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The Art of Nothingness

by Paramananda

Here comes nothing.

Regardless of what type of practice we may use to explore our infinite nature, there is one common experience. What is the usual response when going inward through the practice of meditation?

“There is nothing there. There is nothing.”

Other than thinking, nothingness seems to be the primary result of closing our eyes to meditate. Sometimes we may use fancy words to try to cover up this nothing because it doesn’t sound as wonderful as bliss, eternity, infinity or brilliance. It certainly doesn’t sound as profound as stillness. It is just plain old nothing. Yet what is the difference between nothingness and all these descriptions?

While these words may point to our true nature, the simple nothingness that we see is often overlooked and undervalued in our inner exploration. We tend to gloss over this simple nothing in favour of seeking for something more fantastic. What if bliss and brilliance IS nothingness?

We are looking for something that will amaze us. What if the fantastic something we seek is the nothingness without anything added? To discover that we don’t need anything else to be complete is the Art of Nothingness.

The habit for the beginner and even the advanced explorer is to look for something other than just “nothing.” We are trained in the world to achieve success. This habit becomes transferred consciously or unconsciously onto our spiritual practice. Usually we can’t see ourselves doing this. We don’t see it because by “being spiritual” we think we are doing the opposite of the rest of the world. Unfortunately for the seeker, it does not matter because the mind has been programmed to achieve in the same way everyone else is doing it. We are shifting this same seeking habit onto another more “enlightened” form.

The good news is that peace of Silence or stillness is already in the ordinariness of nothing. We don’t have to do anything to be worthy of attaining it since we already have it. It is hidden in its obviousness.

It is because our being is so simple and common that when we set out with our practice to achieve it we often miss the mark by looking for something else. The way of nothing helps us to see that we are already resting in what we are looking for. We simply don’t see the simple and obvious due to the complexity and habits adopted by the seeker-mind.

We are used to seeing nothing as blank, boring, dull, ordinary and empty. As children we grew up very used to this nothingness and were spontaneously living from there. Do you remember thinking that this nothing was boring or dull? No of course not. It was only playful aliveness.

By experiencing this nothingness as it is, we lived in awesomeness and got excited over nothing or no object in particular. Getting excited or joyful over nothing at all is the birthright of every human. As children we bubbled over with the energy of life. In life as it is now, we don’t need a reason to be happy when all there is, is happiness. This is happiness in the ordinary and simple nothingness of our true nature. The way of nothing simply points to the bliss of being what we already are.

In the world, it becomes unacceptable to just stay in the peace of nothing because it is seen as pointless. You appear to have no value if you do that. The irony is that you are the totality of all value.

The world teaches us that we must achieve something, even if that something is not the highest achievement. Certainly nothingness is not good enough. In fact it is seen as the worst possible goal you can come up with.

This apparent ordinary nothingness is the foundation for everything. It is the screen on which thoughts appear and the body moves. When we explore it, this nothingness starts to become amazing. It is always awesome and incredible but hides in its humility of “just being nothing.” It does not show off and scream and jump saying, “look at me,” because it is already complete and full. It is desire-less.

With a little awareness this nothingness starts to show its true colors. These true colors are the extraordinary qualities of peace, bliss and aliveness that come out of nowhere. As long as we are seeking something other than the source, such as an idea or concept, we will continue to miss the simplicity of this silence.

At some point along our “serious “quest to achieve the ultimate enlightenment we “get it.” (In truth it is not serious and we don’t get it) What is the common response when the serious student finally sees her true nature?

What does she say?

Does she say, “Yes! I did it! Or “This is incredible!”

Perhaps, but more often you will hear, “Are you serious? This is it? Wow! I can’t believe I never saw this before!”

This is the shock of the obviousness of nothing. To see this is to see the fact that this nothingness is the full realization of enlightenment and also the way to it. It is both the goal and the steps. Nothing is great when it is seen as it truly is.

For now we may use words like “Infinite” and “Unconditional Love” but they are all the same as nothingness. In fact if you take this to the heights of reality, everything is nothingness. This makes our spiritual quest nothing at all.

The most wonderful aspect of the Art of Nothingness is the continual surprise gifts it brings. As clarity of the way opens up, we start to see clearly that there was never anything in the way of our Joy.

In fact the only appearance of an obstacle was the result of putting attention on something rather than on nothing. Making something out of “nothing” is to put our self in our own way. By taking the “something” out we see that all there is, is the magic and mystery of nothingness.

Go ahead and explore, there is nothing to it.

Paramananda was born in Calgary Alberta in 1975 and currently lives in Vancouver British Columbia where he works as an Electrician. He first learned how to meditate in 1999. Since then he has dedicated his life to exploring and sharing the freedom of this path. In 2003 he began to teach meditation and offer retreats based on the teachings of The Bright Path. These teachings reveal all that is required to walk this path with joy. He teaches that the silence and the humility of not taking yourself seriously are the foundations to seeing that you are already free. He is the author of A Path of Joy Popping into Freedom and The Way of Nothing Nothing in the Way www.paramanandaishaya.com

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