Tasting the Nothingness of Our Times

Part of the Via Negativa and the Dark Night of the Soul is a deep tasting of Nothingness.  I think many of us are tasting Nothingness today in the face of an unhinged Supreme Court beholden as it is to Opus Dei, the Koch brothers and the NRA. 

Gazing into the void of nothingness. Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash.

We should not run from this encounter with Nothingness. Nothingness is part of the deeper spiritual experience.

On June 14 we devoted a DM to this topic, how Thomas Merton and Meister Eckhart both address Suffering and Nothingness while discussing the “spark of the soul.”   And Hafiz speaks of Nothingness in a poem we shared recently.  

Repeated blows from the unsupreme court decisions released in the past ten days bring up the Nothingness reality anew. 

One feels almost helpless in taking in decisions that give government rights over the bodies of women and girls—including the 10-year-old in Ohio who was raped and recently had to flee her state to seek an abortion—and throw out a 49-year-old constitutional right to do so. 

How many other similar mad stories will play out thanks to the witch-burning admirers on the supreme court who just signed off on a document that tells women and girls that they, six judges on the supreme court, have the right to demand girls and women bring all fetuses to term because they say so?  (Not because the Constitution says so—because it does not.)

The case of the 10-year-old girl forced to flee to another state for an abortion made headlines worldwide. WION, from India.

Or the radical decision to hasten the killing of mother earth, our mother, by gutting the EPA of its rights to challenge the industrial polluters and fossil fuel engines of our culture.  An advance of matricide therefore. 

The Koch brothers are rejoicing (one has already left earth and facing his maker as they say; Dante would have made a special place in hell for him) and other fossil fuel magnates will get even richer; maybe Joe Manchin and his coal-based business enterprise is rejoicing too.  But future children choking on bad air and responding to more drought and fires on the one hand and more floods and hurricanes on the other, and food shortages galore, not so much.

Or the arrogant decision to throw out a 111-year-old law in New York state that limits the rights of gun owners to carry their guns wherever they wish even in crowded cities, subways and the rest.  Sounds like an invitation to…you know what.

Leah Litman and Adam Serwer join MSNBC’s Mehdi Hassan to discuss Supreme Court plans to take up a case that could give state legislatures essentially unchecked power over the outcome of federal elections.

The “leader” of the new majority, the spouse of insurrectionist Ginni (“there are no rules in war”) Thomas, actually invited new lawsuits so that the current court in its infinite wisdom can challenge gay marriage and contraception on the same basis that they challenged Roe v Wade.  It seems this court sees itself as bedroom police rather than as impartial jurists.

The same court is eagerly committed to take up next year the topic of letting state legislatures decide national elections (just like the last president tried to do this year but failed).

Yes, there is lots of nothingness on our tables at this time.  

To be continued


See Matthew Fox, “Kenosis” and “Sinking into Nothingness and Letting Nothingness Be Nothingness,” in Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 140-156.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Lost hope.” Photo by akaTman on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Are you tasting Deep Nothingness at this time?  Have you tasted it in previous occasions?  Are you learning and have you learned to let Nothingness be nothingness?


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14 thoughts on “Tasting the Nothingness of Our Times”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today I’m going to answer your Queries for Contemplation, but only partially. So here goes: “Are you tasting Deep Nothingness at this time?” The short answer is , “Yes.” And I recognize nothingness in the Via Negativa and in the Dark Night of the Soul, but I also recognize nothingness in death. You mentioned this in your comment to Jeanette yesterday–that is the connection between nothingness and the loss of death. Jeanette lost a sister drummer who took her own life. Of all the losses I have faced, that was nearly more than I could deal with, was the death of my daughter-in-law, who left a one year old son behind. In working with the dying and grieving for nearly 40 years, I have found pain and suffering, but I have also found there: darkness, silence, stillness, and aloneness (we all die alone). As I write this, it is 1:03 a.m. and when I am finished writing I have to go across the street to check if my neighbor, who is dying, has died. She said she thought this could be the night, and I told her I would check on her before I went to bed. The greatest possible nothingness for me is death. I watched a man two weeks ago make use of what his physician gave him to commit suicide. He said he wanted me there, and I said I took that as an honor. We talked before of what might or might not be when he made his transition–heaven or nothing. I told him that if it was nothing, we would never know it. He took the “medicine” and closed his eyes, and I wondered what he saw behind those eye lids–if anything. In all of these experiences I have tasted nothingness. You ask, “Are you learning, and have you learned, to let Nothingness be nothingness?” Yes, because that is a part of the letting go and letting be of the Via Negativa.

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    Being a unitive matrix (luminous web) in which all things consist and cohere, God (Spirit) and God-identity are nothing. That is, they are no-thing, and they are no-place and no-person as well. That’s because this matrix forms the hidden identity of All things, and is therefore in All places (it’s non-local), and in All persons everywhere. And all things are not only in It, but It is seamlessly co-present in them equally. As incarnate expressions of same, all things ARE It at root, Spirt appearing (in drag) in a variety of standalone-appearing persons, places, and things. As in nature, each is less the individual tree than than the forested matrix it abides in, less the individual wave than the ocean that it rises from and sinks into again. Every-thing that exists in space-time bubbles forth from it, is sustained and maintained by it for a season, and is sucked back into it again. Meaning, all things are Spirit-breathed in the exhalation/inhalation, diastole/systole rhythms by the sacred lungs and heart of the universe. So all that initially appeared to the illusory veil of separation-consciousness as number and multiplicity, is revealed in unitive consciousness as One in essence, floating like so much flotsam in a sea of Spirit that gives it life, breath, and being. Spirit also modifies and transforms them in their earthly existence, loans them to the space-time field (breathes, bleeds, or dreams itself into it), reforming and conforming them to itself, then sovereignly harvesting or taking them away again. To be sucked back (born) into the vacuum state of this hidden implicate order (no-thingness) is to become an awakened citizen of that order, wholly delivered from the evils, perils, imperfections, tedium’s, terrors, multiplicities, endless sufferings, and unreconciled contraries of their ordinary existence in space-time. This extraordinary deliverance occurs not so much to bemoan, fix, change, brood uponor grieve the faulty conditions of the latter, as to rejoice in the former, singly as a wave, and collectively as a community of waves created anew in God’s kingdom of eternal oceanic consciousness.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The journey into nothingness… at first, tastes bitter… however as one lets go and lets be… this nothingness then tastes like sweet surrender. It tastes bitter, in the beginning… because we grasp attempting to hold onto something… we resist, clinging to our attachments… we wrestle with all the seemingly paradoxal and contradicting dualities… until we find ourselves to have grown so very tired and weary from the struggle. This nothingness tastes bitter… for it is here that we FEEL the pain… the deep wounding within our soul. There are no more words, no more tears… but rather only the gutteral groans… an anguished plea to have this thorn taken from thee… for this cup to pass you by. Your entire being contracts and constricts as all of the oppressed and suppressed energy of pain implodes within the center of your heart and then explodes… as you let it all go. In that Holy instant moment of self emptying… you begin to taste nothingness as sweet surrender… that still point, where mercy and misery have met and kissed.

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      Jeanette Metler

      This kiss of nothingness… is one breath uniting with another… it is to breathe together… it is to share the same Spirit… it is surrendering to the sweetness of this sacred exchange of being… birthing this Onening.

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    Nothingness is another expression for the dark night of the soul and suffering humanity that we are all experiencing again in these contemporary very difficult and challenging times. These universal themes of the spiritual journeys of our evolving eternal souls include the faith/trust that many good people have had throughout human history (especially the mystics, saints, prophets, shamans, and lightworkers) to the present day that God’s Spirit of Love~Light(Wisdom)~Peace~Justice~Life~Creativity~Beauty~Joy~Compassionate Oneness… is always within/through/among us, (even in our seeming aloneness, darkness, nothingness), healing, purifying, guiding, strengthening, transforming us compassionately and mercifully… our eternal loving spiritual journeys in our unique heart consciousness of Being and becoming Beloved Cosmic Christ in God’s co-Creation~Evolution….
    ?❤️?

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      Same here. It’s why I’m visiting the comments.
      “LORD God have mercy, guide and protect us in this broken, violent world.”
      Thank you. It certainly bore repeating. This time with a deep breath and wiped eyes.

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    These Meditations inform us wisely of the wretchedness of the unsupreme court conceived by Opus Dei and brought to term by Donald Trump. For theses Meditations I am grateful.
    The concept of “ Nothingness” does disturb me as it does others in the physical sciences as an example. I don’t mean to go contrary to Eckhart and Merton only the idea of nothing or of empty is impossible to conceptualize. The words negate concepts. I do believe it is better placed in the realm of feelings. I have felt empty when I lost my dear wife. But even then I wasn’t truly empty. The act of discarding in the material realm might leave the house without appointments but it sill isn’t empty. There is air and dust and like matter that remain. The same act in the spiritual realm places us in a new location. Where, if only for a moment , we meet our Spark who fills that space. After that encounter we are never the same. So, I understand the intent behind the words as use buy theologians but the concept eludes me for the reasons stated above.

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    I have tasted deep nothingness quite profoundly on a personal basis and now on a community basis. The current need is to let go of all my illusions/delusions about what this nation is and what it stands for. And to recognize that we are now experiencing what so many in the world have suffered and do suffer now: that there is no protection in the “law”, the social contract has completely broken down (if it ever existed at all). I am not an historian, but it seems as if for most of time, most people have existed in some kind of slavery or indenture-ship, whether it is overt or not. I think that this nation was a grand experiment that has failed, at least for the moment. Watching “Hamilton”, I can see that tensions were clearly present from the beginning. It is a good reminder that it is not wise to put our trust in fallible institutions, and it is–or should be–a humbling experience. But that is no excuse for passivity. I think we still need to shine our lamps that don’t need oil. The “evil-doers” have gone too far, or maybe not–we cannot control that–but we can be bellows for one another and keep our sparks alive.

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      Well said, Sue. This is why much of the country is fighting so hard against the 1619 project and other writings that reveal the part of this country’s history that has been hidden for so long. If Americans could look at the country’s actual history, there would be a chance for redemption and a move to a more just country. Without facing the truth that is impossible. I take some heart in seeing how Germany faced its terrible past and having faced it have become a more just country. Unfortunately, that honest evaluation appears to be eroding there now and has never existed here. May it begin here.

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      Sue, may I quote you and post your statement on Facebook? I will check back here and see if that’s okay with you. This is why much of the country is fighting so hard against the 1619 project and other writings that reveal the part of this country’s history that has been hidden for so long. If Americans could look at the country’s actual history, there would be a chance for redemption and a move to a more just country. Without facing the truth that is impossible. I take some heart in seeing how Germany faced its terrible past and having faced it have become a more just country. Unfortunately, that honest evaluation appears to be eroding there now and has never existed here. May it begin here.

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    I attended a Webinar today sponsored by the Creation Spirituality Community (CSC) – Monthly Creation in Crisis Webinar. The presenter was the internationally recognized environmentalist Michael Dowd. It was very sobering and informative. The second part of his presentation will be on August 4. He recommended an important website – postdoom.com
    ?❤️?

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      Thank you Damian for postdoom.com I’ve just been exploring it and wow is this helpful. I come here to listen and learn from Matthew’s and his daily DM and this community. You all bring me much needed comfort and community, soul nourishment, and help with my continuing spiritual education and studies. I have such a deep appreciation for this community. I’m contemplating nothingness. I feel a resonance with each one of your comments. For me personally, when I have experienced nothingness, Jeanette said it best “In that Holy instant moment of self emptying… you begin to taste nothingness as sweet surrender… that still point, where mercy and misery have met and kissed”, that is an emptying where there is only oneing. What a release that is, and a liberation and union all at the same time. That has been my experience of nothingness. Yet at the same time I absolutely agree with Patrick “Trying to make sense of utter nonsense is impossible for us! LORD God have mercy, guide and protect us in this broken, violent world.” These are the landscapes we are living in these days.

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