Hi everybody, Interesting topic.
I will say I have experienced nothingness or maybe everything ness would be a better description. I had the privilege of being there at my brother in law's bedside as he was leaving this world. It is a long story, but I kneeled down to his bedside, eye level with him and we locked gazes. I lost the world around me. When I returned, and that is the only way I can describe it, I tried to stand. I was stiff and had a hard time moving. I made the comment to my sister that I really needed to do some exercise or something if kneeling down was going to make me that stiff. I felt like it had only been moments. She told me I had been kneeling in same position at his bedside for over an hour. I think of it often and I really don't know if it matters in the whole scheme of things but I do know that while I have no memory of anything in particular, the feeling afterward, the peacefulness I experienced was amazing.
I like the following - about transcending time - very much...It is said to be an ancient Sufi tale dating back to the Middle Ages.
Joseph Addison wrote about it and others among them Idries Shah referred to it.
SPARE TIME - Part Two
"This notion of Monsieur Malebranche is capable of some little explanation from what I have quoted out of Mr. Locke; for if our notion of time is produced by our reflecting on the succession of ideas in our mind, and this succession may be infinitely accelerated or retarded, it will follow that different beings may have different notions of the same parts of duration, according as their ideas, which we suppose are equally distinct in each of them, follow one another in a greater or less degree of rapidity.
There is a famous passage in the Alcoran, which looks as if Mahomet had been possessed of the notion we are now speaking of. It is there said that the Angel Gabriel took Mahomet out of his bed one morning to give him a sight of all things in the seven heavens, in paradise, and in hell, which the prophet took a distinct view of; and, after having held ninety thousand conferences with God, was brought back again to his bed. All this, says the Alcoran, was transacted in so small a space of time, that Mahomet at his return found his bed still warm, and took up an earthen pitcher, which was thrown down at the very instant that the Angel Gabriel carried him away, before the water was all spilt.
There is a very pretty story in the Turkish Tales, which relates to this passage of that famous impostor, and bears some affinity to the subject we are now upon. A sultan of Egypt, who was an infidel, used to laugh at this circumstance in Mahomet’s life, as what was altogether impossible and absurd: but conversing one day with a great doctor in the law, who had the gift of working miracles, the doctor told him he would quickly convince him of the truth of this passage in the history of Mahomet, if he would consent to do what he should desire of him. Upon this the sultan was directed to place himself by a huge tub of water, which he did accordingly; and as he stood by the tub amidst a circle of his great men, the holy man bade him plunge his head into the water and draw it up again. The king accordingly thrust his head into the water, and at the same time found himself at the foot of a mountain on the sea-shore. The king immediately began to rage against his doctor for this piece of treachery and witchcraft; but at length, knowing it was in vain to be angry, he set himself to think on proper methods for getting a livelihood in this strange country. Accordingly he applied himself to some people whom he saw at work in a neighbouring wood: these people conducted him to a town that stood at a little distance from the wood, where, after some adventures, he married a woman of great beauty and fortune. He lived with this woman so long that he had by her seven sons and seven daughters. He was afterwards reduced to great want, and forced to think of plying in the streets as a porter for his livelihood. One day as he was walking alone by the sea-side, being seized with many melancholy reflections upon his former and his present state of life, which had raised a fit of devotion in him, he threw off his clothes with a design to wash himself, according to the custom of the Mahometans, before he said his prayers.
After his first plunge into the sea, he no sooner raised his head above the water but he found himself standing by the side of the tub, with the great men of his court about him, and the holy man at his side. He immediately upbraided his teacher for having sent him on such a course of adventures, and betrayed him into so long a state of misery and servitude; but was wonderfully surprised when he heard that the state he talked of was only a dream and delusion; that he had not stirred from the place where he then stood; and that he had only dipped his head into the water, and immediately taken it out again.
The Mahometan doctor took this occasion of instructing the sultan that nothing was impossible with God; and that He, with whom a thousand years are but as one day, can, if He pleases, make a single day—nay, a single moment—appear to any of His creatures as a thousand years." http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2791/2791-h/2791-h.htm
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THE SECRET DOCTRINE vol. 1. p. 641
" No metaphysician or theosophist could demur to these truths, which are all embodied in esoteric teachings. There is a predestination in the geological life of our globe, as in the history, past and future, of races and nations. This is closely connected with what we call Karma and Western Pantheists, "Nemesis" and "Cycles." The law of evolution is now carrying us along the ascending arc of our cycle, when the effects will be once more re-merged into, and re-become the (now neutralized) causes, and all things affected by the former will have regained their original harmony. This will be the cycle of our special "Round," a moment in the duration of the great cycle, or the Mahayuga." http://www.phx-ult-lodge.org/SDVolume_I.htm
The Buddha said, "Nothing comes from nothing". If so, then even the emptiness of the absolute space, or primal beginning, must be something.
Otherwise, HPB could not have said that Absolute space may be empty of form, but it still must have the quality of both potential consciousness and matter -- as "abstract motion"... Which, in my view, can only be infinite spin momentum cycling around an empty zero-point of pure consciousness (potential awareness/will)... Both the Sufis' and Kabbalistic Chasidim's whirling dances are an expression of this knowledge (even though some of them use it to induce ecstatic trance states, in lieu of drugs ;-).
Thus, as HPB said, "Absolute Space is "both empty and full, one and many" -- which completely negates nihilism. And qualifies the Buddha's understanding of Sunyata (emptiness, void) as being something -- since it underlies everything.
So, experiencing nothingness, which is the state of pure consciousness itself (not its spin momentum) is as impossible as seeing our own eye without a mirror. It is said in the ancient scriptures, "you can approach the flame but you can never touch (i.e., experience) the fire."
To understand how it all began, and how experiential consciousness actually works, whether one is in or out of the body -- go to: http://dzyanmaster.wordpress.com/
And, remember! The information leading to the experience (awareness) of consciousness is always SOMETHING that is vibrating. ;-)
There just isn't a word that encompasses the experience that Mikhayl was alluding to. If you've been there you know what it is as soon as you see the word. It is beyond not-me-ness, into all-everythingness. All the books in the world can't teach you what smelling is, if you have no olfactory receptors. No matter how well it is described, the experience can't be explained, and then....it is labeled as something that cannot be experienced. A lot of theosophy goes that way too.