue of that one which is prior to all experience, prior to awareness and prior to consciousness.
The paradox of the everything and nothing is perpetually collapsing in the miracle of the living ‘somebody’.