Tradition
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Being Nothing

Whosoever finds (Love), finds Nothing and All Things; that is also certain and true. But how finds he Nothing? Why, I will tell thee how. He that findeth it, findeth a Supernatural Supersensual Abyss, which hath no Ground or Byss to stand on, and where there is no Place to dwell in; and he findeth also Nothing is like unto it, and therefore it may fitly be compared to Nothing; for it is deeper than any Thing, and is as Nothing with Respect to All Things, forasmuch as it is not comprehensible by any of them. And because it is Nothing respectively, it is therefore free from All Things; and is that only Good, which a Man cannot express or utter what it is; there being Nothing to which it may be compared, to express it by.  Jacob Boehme

I am she who is not. And if I should claim to be anything of myself, I should be lying through my teeth! ... For you {God} alone are who you are, and whatever being I have and every other gift of mine I have from you, and you have given it all to me for love, not because it was my due.  St. Catherine of Sienna

The understanding, the memory and the will are in a fearful void, in nothingness. Love this immense void. Love this nothingness since the infinitude of God is in it.  Jean Pierre de Caussade

To live authentically is to live in the full awareness of the nothingness of one's self.  Heidegger

This greater part (of absolute divine Love) shows her her nothingness, naked without covering; such nakedness shows her the All Powerful through the goodness of divine righteousness. These showings make her deep, large, supreme, and sure. For they make her always naked, All and Nothing, as long as they hold her in their embrace.  Marguerite Porete

God is not something... God is beyond nothing and beyond something... God cannot be called "this" rather than "that".  Nicholas of Cusa

Student: There were men in the olden days who saw the face of God. Why don't they see it any more?
Rabbi: Because nowadays no one can stoop so low.

When I gazed at myself I saw myself no more.  Rumi

Till we see our nothing we cannot understand the value of our Being.  Traherne

It's not what you look like to others, nor your mirror-image, nor your ideas and memories. It's that shady nothing out of which the world is made.  Thomas Traherne

Jesus said: "What I now seem to be, that am I not. And so speak I, separating off the manhood."  Acts of John

Penetrate into the Centre of Nothingness. Creep as far as ever thou canst into the truth of thy Nothingness, and then nothing will disquiet thee. By this Gate thou must enter into the happy land of the living, where thou wilt find the greatest Good, the breadth of Love, the beauty of Justice, the straight line of equity and Righteousness and, in sum, every jot and tittle of Perfection.  Molinos

It had the biggest head you ever saw. A great enormous thing, - like nothing. A huge big -- well, like a -- I don't know -- like an enormous big nothing.  A.A. Milne, "Winnie The Pooh"

Become pure till you neither are nor have this or that; then you are omnipresent and, being neither this nor that, are all things.  Meister Eckhart

Things are all the same in God: they are God Himself.  Meister Eckhart

As long as I am this or that I am not all things.  Meister Eckhart

I am not in the world; the world is in Me.  D.E. Harding

O, the world's soul will never be united
with mine, till what appears outside me,
as though it always meant to be inside me,
delightedly alights in me.  Rilke

More, more! Is the cry of a mistaken soul; less than All cannot satisfy man.  Blake

To reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing
To come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing  St. John of the Cross

There is a very pure and indefinite and complete conviction that God is everything, and that nothing else is worth having.  Dom John Chapman

How cometh it to pass
that into such as me
Floweth Almighty God,
into one drop of the sea?  Angelus Silesius

All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.  Ramana Mahrarshi

Man as he now is has ceased to be the All. But when he ceases to be an individual, he raises himself again and penetrates the whole world.  Plotinus

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you - nobody - too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd banish us - you know!

How dreary - to be - somebody!
How public - like a frog -
To tell your name - the livelong June -
To an admiring bog!  Emily Dickinson

Have you ever felt like nobody?
Just a tiny speck of air,
When everyone's around you
And you are just not there.  Karen, aged 9

Pooh got up slowly and began to look for himself.  A.A. Milne, "The House At Pooh Corner"

I have a house where I go
Where no-one can be.  A.A. Milne, "Now We Are Seven"

The more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn't there.  A.A. Milne, "The House At Pooh Corner"

"Hullo, Piglet," he said. "I thought you were out."
"No," said Piglet, "it's you who were out, Pooh."
"So it was," said Pooh, "I knew one of us was."  A.A. Milne, "The House At Pooh Corner"

"Is anybody at home?" called out Pooh very loudly.
"No." said a voice.
"Bother." Said Pooh. "Isn't there anybody here at all?"
"Nobody."  A.A. Milne, "Winnie The Pooh"

"But this is Me." Said Bear, very much surprised.
"What sort of Me?"
"Pooh Bear."
"Are you sure?" said Rabbit.  A.A. Milne, "Winnie The Pooh"

"Hullo Rabbit," he said, "is that you?"
"Let's pretend it isn't," said Rabbit, "and see what happens."
"I've got a message for you."
"I'll give it to him."  A.A. Milne, "Winnie The Pooh"

At one of the great Court banquets where everyone sat according to his rank while awaiting the appearance of the King, a plain, shabbily dressed man entered the hall and took a seat above everyone else. His boldness angered the Prime Minister who demanded that he identify himself and acknowledge if he were a vizier. The stranger replied that he ranked above a vizier. The astonished Prime Minister then asked if he were a prime minister. Again the man replied that he was above that position. When asked if he were the King himself he answered that he was above that too. "Then you must be a Prophet", declared the Prime Minister; to which the man again asserted that he ranked above that position. Angrily, the Prime Minister shouted, "Are you then God?" to which the man calmly replied, "I am above that too". Contemptuously, the Prime Minister declared, "There is nothing above God". In reply the man said, "Now you know my identity. That nothing is me".  A. Reza Arasteh, "Rumi The Persian"

I've been freed from the self that pretends to be someone, and in becoming no one, I begin to live. It is worthwhile dying, to find out what life is.  T.S. Eliot

And when there was no longer a place for him on the boards, he would become the candle snuffer, the man who lights them and then, at the end, puts them out one by one. But since he'd know all the parts, they would take him on as prompter: his voice would be, as it were, in all the voices. He was overcome with a feverish joy at the thought of being in one instant so many people living out so many adventures. Little Lazarus had no limits; and it was in vain that he gave a friendly smile to his own reflection, which came back to him from a bit of mirror stuck between two beams, for he had no specific shape. He possessed a thousand shapes. Marguerite Yourcenar, "Two Lives and a Dream"

It is its nature to be natureless.  Meister Eckhart

This affair is like the bright sun in the blue sky, shining clearly, changeless and motionless, without diminishing or increasing. It shines everywhere in the daily activities of everyone, appearing in everything. Though you try to grasp it, you cannot get it; though you try to abandon it, it always remains. It is vast and unobstructed, utterly empty. Like a gourd floating on water, it cannot be reined in or held down. Since ancient times, when good people of the Path have attained this, they've appeared and disappeared in the sea of birth and death, able to use it fully. There is no deficit or surplus: like cutting up sandalwood, each piece is it.  Ta-hui

Often one flies just for the excitement of speed and power, but that's nothing. Any fool of a passenger gets it -- it's little more than a physical thrill. I want to fly for the sake of the flash of seeing that comes now and then -- almost as if one died bodily, and escaped from oneself, and saw out on the other side. But I can't tell you what it is I see. I can't even remember it myself. It will be the same with you. Some day the kind of exaltation you told me of, that comes to you after days and days of thought, will suddenly become more than it has ever been before -- and you will see. Then you'll come back, just as I come back to earth, and you won't be able to tell what you've seen -- or remember it. But the thing you can't describe and can't remember will be the whole of life to you. Sometimes you'll call it God, and sometimes you'll feel that it's nothingness, and that you've given up your life to nothingness. And in what way you'll reach it, I don't know. Maybe through solitude. I doubt it. I believe you'll find what you're looking for in the world, not in withdrawing from it.  Charles Morgan, (A pilot speaking to a scholar.) "The Fountain"

We ask to be no-one and nothing. For, as long as we are someone, we are not complete."  Shaykh Nazim Al-Haqqani  

Your duty is to Be, and not be this or that. Ramana Maharshi

Two sensations stood out as peculiarly blissful in my childhood... The first has been alluded to: the awareness of things going by, impinging on my consciousness, and then, all beyond my control, sliding away toward their own destination and destiny. The traffic on Philadelphia Avenue was such; the sound of an engine and tires would swell like a gust of wind, the head- light beam would parabolically wheel about the papered walls of my little room, and then the lights and the sound would die, and that dangerous creature of combustion and momentum would be out of my life. To put myself to sleep, I would picture logs floating down a river and then over a waterfall, out of sight. Mailing letters, flushing a toilet, reading the last set of proofs-all have this sweetness of riddance. The second intimation of deep, cosmic joy, also already hinted at, is really a variation of the first; the sensation of shelter, of being out of the rain, but just out. I would lean close to the chill windowpane to hear the raindrops ticking on the other side; I would huddle under bushes until the rain penetrated; I loved doorways in a shower. On our side porch, it was my humble job, when it rained, to turn the wicker furniture with its seats to the wall, and in these porous woven caves I would crouch happy almost to tears, as the rain drummed on the porch rail and rattled the grape leaves of the arbor and touched my wicker shelter with a mist like a vain assault of an atomic army. In both species of delightful experience, the reader may notice, the experiencer is motionless, holding his breath as it were, and the things experienced are morally detached from him: there is nothing he can do, or ought to do, about the flow, the tumult. He is irresponsible, safe, and witnessing: the entire body, for these rapt moments, mimics the position of the essential self in its jungle of physiology, its moldering tangle of inheritance and circumstance. Early in his life, the child I once was sensed the guilt in things, inseparable from the pain, the competition: the sparrow dead on the lawn, the flies swatted on the porch, the impervious leer of the bully on the school playground. The burden of activity, of participation, must clearly be shouldered, and had its pleasures. But they were cruel pleasures. There was nothing cruel about crouching in a shelter and letting phenomena slide by: it was ecstasy. The essential self is innocent, and when it tastes its own innocence knows that it lives forever. If we keep utterly still, we can suffer no wear and tear, and will never die. John Updike, from A Soft Spring Night in Shillington.

I am a hole in a flute that the Christ's breath moves through. Listen to this music. Hafiz.

When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends... I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you... if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing - then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care, and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. Socrates (having just been sentenced to death). From Plato's Apology. 

"I am a man" is not natural. You are neither this nor that. Ramana Maharshi  

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