By Kevin Carrel Footer
Nothing, in spite of its bad press, is quite something – especially when compared to the alternatives. So many of the things that press around us filling our time and space are so bland and pointless that emptiness becomes a refuge. Emptiness at least has the virtue of being true while so many of the things that promise to fulfill us leave us barren and without hope.
Nothing is a thing like any other. Nothing can be a tangible state of vacuity through which one floats with differing degrees of desperation or exaltation. Nothing can be a void but it can also be an over-populated metropolis. It can be the splendid awareness of one’s being both a significant and insignificant part of the whole, no greater nor lesser than any of its parts.
Behind everything, after all, is a great, palpable nothingness – call it God if you like – against which all our busybodying is put in sharp relief.
To call nothing “nothing” is a great bit of mischief (like calling Iceland “Greenland” to fool the Vikings) when our greatest treasure is a deep awareness of the nothingness that surrounds us. Whether sitting on a mountaintop or lying awake in bed, making peace with nothingness, admitting its calming beauty, savoring its sound, enjoying its lightness in a world overwhelmed by doing, is to break free and have a proper appreciation of things. Basking in the voluptuousness of nothing is the last forbidden pleasure.
The moments of nothingness are the moments of my most complete happiness. When the pressures of the world are pushed back until they cease to exist and what is simply is. Admittedly, these moments don’t last as long as I would like, but it is then that I recognize the folly on which the rest of my life is predicated.
It does not matter how it is that you get there – through contemplation, prayer, long walks or mediation – the point is to get there, somehow.
Nothing is everything.
Thanks for sharing this piece Kevin, well expressed! I yearn for moments of “nothingness” – bliss – these busy days. I’m planning to create more space for “nothing” this Fall-Winter-Spring (“nothing on the road”) once my last young’un heads to college 🙂