Becoming Nothing

‘Become Nothing’

He didn’t use those exact words but that was the meaning of what he wrote. The words were suddenly there in the moment in my consciousness… and I knew they were right.

I had been reading a piece by Krishamurti – that fearless enemy of dogma, and proponent of the individual’s right to find their own spiritual path.

It does involve a certain amount of bravery – to contend with that feeling of ‘going against’ those of wisdom, those from whom we can learn, perhaps those of a tradition in which we were raised or trained. But that wasn’t Krishnamurti’s point; he didn’t deny anyone their well-found wisdom, rather, he urged each one of us to find our own… not second-hand knowledge. And to do that, the only way is to go out there and play with the universe; but play with a spirit of intent. And this is where it gets a little complex… until you see the whole of what he was saying…whereupon it gets very simple.

When you play with the universe, you do so in a way that stares in wonder at what you see. There’s a grown thing, covered in rust and tar and road rage; and it’s stuck onto our eyes, forming a film. This gritty, dirty, bitten lens imbues everything we try to see with its sticky waste. Staring in wonder at what you see is the cleaner that wipes the dirty grown thing from our eyes. For most, it happens in little stages, but there are some who ‘take the kingdom of heaven by storm’. They have a moment – a surging, brilliant moment that melts and washes what is keeping them from looking at the world, a universe that is alive and waiting to respond, personally, to their presence, their conversation, their love…

And when you find that relationship with what used to be ‘out there’ you will find that the primary desire of that sticky, dirty, bitten thing was always to change what was out there, because it wasn’t good enough – and having achieved that, to change it, again… and again….

The mind which knows only thought knows no rest.

‘Becoming nothing’ – what does it really mean? It is a mantra of power. It is a moment of revelation that alters our relationship to the whole of our lives. To reveal it via words would reduce the power of each of us being able to step through that mirror of self. It would rob the reader of the self-same experience. But this much can be said: that the word ‘nothing’ should not be the main focus until the rest is understood. What follows, then, is a journey of realisation that shifts who we are, and takes away its central power in our lives, leaving…

And you will have to fill in that space.

©️Stephen Tanham

Stephen Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit organisation that helps people find a personal path to a deeper place within their internal and external lives.

The Silent Eye provides home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised. The course materials and corresponding supervision are provided month by month without further commitment.

Steve’s personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at

You’ll find friends, poetry, literature and photography there…and some great guest posts on related topics.


#Silenti – A Rose Beyond Violence, part four

Jiddu Krishnamurti, (1895-1986) taken in 1929. Image source below


Krishnamurti was not afraid of the radical.

“The moment there is radical change in what we are,” he said. “we shall bring about peace in the world…”

It’s a very simple thing to say: change ourselves and we change the world. How could this be viewed as anything but fanciful? Physics would certainly not allow such a postulation. There is no provable, repeatable link between the ‘world’ and how a man or woman is, it would say. For this to be true a force would have to emanate from such a person and affect the whole universe…

For this to be true there would have to be something special about the link between ‘me’ in here, in my head, heart and body, and the world I truly inhabit; as though the world, itself, were ‘plastic’ and reflecting what ‘I’ truly am.  In modern terms, a strange notion, most likely delusional. “There is only one objective world out there!” science would boom, telling us that the path to that accurate level of perception was only available through the scientific method.

Just like priests used to do, with God…

And science has a point. If you begin by saying that the only things with solid reality are atoms and molecules, and their increasingly small children, then the mind, heart and body of mankind are subservient to this materiality. But mind invented science, and is now somewhat bemused by the depths of its logical findings – scary stuff such as Quantum theory, which says that material things only probably exist until we take a look at them…


So the very act of looking – dare we say, seeing, affects the ‘reality’ before us. And isn’t that a fair definition of a kind of plasticity? I’m not proposing for a moment that Quantum theory is the only such example… but it’s a good one!

We are on the trail of the roots of fear and violence. Those who came before scientists and who laid the foundations for the search for material accuracy–which was very much needed to rid ourselves of the superstitious nonsense so prevalent in the Aristotlean-dominated Western intelligentsia, did not expect that their mind-child would turn its teeth on the search for wholeness of mind,heart and body that their forbears held so dear.

But that is the nature of our ‘modern’ world. Our childhood is spent absorbing, and being praised for repeating, the standard scientific view. I am not a creationist. I think anyone who takes the Bible literally is an idiot. Science – wonderful, accurate science, does what it was supposed to do. But it has switched off our search for wholeness.

Teachers like Krishnamurti appear, time after time, to give it a kick and a nudge. What lies behind ‘my’ eyes created science to explain one aspect of our reality. But only one. The material is important, but our place within it is bigger than it…

So how can a radical change in ourselves bring about peace in the world?

The secret, said Krishnamurti, is Joy…

A ‘man’ who embraces a radical change in himself, by non-judgemental observation of that truth which walks the Earth with him, changes his relationship with the ‘out-there’. In so doing he finds reciprocation with a world  which has suddenly become very intimate and full of joy. This does not mean she does anything she likes. It means that joyful state drives actions which need no sense of personal history, because they are directed by an obviousness that only lives in the moment – the now.

To step into this world is, truly, to live somewhere new… in fact, somewhere eternally new.

We will consider this eternal newness in Part Five.

Previous Parts:

Part 1, Part Two, Part Three,

Picture source.


This is one of a series of postings related to topical issues in mysticism. They will all carry the hashtag #Silenti. Please feel free to reply or join in, using this hashtag.

©Copyright Stephen Tanham, 2016.