Location: Greece, Athens
Dear Francis, I don’t even know what I’m asking for, but I’ll try to put it into words and you might underestand my question better than me. When I’m looking to find myself I can’t find anything. I find a “nothingness” in which everything appears. I wouldn’t even call this empty space since it’s dimensionless. I can understand that or better: see that, if I look honestly. Seeing that does not give me peace though, I don’t feel that I’ve always been that (shouldn’t I?), and I don’t know if that nothingness is actually “me” since I feel alive and this seems dead, foreign to me. How can I know if what “perceives” is this nothingness? Does this no-thing do the perceiving? Can I verify it? Can I even have a taste of what makes perception possible or be sure of such things ever? Can nothingness perceive at all or am I telling myself another exotic oriental style story, just like the many stories we humans are telling ourselves? Might I be idolising the concept of “nothingness” and losing the facts? Can you point to me a way out of this dead end? I could try to express the question with more words, but it won’t make any difference I guess. How can I know that the “no-self” that I find is alive, or how can I know that there is life in me? Thank you very much for everything.
That in which everything appears is certainly not a nothingness. How could it be? You feel that way because you are trying to perceive it through the usual channels of perception, as a thought, a feeling or a sense perception; that is impossible, for that which perceives cannot be perceived objectively. When you try to do so, the mind projects a “nothingness”, a “blankness” which is still an object, a dead and foreign thing. Therefore that which perceives, that which you are, is not this nothingness. The way out of this dead end is the absolute certainty that there is an element of reality in your experience: even when you dream at night, there is something really happening, there is perceiving and perceiving is real. You are not making it up. How do you know that there is perceiving and that perceiving is real? Is it because you have learned it in school or because your parents have told you that such is the case? Obviously not. Therefore you must know it from some kind of experience, a kind of experience which doesn’t use the usual channels of perception. This experience is the way out of your dead end.