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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Running on empty

At the gym, I was doing single arm raises with a weight. The first round was hard. But Ali the Sadist increased the weight for round two. This was incredibly hard. In fact, after a few wobbly raises, impossible. He got me to keep switching arms doing one or two per arm before letting the torture end.

I folded forward, hands on knees, and just stood or hung or braced myself there.

Are you ok, the Sadist asked after a while.

I looked up and realised that for that recovery period I had been completely empty. There was nothing. No thoughts or memory or pain. Not even a sense of exhaustion. I'd just gone. Or my mind had been evacuated.

When I had talked to Ali before about meditation he'd said that he clears his mind by lifting heavy weights. I thought he meant it was like a stress release or like the state of flow and focus I get into when I am punching him in the boxing part of my session. I thought he didn't get it. The, well, no self thing.

Now, it's funny as I didn't really believe in no self. I thought there was always a perspective - that which is aware. But what about when, for a time, there is simply no awareness? I mean, I didn't lose consciousness, but I wasn't there. What's more, there was no there there. If you see what I mean.

Maybe this is another epistemic transformation.

Even so I remain skeptical of Annaka Harris's claim that there can be experience without an experiencer. In my state, there was no experience either.

In meditation afterwards, I tried to regain nothingness... but here's the thing... and it's like Sartre's view of absence which I have written about before: I couldn't find nothingness by removing all the things. I had to experience nothingness directly. It's not an absence of stuff but a presence of itself.

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