Something from nothing

A space is defined by the objects within it. A bedroom is a space for a bed. A neighborhood is space for a home. A city is space for buildings. The world is space for a planet. You are space for a body and a story and thoughts and choices and emotions and feelings… but space is nothing.

We make something from nothing. We bound space by imagined borders and define space by concepts. What is a bed? What is a home? What is a building? What is a planet? A bed can only be known through direct experience, and that direct experience is fleeting, not repeatable, unique as one experience of infinite possibilities. The concept of bed is a tool of convenience. It’s shorthand. It is no more real than a thought or a series of thoughts. The concept of bed tries to make solid an experience that comes and goes like the wind, ever-changing and vaporous in form.

The journey of awakening has us inquire within, but where is within? Isn’t within relative like above or behind? We are supposed to look within, above, or behind what? These are relative terms that assume a “something” to give them meaning. In our inquiry, the terminology alone gives rise to a something, namely an I or a person, to look within or behind or above.

Paradoxically, the inquiry is the search for nothing. There is nothing at the center. There is no above or behind for awareness. When we are awake, fully present, vividly aware as awareness, there is no I to be found. The I was something made from nothing.

But don’t dismay. This is our purpose, our human experience, our divine manifestation, that is, to make something from nothing. It’s what we do and what we are. The beauty and joy of life are to see the formation happen and see ourself as nothing becoming something.

If you are like me, you tend to get stuck on this side of something. You forget you are nothing, and when you look for yourself and find nothing, if you are honest with yourself, you aren’t impressed by nothing. But that’s OK too. Rest as nothing to be aware of nothing. Stay there for a bit and watch for the next arising of something. Notice where it comes from. You might be amazed at how you make something from nothing and are impressed by nothing at all.

I’m not the first to have this insight about nothing:

So what can we rely on prior to thinking good and evil, prior to self-evident truths and obvious lies, what is the price of rice in Roryo? Keep letting go of your cherished opinions and there will surely be an unexpected realization that you can’t get anywhere else. Book of Equanimity.

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