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Empty your Cup. And prepare for 2020 by understanding and embracing the power in the counter-intuitive concept of ‘No-Thingness’, which has traditionally been acknowledged as Shoonya in Indian philosophy

Bandana Tewari

As we enter December, the last month of 2019, let’s contemplate on emptying ourselves of all the life experiences we had this year — our pains and joys, our material gains and losses alike. This, in order to free up space and make room for new fulfilling experiences in 2020. This idea of emptying ourselves and creating a ‘vacuum’ in our ethereal lives may sound far-fetched. But ancient texts and modern-day science, have both grappled with this profound idea — this state of ‘nothingess’, in their own inimitable ways.

In India’s ancient texts, Shoonya is a philosophy in its own right. If you look at it numerically, Shoonya is simply Zero. Invented in India, zero has no measurable value but it adds exponential value to any number. On a literal level it means emptiness, devoid of matter or essence. But if you look at it philosophically, it is what many modern-day Indian seers have called Shoonya, a state of ‘no-thingness’. It is not the absence of things; hence it is not a negative notion; it is in fact a profound recognition of limitless presence. As Osho said, (when) “forms disappear, only the formless remains. Definitions disappear, the undefined remains.”

In 12th century Karnataka (India) when the Shiva Sharanas (mystics of the Shiva experience) flourished, Shiva signified awareness, universal awareness, “Shiva can assume forms, he can remain without form too” said a Sharana. That what is cosmically sacred, the source of our infinite potential, comes from a place of complete annihilation and silent surrender of the ego, which is a social construct of pain and habit.

In an era of transhumanism, where rapidly evolving technologies are enhancing our cognitive and physical abilities, where the ultimate aim of cyber implants and neural tech-interface is to live longer, what does an abstract notion of ‘no-thingness’ really mean? It is so counter-intuitive, it boggles the mind.

Shoonya is the spilling of one’s own consciousness into the vast limitless expanse of universal consciousness. The unit that is consumed by the whole; the Atma that is Brahma. As Osho explained, “Only nothingness can be infinite; somethingness is bound to be finite. Only out of nothingness is an infinite expanse of life, existence, possible - not out of somethingness. God is not somebody: He is nobody or, more correctly, nobodiness. God is not something: he is nothing or, even more correctly, no-thingness. He is a creative void.”

It (Shoonya) is not the absence of things; hence it is not a negative notion; it is in fact a profound recognition of limitless presence. As Osho said, (when) “forms disappear, only the formless remains. Definitions disappear, the undefined remains.”

It is no wonder that Shoonya or no-thingness, the cosmic void, is symbolised in age-old Vedic texts as Parambrahman, the formless spirit that is beyond description but is the ultimate basis of everything. As the Isha Ashram seer—Sadhguru said, “Modern cosmologists say that over ninety-nine percent of the cosmos is empty. Over ninety-nine percent of an atom is empty. Ninety-nine percent of existence is empty. This is what we refer to as Shoonya. As the life that you are, you have a choice: Either you can be a small creature in this vast emptiness, or you can be that emptiness which is the source of all creation.” So here is a call to empty ourselves.

This ‘void’ is a source of great scientific mystery, more so to physicists who use the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, where two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before they are made to collide — to find answers

In Discovery Magazine John Baez, a mathematical physicist at the University of California, says, “The vacuum is one of the places where our knowledge fizzles out and we’re left with all sorts of crazy-sounding ideas”. Quantum mechanics tells us today that “whether in the visionary search for the engine of cosmic expansion or the near-fruitless quest for perpetual free energy, the vacuum is where it’s happening. By mining the vacuum’s riches, a true theory of everything may yet emerge.” (Discovery Magazine)

This all-pervading ‘emptiness’ is the source of not just new ideas, but new spiritual horizons that manifests the universe, by your individual will, creating a continuum of eternity. Shoonya is Infinity. In Sanskrit, it is Sat, Chit, Ananda – truth, consciousness and bliss for you and everything around you.

I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.

The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath

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