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Something Out of Nothing

Café-Salon Philosophique #59

May 6, 2000

No. of Participants: 12

Topic of Discussion: "Something out of Nothing"

Samuel welcomed one and all to the Café gathering. Conversation began by once again "talking about" the "busy-ness" of people and how we are bombarded, confused and polluted by the world "to be somebody!"

"What is something?" "What is nothing?" Nothing could be described as "silence," "invisibility," something that can not be captured. Something which is not yet in form. Something can be our "ideas, inventions, beliefs" brought into form. We learn to shape, sculpt and form the matter. Anything from "nothing" can be made into "something" - even words!

Hal said, "We acquire things, but really acquire nothing." THINK ABOUT THAT. Is accumulation of materials goods, money and power the real "something?"

Eli thinks, "Something is the way we define and compare our selves, in the world with others." We learn "we have to be somebody," and be better than the other. We don't want to be a "nobody!" What is a somebody? A nobody?

Why do we justify "who we are," or place importance of self worth through the accumulation of things? Damien says, "People don't know how to exist without identifying themselves with objects." "We think if we don't have terms, then, we can't imagine something existing because we use objects instead of seeing the light," he added.

Samuel then had Damien do a small exercise. Damien was to look at Eli and describe what he was seeing. He had a hard time putting into words what he was "seeing." He was trying to describe "seeing" consciousness. Floyd then asked to look at Samuel. He was pleading for Samuel to tell him "who he was." Damien answered, "a mirror."

Next question, "So, how do we make something out of nothing?" Mabel stated that she has a need to "label and categorize" things in order to make life meaningful and with purpose." Jeff the Scientist described how "we are formed from nothing and come into being and go back to nothing." "We are atoms, molecules, waves, and energy formed into mass." He used the metaphor of "how are brains are too cluttered," and we need to "clean out a room" in our brains, so that we might experience emptiness and presence.

Mark thinks, "Things are things because of fear." Carla says, "We make up our own realities. When we relate person to person, we are sharing our experiences. My world is relating to your world. That is what we do. All we need to do is just be." Mable says, "That sounds nice and easy, but, we can get caught up in our own beliefs, ideas, attitudes." "We then shut off and don't really listen, see or hear how the other person is trying to relate with us.

Next question, "What is nothingness?"

Someone asked, "Is it simpleness?" Harold remarked, "It seems like even though things are happening, nothing is happening." What are we searching for in this life? What are we seeking to find? Supposedly we can find comfort and the answer in the spoken word. Is this true?

Our attachment to "things" tends to limit us. We create obstacles and barriers in our thinking which limits us in how we perceive what life is. Attachment to things is built on fear, and we use persons, places or things as a false sense of security.

Attachment occurs because we fear separateness. For many, it is hard to spend time alone. Quiet time is almost unheard of. Being with one self in silence is not common place. We don't like being alone. We think we are going to "miss something" if we spend time alone with our selves. We attend meetings, work in and for organizations, talk on the phone to fill the void. This does not bring satisfaction.

We entertain ourselves with TV, the movies, music, computers, etc. Most of the time we are still "bored" with what we are being entertained by. We fight traffic, pay outrageous prices for tickets, food, souvenirs to be hassled, stressed, overstimulated by loud and noisy, "action packed" adventures. Then, we wonder why we are tired, worn out, etc.

We are constantly in motion unable to embrace the stillness. Floyd asked, "Why do we fear our selves in silence?" Because many people become very uncomfortable with the silence.

"Fear exists because people think, what if?" says Samuel. We fear separatedness. And even when we are together we are separate because we don't know how to be together. We don't know how to enjoy that which we are relating to.

If we really want to end the separateness, we have to drop the pretenses, the masks. We have to view the other as the self. See the reflection in the mirror. Know that the other has a right to life just as you do. Of course, some people choose to live more superficially than others. Those who deal with the superficial, artificial, don't dig below the surface, don't want to change or really know themselves anyway.

This leaves one missing knowing the "true self." When we think we are more intelligent than the other, when we believe we are right, and they are wrong, then we miss the point. That is when you don't know.

There is a Chinese saying which goes: "Those that say don't know, and those who know don't say."

It is more comfortable for people to stay stuck in "a groove." If something new is offered, most people want to know, what is it? Some people will try it, and others it depends on what it is before they try it. Others don't want to have anything to do with it.

Mable says people don't want to change because they fear "losing them selves." What is "losing your self?" Eli thinks people don't want to change for the opposite reason. People don't want to "fuse" together. In oneness, there is the fear of losing something. What is it?

Samuel says, Life is "self made." Everything that we do in life is a choice. Every day, every moment we choose what we want to do. If you don't feel you have these choices, then you have given up your freedom somehow - to some one, some place, some time.

We all define our own realities. So what tools of the finite could we possibly use to describe the infinite? Peter says, "no body can define infinity." Mark, a former student of Samuel's says we can taste "infinity," though, through the form of the "Artistic Zero."

"Artistic Zero"

"There is a plumb line that passes through the top of the skull, down the spine, through the just-kissing heels, and on down into the center of the earth.

In "artistic zero," we stand sensing this imaginary line, breathing normally, eyes focused beyond the horizon. The caravan of thoughts goes by, but we pay no attention to it.

In "artistic zero," we do nothing at all. It is a standing meditation and the origin of all movement the place of stillness, empty listening.

Even when standing still and empty in zero, there is always movement in the body. If you let this movement take your weight in any direction, you will reach a point beyond which you will fall. This is an important place. It is your limit, your edge.

Each and every person is limited in many ways. Only when you know your limits will you know what it means to go beyond them. When you go beyond your limits, you can discover the unlimited. Limitations are doors to the unknown. Learn to know them intimately.

Stand in "artistic zero" and lean until you reach your edge. Now lean further still ... Discover what is beyond the limit ... A single step! That's all! That step stops the fall. The step is the beginning of something new the next movement."

(From "Facing the Mask: 10 Essays on Living Art - Artistic Zero, by Samuel Avital")

Life is self made folks! We have to work our selves out of the boxes and overcome the obstacles we've placed in our way. We must come to 100% of our senses. Re-acquaint our selves, and retrain the mind and body to think and do in new ways. In order to do this, we must make the time, and take the time to re-discover who we truly are. Explore the inner landscapes of our being. Find the place of silence and stillness within. Only then, will we be able to direct change.

Our thoughts create the Universe. Do you like what is happening? What do you think we could do to make a REAL change occur? What are you doing about it now?

Our next Café gathering will be held May 20, 2000 at the Boulder Bookstore located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO.

Start time is 6:30 p.m. Hope to see you then. Bring a new topic. Invite your friends!

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.