Good for Nothing!
No, seriously, good for nothing! I know we’ve built an entire global culture based on the idea that nothingness is worthless, but, well, we’re wrong. I’m just trying to congratulate Nothingness on doing one fabulous job of creating a universe, out of —nothing at all!
Okay, we’ll have a contest. Here’s the way it will work. You have absolutely nothing to work with. Now, you have eternity to do it. Okay, let’s see who can make a universe! Ready, set, go!
We see outwardly forever and we see nothing at all. To absolute infinity we have crystal clarity. No stars, no dust, no alien space ships. Just nothing. Nothing to fear, as well. We are here all alone. Still, there is no small amount of comfort in knowing that we are perfectly safe. But back to the challenge; build a universe, build a universe. We begin to doubt that we will ever be able to do such a thing given nothing to work with – no energy, no matter, no light, no sound, nothing to vibrate.
From doubt we fall deeper into fear. We look out into the emptiness and instead of interpreting it as endless clarity where there is nothing to see, we believe it to be solidly opaque, hiding from our sight any number of terrifying things. We are blind and alone. Without changing the nature of the emptiness, to our perception it has changed from endless clarity to a blinding ink that hides dangers and leaves us utterly vulnerable.
In that moment we see how our universe can be made. We have recognized that these two opposite perceptions, expanding to fill infinity and seeing to infinity and being safe, as opposed to contracting to being a finite, tiny part of an overwhelming whole, being blind and alone and helpless, are mutually exclusive points of view! We begin to switch back and forth from one state to the other. In doing so, we have rhythm, and therefore structure. As the artist Paul Klee once noted, “Rhythmic, therefore structural!”
Now we have one vibration going, and we decide that we can handle a second rhythm composed of the same polar opposites. This oscillation between the two polar opposites is of a slightly higher frequency. We also find, to our amazement, that when we reach a certain frequency between these two vibrating points of view, there is a harmonic overtone, a beat, a whole new set of vibrations as the two interact with one another. We discover overtones of harmonies and dissonances. One feels good, and the other feels unnerving. The more vibrations of differing and same frequencies, the more interactions they create. Soon they begin shielding one another, building, amassing, driving some apart, as if there were actual time/space, creating great masses that shield the vibrations and create actions that resemble gravity. Great masses shield the pressures created by vibrations from everywhere and pin smaller clusters down against the great masses, as if there were a gravitational attraction. A universe begins to dance itself into experiential existence.
Yet you may ask, where does this awareness that has perception come from in the first place? The answer is also surprisingly simple. For this, let’s step back even farther, to when we were that infinite emptiness. We are nothingness. Since there is nothing to contain us, we expand in our nothingness clearly forever and forever. Yet, when this emptiness attempts to fill infinity, it finds that it cannot do so without feeling finite. Yet infinity goes on forever. Then how can it be infinite if it has come to rest at some finite place? We try again to experience filling all of infinity, and again we realize that when we do believe that we have reached absolute infinity, it feels finite, complete. So it can’t be infinity, because it has come to an end! We see from this that endless emptiness is in a dilemma that is not solvable by reason. Endless emptiness has a problem! It cannot be what it already is! This is where awareness is born, and born, and born again, a continuous revelation. Emptiness is in a continuous state of realizing that it is what it cannot be, and we all ride this as our personal consciousness, virtual fish in an ocean of awareness. If we have emptiness forever, we have consciousness forever. The two are one and the same.
Our own minds express this primary dilemma constantly. The awareness that we each claim as our very own is, in reality, this selfsame emptiness that is this old, impossible, irresolvable dilemma. Being what it cannot be is the very essence of awareness. It is revelation itself!
Who among us is not always in an irresolvable dilemma? It is, in fact, acceptance of this that allows us to be lifted above its torque into spiritual rest. Polarity, oscillating between desire and fear, between expansion and contraction, was to be the building block of a perceptual universe, but was never meant to be our primary identification. We are that which experiences all of this, but we are not the polarities that allow these experiences to take place.
As the magician pulls the rabbit from the hat, this vast, singular awareness we each claim as our very own, awareness at large, pulls each moment’s experience out of a hat of time/space. There is nothing to grab hold of, no way to keep it. It is a song sung by the spheres. We find rest from its rhythms of desire and fear only by releasing our grip upon it, and resting back in our front-row center seat as a universe folds and unfolds before us for eternity, safe in knowing that we are the Awareness from which all of these descriptions and expressions of its nature spring.
Art is like the mesmerizing colors and forms on the surface of that bubble we each experience as our world. The arts try in every way imaginable to first catch our attention and then carefully, or through shock, lead us to the perception that life is for conscious experience alone. We take experience with us. The artist teaches us that presence with whatever is before us is the only treasure there is. In this way, art is not the illusion, but leads us away from illusion to reality. The artist is a pathfinder, offering ever-changing, previously unknown pathways back to reality, in every way he or she can. Art reminds us with each creative act that it is not what we see but that we see. Art is a window to reality.
Paint Rag Magazine
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