In yesterday’s DM, we meditated on the important mystical experience called tasting Nothingness. Nothingness has been served up in generous proportions by the flood of ugly and mean and dangerous and “embarrassing” decisions released by the unsupreme court the past ten days.
Many people are feeling deeply depressed by the goings on, including the Jan 6 commission which, while doing its job faithfully and professionally, is unveiling truths about our past government that are painful to learn about. How a president, still cheered on by many, personally conspired and acted and invited thugs to a sacred ritual to certify votes cast by hundreds of millions of Americans and knew they were armed and dangerous but, because “they will not harm me,” encouraged and wanted to join them in the insurrectionist rampage that killed five people, injured hundreds and sought to kill a vice president and speaker of the house.
And it is this individual who appointed the three most recent members of the supreme court. When he goes to prison for his lies and crimes, might that in some way invalidate their presence on the court?
Nothingness is part of the mystical journey that empties us. Christians call it kenosis and also the way of the cross. There is much to learn from our encounter with Nothingness. It is integral to experiences of suffering.
Slaves tasted it. Their descendants in Jim Crow times tasted it.
Indigenous peoples having their culture ripped from them tasted it.
Women taste it on a regular basis—so much so that Carol Christ reports that “women’s experiences of nothingness begin at birth and continue throughout their lives.”
And now many Americans are tasting it as we watch our democracy melt in front of our eyes.
What is the mystical teaching about Nothingness? There is hidden some wisdom within Nothingness. Thomas Merton called it “the golden zero.”
Gandhi said that to be active in the struggle for justice, you must prepare yourself “for mountains of Suffering” and that “if you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth, you must reduce yourself to a zero.”
Indeed, he says that “true individuality consists in reducing oneself to zero. The secret of life is selfless service.” Nothingness is often part of our deepest callings and vocations. Gandhi says: “The highest ideal for us is to become free from attachment.” to be continued
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 148-156.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Police guard barricades at the U.S. Supreme Court on the day Roe v. Wade is overturned. Photo by Ted Eytan on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Have you had experiences of both personal nothingness and of social or political nothingness? How did these experiences transform you or light fires in you? How does it feed your vocation?