Explaining the Concept of Nothingness
I came across an Alan Watts lecture through a gaming channel I watch on YouTube. I didn’t understand it, and I still don’t fully understand everything, but I was intrigued by this guy. I went on Audible to buy an audiobook on Zen by Watts: “The way of Zen”. I think I grasp that concept much better now.
In the Western world what is commonly known about meditation is that you sit down and want nothing. That’s a picture a lot of people have in mind. But what gets you there is actually the more important part.
See, we all want things. Of course we want things. We want love, we want a house, we want a family, we want to meditate. But if you desire something, it “de-centers” yourself. Suddenly you are drawn towards that thing you desire. It attracts yourself like a magnet. You desire it until you have it, and then, all of a sudden, you can return to your middle. It’s like a pendulum that starts swinging in different directions for everything you want.
When you meditate you create a space where you can have nothing. Actually you create a space where you don’t need anything. When you meditate for 15 minutes, you sit down and you don’t need anything for that timeframe. No food, no phone, no computer. You know that once you get to that place that you can be truly by yourself. And let’s face it, just 15 minutes to sit down and think of nothing that you want or desire? Doesn’t that sound like a manageable task?
This is how I have been taught to meditate:
Because I’m hyperactive, sitting down for just a minute sounded insanely crazy to me. Before I got into PMR, I tried to meditate already. Like many I just downloaded a CD and put it on my iPod. The instructor’s voice was so calm and slow that I sheerly freaked out. Because this is what most Western people want. They want something and they want it now. “Come on, just relax me already, goddammit!”
My coach said: “Look, this is going to help. It is scientifically proven that it does. You can decide to get this tool or you can fight it, like you did. I would recommend that you at least give it a try. Your body wants to move, I know that. Can you tell your body to shut down for 15 minutes? Because this is what this is all about. The entire purpose is that you can have 15 minutes to sit still and relax. It is not required for you to move in that time. Can you do that?” And I said: “Yes, let’s try it!”
My first session was much easier than I expected it. Because the entire purpose was to sit down and relax, I was able to sit down and relax. I could to let go.
Meditation is a tool that you can use to find your middle. Don’t worry when there is no middle at the beginning. You just started out and you need to learn this. I am nowhere perfect either. I wasn’t able to have a centered thought for the last couple of weeks. When I sit down and meditate I can feel how much I’m drawn towards a thing that is currently on my mind. I try to concentrate on myself, but all I can think of is that other thing. What I want to say is, things change. It is not always perfect. Some days you have the entire session for yourself, some days you don’t. It is actually healthy to realize the busy days, because they are indeed busy. How are you supposed to calm yourself to a monk-like state when there are so many things going on in your life?
“Nothingness” is not permanent. It is something that exists temporarily, but it exists long enough to have an effect on other things in life.