Waiting and the experience of nothingness
Sometimes I don’t have anything to write about, so I just sit and decide to just start to see what happens…like now for instance. I guess it is a form of waiting, the time between one event an another where there is ‘nothing’ pressing, no need to do anything, just wait. Sometimes waiting is pleasant, at others it is filled with a ‘nothingness’ that is heavy to endure. Like waiting in a large room with nothing their but one chair and only surrounded by gloom. A dullness that clouds the mind and can either cause it to wander, or to almost shut down as it sinks into numbness that can cause the seconds to become even slower.
There is always some sort of waiting is there not? Perhaps courses need to be given to show people how to wait and to be able to use that time wisely. It is not so much about doing something, but in how inactivity can be brought to some sort of enriching experience. Often when I am in doctor’s office and the wait is a long one, I notice that some people have their eyes closed. Are they sleeping or meditating, or perhaps a bit of both? Readers are lucky. A novel to get lost in can cause the hours to fly by. Or to read something that causes one to think can make waiting an enriching experience. Some read and pray, perhaps it could be called ‘Lectio Divina’; the practice of simply reading and allowing the words to do their work as they are gently and slowly read. Depending on what belief system one follows, this experience of communion with the Eternal can be give different names. For the Christian it would be called being open to the Holy Spirit.
Yet even then, if the wait is long enough, it can drag one down into a place of body and mind numbing boredom. I often bring up the play “Waiting for Godot”, which brings out this experience of waiting for ‘something’. It is a boring play; it is supposed to be, depicting the often modern experience of well, just waiting. Some people, perhaps many in their lives, wait without hope of any kind. Existence without hope can be unbearable I believe. Perhaps that is why there is so much addiction of many types. Some addictions are more acceptable than others, though just as harmful in the long run. Yet addictive behavior is a coping, even if it is not done well.
Problem with addictions, after a while they can make the waiting even worse, leading to more destructive ways to escape a reality that is filled with ….well….nothing at all. For some, in this world of the experience of ‘Nothingness”, is just the waiting room for the entering into a ‘non-state’ for eternity, or so they believe… non-being being our true home…as if all of our lives we simply dance over an eternal abyss of absolute, total, unforgiving, all embracing annihilation.
Of course, what if this ‘No-Thing-Ness’ was in reality the sum total of all that is and even more, something in which no idol or thought can fathom. We live in a strange realm, where we constantly ask, seek, and find, yet in the finding if we don’t go deeper into the mystery; we get stuck with an idol that has to die….then what? Well we go deeper still. I believe that atheism is like many forms of religion a cop out in the end. Being an atheist to my way of thinking does away with a lot of questions…..it is just the way things are, no matter how bad, it is all we got. Yet in the end it does not work. For nothing in this world seems to help us, or fill us, or make us content for long…..we are called to something more…….could it be that what we seek is a relationship with what can only fill our seeming infinite capacity to seek happiness and love…..is this what is called God, but often made into some form of childish idol?
Each journey is unique, lived once,
a difficult journey no matter our pretensions otherwise,
we do choose in the end, we are freer than we are led to believe,
our burden and our glory this cross we bear, this awful freedom.