“Nothingness to nothingness is the whole journey”

Celebrate your nothingness. Your nobodyness. Your non-entityness!
The more you hold on, cling on, the more you will suffer. And the lesser you will see of Life’s miracles. The Universe, and Life, operate on a simple principle. That I have come to understand as ‘nothingness’. Nothingness is what you__and I__are all about. You came with nothing. You will go with nothing. This earthly sojourn is where you will deceive yourself to believe that you gained a lot. You imagine you gained an experience called this lifetime, you gained an education, a name, fame, family, wealth or reputation. All this is what you THINK you have gained. But will you be able to take any of these with you when you go away? Even this experience called this lifetime may not be remembered by you. Who knows? Because Life, after this body’s demise, is unknown to you__and me! So, why do we cling on to anything, and everything, wasting precious time, energy and effort?

Osho, the Master, says, “In the beginning is nature, in the end is nature, so why in the middle do you make so much fuss? Why, in the middle, becoming so worried, so anxious, so ambitious – why create such despair? Nothingness to nothingness is the whole journey.”

Accept your “no-thingness” and give in to Life

Being able to do nothing is freedom. Having no idea of what to do is bliss.
There will be times in Life when you have hit rock bottom, when you are in the depths of treacherous ravine, you see no way out and your mind can’t even think. The harder you try, the more blank you feel your mind is. There are only two kinds of problems in the world. One which you, or anyone you know, can solve and another which no human can solve. What do you do when you are faced with the second kind of problems – which no human can solve, at least not in an immediately imaginable, conceivable time window? Think Michael Schumacher, think MH 370, think of a five-year-old who is struck by a fourth stage cancer! At a practical, human level, this state may be a no-go. Where do you go when you have hit rock bottom and don’t have the means or even ideas to climb back up? But at a spiritual level, every dead-end, every no-go signifies an opportunity to evolve and grow within. Through such evolution, you become free and happy – despite your circumstances.  
In Zen Buddhism, there are koans. A koan is a paradoxical riddle or anecdote without a solution to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke enlightenment. There are many famous koans. One is: “Find out your original face.” A Master asked his disciple to solve this koan.
The disciple asks the Master: “What is the original face?”
And the Master replies: “The face that you had before your parents were born.”
And the disciple starts meditating on that: “What is your original face?” Naturally, you have to deny all your faces. Many faces will start surfacing: childhood faces, when you were young, when you became middle-aged, when you became old, when you were healthy, when you were ill…. All kinds of faces will stand in a queue. They will pass before your eyes claiming: “I am the original face.” And you have to go on rejecting. The disciple too goes on rejecting all the faces that come in front of him. He goes through this process of rejection over many, many years. Finally, when he’s himself the Master of knowing which is not the original face, he realizes that there is no original face. That there is only emptiness. There’s nothing. When all the faces have been rejected and emptiness is left, you have found the original face. Osho, the other great Master, explains this so simply: “Emptiness is the original face. Zero is the ultimate experience. Nothingness – or more accurately no-thingness – is your original face.”
Similarly, some Life situations are koans. For example, everyone is looking at the Tarun Tejpal episode through the eyes of either Tejpal or the Young Woman who’s filed the complaint against him. But when you look at it through the eyes of Tejpal’s daughters Tiya, who’s best friend the Young Woman is, and Cara or from Geetan’s, Tejpal’s wife, point of view, you will see a koan there. An inexplicable situation with no solution. A legal redemption may still be on the cards for Tejpal. But will there ever be a moral one – in the eyes of his own family?
I have learnt from Life, in my own small, yet eventful, way that a no-go is really the time to let go! I have realized that when you can’t do anything about a situation, when nothing seems possible, when the mind can’t think and no one can even attempt a solution any more, then accept your “no-thingness”. And give in to Life. Let Life take you where you belong. And if Life doesn’t take you anywhere, then perhaps it’s here, in this dark abyss, that you were always ordained to arrive?

Approach Life with open arms, in all humility…

Awaken each day with total humility, stretch your arms wide open and be sure that Life will provide you all that you need. Our grief comes from our wants. Wants always have an element of ego, a demand, in them. But when you approach Life with humility, saying, fill my Life with what you believe I need, not only will everything be taken care of__as has always been__but you will never ever be in grief.  
This morning I read a beautiful interview that Times of India has done with A R Rahman. He tells Priya Gupta: Every time I sit for a song, I feel I am finished. It’s like a beggar sitting waiting for God to fill your bowl with the right thought. In every song, I ask help from Him. Everybody around is so good, so to create music that will connect with so many people is not humanly possible without inspiration.
This is the humility I am referring to. Caught in the trap of the mindless rat race we run, our wants have increased manifold. And so have our insecurities and anxieties. When things don’t go as per our wishes, when what we want doesn’t happen, we agonize and blame an external God for our misfortunes. We have ended up becoming so full of ourselves__our grief, our problems, our wants. This is the only reason why our lives are not complete and yet we feel spent! This is why we are unable to create value in whatever we do daily. To feel enriched and live fully, we must empty ourselves daily. When we approach Life with a sense of nothingness, nobody-ness, in total surrender, we will be able to see and experience the Life that is ordained for us. Most important, we will feel peaceful and blissful within!
Our wanting anything is of no consequence really. There’s an old Arabic proverb that goes like this: “What is destined will reach you even if it be beneath two mountains. What is not destined will not reach you even if it be between your two lips.” Let’s remember that this Life has been given to each one of us. We didn’t ask for it. So, logically, if something has come free, without your asking for it, you don’t impose your wants on it. You accept what’s being given and use it intelligently, fully! That fullness can only come from respecting Life and being responsible for your own lifetime. When you impose your wants on Life you are being both ungrateful and irresponsible. Your wants must cease for the God within you to find expression.
This is why people like Rahman, or any successful or creative person, is able to live in this same, cold, dog-eat-dog, world that we live in and are able to produce a matchless, beautiful, work of art each day. I am not talking of celebrity achievements here. You and I too can achieve those levels of creative expression, leading to phenomenal success, if we learn to empty ourselves and let Life take care of us. That then would be a true celebration of our lives and making them meaningful – leading us to bliss and peace.

Learnings on the Power of Nothingness

Today’s a Sunday! And you may be “busy” doing something or the other. Like watching TV. Or catching up on your reading. Or running errands with your kids or for them. You may want to do several things today which you can’t do during the week. Which is why I cautiously say you may well be busy!

But have you considered doing nothing? And just being in a state of nothingness?

Let me share some learnings that will also help clarify some myths we hold about doing nothing and being in a state of nothingness!

Doing nothing does not mean not thinking. Because the mind can never be thoughtless. Doing nothing is about getting your mind to be alive than active. About getting it to differentiate between ‘action’ and ‘activity’.

The human mind, research has revealed, on an average, processes 60,000 thoughts daily. A good portion of those thoughts are about different forms of activities. About getting things done. Or they are about debilitating emotions like worry, anger, guilt, anxiety and such. The mind goes on churning these thoughts leading to a series of activities at a pace that defies logic. Which is why half the people in the world are struck by stress even before they are 40! Doing nothing slows down the mind. It will still process 60,000 thoughts, but at a manageable pace where they will lead to mindful action and not mindless activities. A mind that has experienced that state of nothingness is more aware. When you are hungry and you eat, it is action. When you just keep on tucking into the next cookie or samosa at the conference table at work, that is just activity. When you are listening to your child talk about her day at school, and watch her every emotion, then it is action. When you merely hear her speak, but choose to check your mobile phone for mails, it is activity. Our daily lives are filled with thousands of such activities and very little or no inspired, informed and intelligent action. Which is why we are unhappy. Which is why we feel a sense of loss __ of working so hard and yet not enjoying it!

Nothingness cannot be experienced by doing something about or for it. It is about being. Sundays are a great time experience nothingness. You literally don’t have to do anything. Or necessarily go anywhere. No posture is required. No preparation is needed. Just spend a good part of the day being silent. You be silent, that’s enough. There is no need to silence the environment. Look at an inspiring sight, from your window or balcony or terrace, of Life itself. You can possibly see a tree or a garden or a street. And simply watch Life happen. Now this is important – as your mind strays towards a worry or a schedule for tomorrow or a painful memory, just bring it back to attend to Life as you are experiencing it. Remember the mind is like the human body. It will resist any new regimen that you insist it embraces. Besides, the mind, through years of your “worldly-wise” conditioning, has confused itself into a perpetual, stupid, silly “hyper activity” mode. In fact, unless you tell your family that you are embarking on this “unique experiential journey”, chances are that you be chided for being lazy, for “doing nothing” and will be demanded to help with the dishes at least!!! Remember also that through your entire nothingness experience you must be silent. Our focus eventually is to stop the endless chatter in your mind, to calm it down and for it to think and act intelligently than just react hyperactively. Your physical silence then is a simple, but important, contributor in that direction.

The founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu (600 BC ~ 531 BC), wrote this famously, prophetically too, in his book “Tao Te Ching’ (The Book of THE Way): “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”It is such a profound and yet so stark, awakening, revelation of our lives in. In our perpetual hyper-active mode, doing things and getting things done, we have lost the ability to simply be. We are extremely busy. But when we look back we have done nothing memorable in terms of living __ intelligently! The years have gone by. But we have still not lived our lives completely. We have been taught again, sadly erroneously, that an “empty mind is a devil’s workshop”. So we have allowed our mind to be filled with gibberish __ worry, fear, anger, sorrow. We have allowed our mind to always be in a frenzy __ processing one activity after another, as if it were a sausage machine. This frenzy may have helped us created more wealth, more assets, but has robbed us of our health, our inner peace and has left us searching for happiness! If we haven’t been happy with our Life, what’s the point in having lived it? Haven’t we then been simply busy doing nothing?!

Only when we empty our minds of all wasteful emotions and rid it of all activity, will it experience nothingness. In that state of nothingness is where you will find your consciousness, your Universal Energy recharge point, your bliss.