In Praise Of Nothing.


So the other day I was staring at the wall opposite to my cubicle, lost, I failed to notice that one of my colleagues was observing me.

While over lunch, this colleague of mine asked me what it was that I looking at, as he could really not decipher which code was I trying to break.

My response to his query was – “Nothing”, and I could see the look on his face go from inquisition to disappointment. I could sense the ramblings in his mind at that very moment  ‘may be something personal, maybe he doesn’t want to share it with me, maybe he is thinking about promotion‘.  But that was really not the case and I was actually thinking about – NOTHING.

I desperately wanted to tell him that I really was not thinking about anything, but could not conjure the words that would substantiate my claim.

You see, some people have the ability to just look at a wall for some time and really think of – NOTHING. And this nothing has got nothing to do with the latest fad of mindfulness or meditation. It’s a different kind of nothing. It’s the original nothing, it’s not taught or learnt by practicing mindfulness or meditation, it’s not a constrictive type of nothing where we force ourselves not to think about anything for a certain period of time. It’s the natural thing- the NOTHING in its most primitive and simple form.

This small conversation got me thinking- why do we always NEED to think all the time? Can’t we just think about absolutely nothing for sometime? Is it a sin to just stare at a wall and think of absolutely nothing? Are we really supposed to keep the engine running all the time? Is there no way by which we can turn it off and turn it back on when we need?

After some introspection I was finally able to classify the variousNOTHINGS ” that we encounter in life-

The Meditative Nothings – focusing on breath in and out, in and out.

The wife/girlfriend Nothings – Hey sweetheart what’s going on… nothing . And you should immediately know that you are in trouble.

The Mindfulness Nothings – That look on the face of sages or monks but often short lived for normal human beings.

The Average person and the most honest type of Nothings -And then there is this kind of nothing which is the original stuff and it’s like your brain really switches off. It is unplanned, not intended, it’s not even blissful as even that thought is not there. It’s not day dreaming , it’s not absent mindedness. It’s just “NOTHING”.

I feel, that this is the most naïve type of nothing – it has no grand plans of reducing your stress levels, nor does it have any intentions to bring any increase in one’s productivity. It has no mala fide intentions to outrun or outperform someone by accentuating your focus. It’s like a child who does not know the problems nor the struggles of the world, it has no intentions , it is pure in it’s natural state , no evil intentions, no great plans… just a full stop for some time.

This crude analysis leaves me struggling with a thought –  should we praise or frown upon someone who is deep lost in this state of “NOTHING” ?