The first question:
In wanting to know who I am I often feel in a space of nothingness. In one way it scares me, in the other it feels fulfilling. I feel both all and nothing. How to feel one or the other? And where does the distinction lie between a vacuum – that space of neither past, present or future – and a dead space?
The first indication of a right, positive nothingness is that it will be paradoxical. It will be felt as all and nothing, both simultaneously. Then it is alive. All that is alive is paradoxical; only that which is dead is logical. Logic is applicable only to dead things; logic has nothing to say about life. Life transcends logic. Life is basically illogical. That’s what I mean by calling it paradoxical: it contains its own opposite.
Hence it is a good indication that you feel both all and nothing. If you feel just nothing, then it is a dead space; if you just feel all, then it is all imagination. When you feel both, it is neither dead space nor pure projection; it is something authentically true.
Whenever you will feel all and nothing together, naturally, on the one hand you will feel scared because of nothingness, because nothingness looks like death…. It is death; death of the ego, death of all that you have known up to now as yourself. It is a total discontinuity with the past; hence fear arises. You are losing your identity, and that is the greatest crisis in life. One wants to cling to one’s identity; at least one knows who one is. Even though that identity was nothing but hell, still you would like to cling to it. At least it was something tangible. Now all tangibles are disappearing and all that you have known about yourself is evaporating. A great fear grips you. It seems as if you are going to die. It is natural to feel scared.
But you also feel, on the other hand, deeply fulfilled, because it is death and resurrection, crucifixion and resurrection. When you are ready to lose your old identity you are born anew. A new life starts pulsating, a new heart starts beating. As an ego you disappear, but you appear as part of the whole, of the immense vastness, of the totality.