Updated: May 8
Originally written September 18, 2017
Slightly edited and updated on May 8, 2020
Non-dual teachers often have practitioners direct attention back on itself to find its own source. However, as many have realized, no matter how hard we look, we cannot find who or what we are. The closest we can come, perhaps, is to notice the sense of being. At this point, we can infer that there is no thing there; just a Void; nothingness. There is no observer; no object of observation. Nothing. Zilch. Nothing to report. Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond. (In Sanskrit: Gaté, Gaté, Paragaté, Parasumgaté)
What we notice is that we are not objects called human beings; we are beingness itself. And yet, that beingness is utterly empty. And paradoxically, that utterly empty nothingness that 'we' are contains everything.
To paraphrase a famous poem:
The whole phenomenological universe is an illusion
Only nothingness is real
However [and this is key], nothingness is the whole phenomenological universe
A visual image comes to mind: that of a black hole. A black hole is an infinite singularity (How’s that for an oxymoron?), which cannot be observed directly. We can look and look for it; but we can never see it directly. It can only be inferred by observing the activity that seems to take place just around its ‘outer’ edges.
Now consider that physicists have hypothesized that when matter ‘falls’ into a black hole, no information is lost. Instead, at the event horizon itself is all the information ever to exist as part of the matter that has ‘fallen’ into the infinite singularity of that black hole.
And consider this as well: many physicists understand our universe as having been created from an infinite singularity (i.e., a black hole); one that, from this human perspective, appears to be expanding infinitely.
Thus, as some have hypothesized, all of reality which is perceived by and includes (apparently) conscious observing beings is nothing more than a hologram that exists at the ‘event horizon’ of the original infinite singularity (a black hole).
So what struck me was that the physics of the black hole is a metaphor (although not exact) for beingness itself. The void (nothingness, emptiness, what you are) is analogous to the black hole. It cannot be observed directly; only inferred.
Likewise, the sense of being is analogous to the event horizon. It is the “boundary” (so to speak) between that which cannot be observed (The Void) and that which is apparently observed, including the sense of being itself. But what is observed is nothing more than the ‘information’ that comprises the Void. In Buddhism, there is the saying: Form is Emptiness; Emptiness is Form. The hologram of reality is empty; it is the Void itself. But the Void IS the hologram of reality that comes into existence at the ‘boundary’ (pardon my using this word in this manner) that is the sense of being.
The metaphor breaks down (I assume; but cannot prove) because in physics, the black hole does not actually have a sense of being (or awareness of its own event horizon). (I'm glossing over the fact that in discussing this metaphor, I'm describing the black hole and phenomenological universe as though it were real. However, our perceptions of the universe and our awareness of the universe IS the same thing: the emptiness that is everything.)
But somehow, here we are having a perception of the universe as well as our own sense of being.
We are the event horizon, where, on one side (again, pardon my language) is the Void; and on the other side, is the hologram we call reality. But there really is no ‘one side’ or ‘the other side.’ There is just this. This is no thing and yet this contains everything (Form IS emptiness; emptiness IS form). And we are it.
Hows that for a circular wormhole!?!
More important, when we direct our attention to the sense of being or to the source of the "I thought", we are essentially allowing ourselves the opportunity to abide as beingness itself: infinite, boundless, and eternal, but from which life and consciousness is somehow experienced in the world of space/time.
There is just the event horizon of the sense of being and it contains nothing at all and it contains everything. It is just this. And we are it.