Philosophy? I Got Nuthin
Nothing is the absence of anything. Anything is something so nothing must be something if its anything. Wait, how can there be nothing if anything can be nothing making nothing something? If its something then there can be no true nothing because the minute you name it nothing it becomes something. Man this shit is so confusing. That makes it impossible to be nothing right? Then what in the hell is nothing? The search for nothing is how I began my journey of ultimate discovery to answer the ultimate philosophic conundrum, why is there something instead of nothing. This is where the scientific wedge splits apart the theory of creationists and the creationist concept argues how everything began. Both sides of the discussion agree that at first there was nothing but one side believes God created the world, and the other side claims an explosion occurred creating a ripple in the fabric of time creating matter. Phew, glad that’s cleared up! But wait, if there was nothing, where the hell did god come from or what caused the explosion. Where did the two colliding atoms come from? That only brings us back to nothing. Everyone agrees that before the universe existed there was…..nothing. Nothing is so powerful Jerry Seinfeld made a successful TV show about it. Sometimes nothing is everything. But I have nothing to hide, nothing to fear, and nothing to show for it so off I went on a spiritual journey to find nothing.
I think Socrates summed it up pretty good, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing” So for me to be truly wise that’s what I need to know. Nothing. Lots of people have nothing to say and say it all day long but I don’t want to get into politics here I want to concentrate on nothing. Some people spend years on such spiritual journeys and others find what they are looking for on a quick puddle jumper. My journey began with a needle. Many needles actually, it was during an intense session of meditation while receiving acupuncture that nothing first became clear. A clarification here, this wasn’t an actual journey, I never set out on a search of nothing but nothing has always been on my mind. In truth I believe the journey began with my first chemically induced trip. An LSD trip that is, the drug that enabled me to pursue practices such as astral projection and dimension diving. I don’t recommend LSD to anyone that would be unwise but it certainly did open my eyes and mind to things previously unseen. I learned many things during my years of hallucinogen experimentation, the most valuable being an ability to enter into a deep trancelike meditative state.
While under the influence of this mind bending drug I entered into meditations in which I successfully separated my mind from my physical being. I never astral projected to ethereal other worlds or experienced any alien abductions but I did find alternate states of my own self which sort of put my brain on hold as it rebooted leaving the cortex clear of bullshit clutter and effectively giving my occipital a lobe job, if only for a short time. I was a line cook at Windows On The World where orders came in as fast as a bumble bee’s in-flight sexual experience so meditating was extremely helpful, and I always “tranced out” a half hour before service helping me to reduce and often eliminate clutter leaving less room for mistakes in my orders. A very powerful tool meditating, and a practice I continued long after I stopped taking tabs of mind expanders.
It was very effective but restaurant work pace was so brutal it left me with many physical discomforts. So after a life of hard work in high pressure fast paced restaurants I developed a common condition amongst chefs, chronic back ache. I tried physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management therapy and an old favorite, opiates, self medication, and alcohol therapy but everything managed the pain only briefly. After years of frustrating attempt’s to control the pain I opted to go for acupuncture. My theory was the combination of pins, needles, and meditation would have a long lasting effect.
Brimming with optimistic vibes I went to see Dr. Khandro, a Tibetan acupuncturist at The Shambala Clinic in the basement of his Tibetan Holistic Center, or THC as its known around town. Dr. Khandro was a rather short man dressed more like a monk than a doctor, but he was Buddhist after all so I assumed that was the norm. When I addressed him as doctor he put up his hand, “In here I no doctor Khandro, I Kha. It is essential we break down any barrier set by title. For purpose of effective session we are equal in room here, onry Kha and JT. Prease, put on gown and come back in room with open mind.” I was given a full length smock to put on which was remarkably comfortable. I felt like I was living a chapter of the book Siddhartha but I did as I was told and returned with an open mind.
I sat in a chair awaiting Kha‘s return. With shaved head and beaming smile he walked back into the room and asked me to lay down on a table covered with a thin mattress. “You haff come to seek separation from your pain. I no eriminate pain, I separate pain from body and mind. It is important to have not only proper treatment with puncture but to have serene surrounding to make sure mind is clear.” He called to someone I had not yet met, “Shodra prease light some Santal incense and play some music for JT.” He placed his hands which were bigger than I expected over my head and squeezed lightly. “Mr. JT I canna feel much stress inside yaw head now. I prace punctures in pressure points and you lay back and relax” With that he began inserting small needles at different points on my head. First on the top of my cranium, then a colony of little pricks entered my temples. Each one gave a tiny pinch and after five minutes my head, forehead, and ears had morphed into reverse porcupine features. He continues pricking me on my shoulders, then put about a dozen in the bottom of each foot. I had never seen so many pricks in one place before. Strangely though, the pricks relaxed me. “Now JT, you lay back relax. Let your mind free you from pain. I will return to remove pricks when ready.”
Kha left the room and I felt sure that when he returned my pain would have been separated from my mind and body. All I had to do now was to relax completely and just make sure I don’t roll over and force the damn pricks deeper into my body. The Santal incense smelled awesome and filled the room with a pleasant light smoke, the lights were dim, and the music was like George Harrison or Ravi Shankar. Maybe both. I closed my eyes and began my regimen of meditation. There are many styles and methods of meditating and I damn near perfected mine. I concentrated on each part of my body beginning at the bottom of my feet moving upwards to each new part as soon as I felt it relax completely. It was about 20 minutes before I finally had every portion of my physical being relaxed and entered into total trance. Everything was soothing.
As I meditated I was separated from my physical self and transported into a stark white room with nothing in it at all. The floor, the ceiling, and three walls of blank, the fourth wall being a water-like curtain. I noticed the smallest blank spot in the center of the streaming curtain and proceeded to get up to inspect it. I was very curious what was on the other side and I tried to peek through. I could see nothing at all so I placed two fingers inside the blank spot and the feeling I got almost knocked me over. Not a physical feeling, but a sort of spiritual feeling. I was certain my fingers had just entered into another world or better yet another realm. I gently pulled at the opening and it separated easy allowing my entire hand, then my arm into this ether realm. The feeling was nothing I had ever felt before. I just knew something special was here in this bizarre minimalist space. I looked through the hole which by now had grown much larger. In that other realm was smoke, but not a noxious smoke, more like an almost friendly and enticing smoke. The thought of sticking my entire head through the hole pulled at me. Then Kha’s voice spoke, “Come in JT, you have found nothing.”