Imagine the emptiest existence. A life with no obligations. A life in which purpose and meaning aren’t defined. A life in which there are no ends, only means. A life which is devoid of other people. Does such an existence scare you? It scares me. So let’s tone it down. Your task for today is this: sit for eight hours and do nothing. Stay in the same position. Move as little as possible. Do it in a place that makes it impossible for you to talk to people and for people to talk to you. Deprive yourself of stimuli—put away phones, laptops, tablets. Strap on an eyemask. Mute all sounds, or plug your ears. Do nothing and be yourself.
Try it. It’s fucking hard. Because as soon as you begin the spirit rebels and the mind rails. Such a state is torturous for a modern soul. When I try to do this, I can’t help but see a chasm open up before me. A great hole in the ground that threatens to swallow up everything and all I hold dear. The incessant purpose with which I carry myself, the designs with which I toy, the ambitions with which I stoke my fires; it all disappears, slips away.
But I try, again and again and again, and I get better, and I get closer to that hole, to that chasm, to the seeming abyss. And the closer I get, the more I get the impression that the abyss isn’t so. Perhaps the black hole that we try so hard to avoid in our lives is not so sinister. Perhaps, it only looks dark because, from our position, we can’t see the light on the other side.
I don’t know. One day, if I jump in, I’ll let you know what’s on the other side. Maybe it’s something, maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s everything. From this far back I can’t tell.