Many of you may have heard or used the expression that a person is like an onion, with many layers. Remove one layer only to reveal another deeper and deeper layer.
But what happens when we remove all the layers, what is left? There is nothing left. Only perhaps the scent of the onion remains for awhile.
And what of my layers, what remains after all are peeled away? Only a memory of what you think was David.
If this sounds a bit lofty and obscure, I apologize. But I am trying to convey a thought about no-thingness in the best way that I can. I think Osho offered a fairly clear explanation of this when he said:
“Buddha has chosen one of the really very potential words – suññata. The English word, the English equivalent, “nothingness”, is not such a beautiful word. That’s why I would like to make it “no-thingness” – because the nothing is not just nothing, it is all. It is vibrant with all possibilities. It is potential, absolute potential. It is unmanifest yet, but it contains all.
In the beginning is nature, in the end is nature, so why in the middle do you make so much fuss? Why, in the middle, becoming so worried, so anxious, so ambitious – why create such despair? Nothingness to nothingness is the whole journey.” (also see Cula-suññata Sutta)
The gist of all this, that we continue to grasp at straws. Some little glimmer of permanence that we can view as solid or permanent. And this reality of impermanence always brings me back to no-self (anatta). Which I used to think was far too deep of a concept for my little brain to comprehend. But now feel that I have gained a clear and simple understanding. Think of it like this; is any thought something that anyone could define as you? What about any part of your physical body; is your nose who you are, your eyes, your lips, your ears? Try this exercise, and attempt to describe who you are. And really ask yourself if you have defined yourself exactly and completely. You should see two things. One, that it is impossible to put into words a complete definition of the self. And secondly, even at your best attempt, you should see that in the time it took to describe yourself, that everything has changed.
My observation here being that we could all probably do much better in being truly present, myself included. And in doing so, perhaps we begin to let go of these layers and attachments that we deem to be so valuable. Peeling away all of the layers of ignorance (avijja) reveals no-thingness. The essence of this moment that contains everything.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.