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Zero

ZERO

BRIAN ROCHE

Meditations on Nothing in Particular

For Marjorie,

Who cares, listens and understands

But also knows better!

Contents

0Zero

1One

2Two

3Nothing is Special

4Be a Dog

5Good News

6What is Mu?

7Just Sit!

8Silence

9Listen

10Stop

11Eat

12Garbage

13Chess Yoga

14Improvisation

15Read

0

Zero

Youll never sell a book that says the universe is a meaningless void.

(my ex-agent, 2007)

The universe is a meaningless void.

It is not an empty void, but rather one that holds all things.

Among all things there is no value, no meaning.

Rather than rushing to fill the void of meaninglessness

Why not just relax?

The weight of meaning on your shoulders is unbearable.

Why carry it?

Let your mind flutter like a butterfly,

Not landing anywhere for more than a moment

Some things seem important to you.

So what?!

Life is for living, and its really short.

How many full moons will you see?

Work could be a low priority, a necessary evil

Not your prime identity!

Have a cup of tea!

Play a leisurely game of chess, play some music.

Tend your garden, do your laundry.

IMPROVISE!

Eat and drink, get drunk.

MeditateSLEEP!

Read a good book.

Read a bad book.

Stop fussing!!

1

One

Existentialism actually makes me feel optimistic!

(Alan Alda, 2007)

EVERYTHING is an illusion.

Countless religious and spiritual movements start with this premise.

Its been said in many different ways, some very poetic, some not.

Everything is a dream

All is produced by the mind

Nothing exists

All things just appear and disappear

The universe is an illusion

All things are appearances

Etc.

To some, the idea is meaningless, to others it is everything.

It adds up to nothing in any case.

The concept includes everything, so nothing is left out!

You dont have to list everything you can think of; just think of everything and apply the idea.

(Meditation)

Sit and think of everything for a while (take your time).

Then, forget about everything and think about nothing.

2

Two

It takes two to tango

(some lonely Argentinean, 20th century)

Apparently, few, if any spiritual doctrines stop at Everything is an illusion.

Instead, they go on to say that behind this illusory dream lies an unfathomable IT. IT can be called God, Presence, Here and Now, Awareness, Pure Consciousness, Oneness, Eternal Love, Infinity, The Source, The Light, etc. ad nauseum.

Every name for This starts with a capital letter, as if to lend it some sort of gravity or legitimacy. They can use all the capitals they want; it wont change the fact that IT doesnt exist. IT is also a figment of your imagination.

Spiritual writers also love to say, IT cannot be spoken of or named. Then they go on to give it hundreds of names and they speak for 500 pages!

(Meditation)

The next time youre sitting quietly and you experience that feeling of oneness with the universe, KEEP GOING!!

Love, Oneness, God etc.. are merely sensations registering in your mind, like scenes in a movie. They dont actually exist. They appear to us just like fear, security, helplessness, kindness, compassion, hate even hunger and pain. You can react to them or not. Who cares? Well, maybe we do care. Well get to that later.

All of these ideas are also illusions!! So, we must (apparently) use the words apparent and apparently every now and then. The previous paragraph should read

Apparently, Love, Oneness, God etc. are merely sensations that appear to be occuring in your mind, like scenes in a movie. They dont actually exist, apparently.They appear to us just like fear, security, helplessness, kindness, compassion, hate even hunger and pain. You can react to them or not (apparently). Who cares? Well, apparently WE care. Well get to that later (apparently)

I know, its really cumbersome but it serves to remind us of the (apparent) idea that everything is apparent (apparently)

A fairly recent spiritual development is called Advaita, or rather Neo-Advaita (Advaita is ancient). Advaita means literally, Not-Two. Proponents of this doctrine also start with, Everything is an illusion. Although its not half as bad as Christianity or Islam, Advaita also falls into the trap of Oneness. In fact, John Greven wrote a whole book called, Oneness.

Neo-Advaitists stress that there is only Here and Now. Eckhart Tolle based a whole book on Here and Now. The problem is, there is no Here and there is no Now!!

They also like to say things like, Who are you? and You are That. That of course is the same infinite IT that was referred to earlier as This. (still with me?).

As soon as you say, This and That, you have two!

Advaitists also stress that you are not your ego, your body or your mind you just are.

Id concur with most of that but, as Sailor Bob Adamson points out, There is NO separate, so you might as well throw your body into the mix. Hell, you might as well throw your body into the river if its not you!

Imagine visiting an Advaidist doctor

You: I have a terrible pain in my stomach.

A.D.: Who is it that is experiencing pain?

You: I dont know. It just hurts like hell!

A.D.: You are that.

You: I think it might be my appendix.

A.D.: You are not your appendix etc. etc.

John Greven says you were not born and you dont die. Sounds awfully Christian to me. Whens your birthday, John?

Greven proves you are not your body by saying, If your feet were removed, would you still be? He continues this process until he gets to the head and then says, Now, you have reached your head. That is a tough one isnt it? Well come back to it. When he does get back to it, he says, lamely, When the brain is at rest, do you cease to be?

The brain is NEVER at rest. When you think the brain is at rest, its actually quite busy taking care of the rest of the body (all without you Ill admit).

Chop your head off (dont try this at home!) and you can kiss your ass goodbye.

Oddly enough, when you lose your head, awareness becomes a moot point (or maybe a mute point). When you die the dream is over.

Body, mind and dream all come to an end.

You die and nothing lives on. You die BECAUSE nothing lives on. Get it?!

Where Advaidists really slide into religious nonsense is when they say that Everything is One, no exceptions THEN they immediately go on to describe the false (versus the true?!), the real, the Real and the REALLY REAL!! THE ULTIMATE, LOVING, EVERLASTING PRESENCE. (You are that!). The idea that humans are at all involved in something infinite is, well, wishful at best; superstitious and dangerous at worst.

Not-Two (Advaita) does not necessarily point to One. For example, the number 9 (my personal favourite) is definitely not two. Come to think of it, every other number BUT two is not two.

Hence zero, I think, is a better pointer. It points at nothing.

0 just smacks of nothingness. Zero, starting, as it does, with the last letter of our alphabet, also implies a certain humility, which is (apparently) a good thing.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

(English nursery rhyme)

As a round, Row, Row, Row Your Boat can be seen as perpetual but the singers will all die at some point and when humanity finally goes extinct, I dont think the cockroaches will sing it. They dont like water!

3

Nothing is Special

Earth, stone, and gold are equal.

The cows, horses, dogs, and eaters of dogs are all equal.

As are friends, foes, the wicked, and those who judge them.

The world sustains all creatures.

(Bhagavad Gita, 500 B.C.)

Common to virtually every spiritual and religious doctrine is the idea that humans are something special. By extension, therefore, we must have been created by someone REALLY SPECIAL! It may be the one human trait that we can truly call universal. We fight wars over every other issue, but thats one point most people could probably agree on. Unfortunately there is no evidence to support it.

We have created a complete biological hierarchy that doesnt actually exist in nature. Humans that are brain dead are referred to as vegetables. All other humans are at the top of the heap (except certain minorities etc.). Most religious leaders and teachers just love to blather on about how humans are here to fulfill a special mission, a divine destiny etc. This belief in something special now runs from the ridiculous (God loves me) to the sublime (I AM God).

Few would hesitate to stamp on an earwig or slap a mosquito, yet whales and dolphins are approaching sacred!

Most monkeys, our closest relatives, are in prison.

The entire world of insects is divided into good and bad, harmful and helpful, friendly and unfriendly.

Traps are laid inside and outside of homes to kill a myriad of pests.

Viruses and bacteria are also labeled innocuous or harmful (to whom?).

There are actually people that put up bird feeders, and then shoot at the squirrels that feed from them!!

When most people gaze up at the stars, instead of feeling like meaningless little zits, they proclaim the Wonder of God. In the same breath they say, God must really love us, to have given us such a view. Then in the next breath God must love

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