2137 Meditation on "I am nobody"


And the Lord, your God, will circumcise your heart, and the hearts of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord with all your heart and all your soul in order that you shall live.  Deut 30:6

One of the Jewish mystics' primary meditative methods parallels a method used by mystics the world over. It has to do with withdrawing from the world, finding a place of inner quiet, and letting go of one's sense of selfidentity. It is said that the heart has a covering of psychic material keeping us separated from inner chambers that are connected with the Divine. The sheath over the heart is called the ego identity. This meditation practice is used to circumcise the heart, so to speak, to clear away our personal sense of identity so that we can enter the state of nothingness (ayin) from which we are able to freely explore the heart's inner chambers.

The word bittul means to nullify, to erase. The word yesh means thingness; it is the opposite of  ayin. So to bittul ha-yesh means to nullify the sense that there that "I am something," leaving the feeling of nothingness. Although we have an intrinsic feeling that we are somebody or something, this meditation leads us to the truth that we are in fact not what we think we are.

Please decide in advance how much time you will allow for this visualization. You can shorten the time if you need, but try not to extend beyond the selfimposed time limit. The reason for this is that the process we are about to do can be quite seductive and the meditator could easily spend many hours in a meditative trance-which is not the purpose. The purpose is to become familiar with your inner world, to discover methods of moving from world to world with the knowledge that there will always be new inner worlds to explore.

It is useful to have a journal handy for this particular meditation because the experience can become quite detailed. From level to level, gateway to gateway, you may wish to interrupt your meditation to record the experiences. This is a worthwhile process and you will find that you soon become adept at entering into and coming out of the meditative state at will. Thus, in this meditation, reminders will be included for you to record your experience.

1. Please begin by sitting quietly, noticing the rising and falling of the chest on the breath for at least five minutes. Then visualize yourself in the middle of an open field. Looking all around, describe to yourself what you see, experiencing it in as much detail as possible.

2. Now, imagine a ladder near you, with its base fixed on the ground, reaching upward into the sky. It reaches beyond where you can see. You know the ladder is very sturdy and safe; it could be climbed if one wished to do so. Please look closely at the ladder, but do not ascend it just yet. Walk around it and describe to yourself what it looks like and how you are feeling at this time.

3. Now, you have the choice of climbing the ladder or ending the visualization. If you choose to end the visualization, open your eyes and record your feelings. If you choose to climb the ladder, stay in the meditation with your eyes closed and describe to yourself the experience and feeling of the first place to which the ladder leads. Please stay at that place. Do not go on. (You may wish to record what you have experienced up to now and you may continue when finished.)

4. Spend time on this first level. Imagine that you find a gateway, but it is carefully guarded by something or someone. Look closely at the gateway and at the thing or being that is guarding it. Describe to yourself the situation, what you see, and how it feels.

5. Now, try to discover what you need to do, say, or think in order for this guard to let you through the gate. (You may imagine a conversation with the guard if you wish to ask questions.) Feel free to do whatever you need to find out how to pass through this gate. Continue probing until you discover the necessary key. Any message that arises in your imagination, even the most simple, has meaning for you. (You may wish to record your experience.)

6. Now, once again, you may choose to turn back (as you can at any time) or you may continue. Try to remember your process of decision making. If you turn back, you will end the meditation now. If you choose to go ahead, you will eventually encounter another kind of gate or barrier along the way. Describe your experience, what you see, and how you feel.

7. You can repeat this process until your time runs out. Each time you reach a new level, imagine a gate or something else that is guarded through which you must pass to go on. Find the key each time to get past the block. And every time you reach a new level, rest there so that you can describe it clearly and in detail. Do not rush ahead too fast from level to level. (Record each experience in as much detail as you can recall.)

8. When the time is near for you to finish, please return the same way you entered. That is, reverse your ascent and go back through the levels or chambers you have encountered, always trying to remember what you saw, what you experienced, and what you had to do to get past the gate. It is important to work your way backward, down through the various levels, at the end of this meditation. This reversal and return is an essential part of the process and should not be omitted. When you have returned to the field, open your eyes.

Rest for a few moments.

As soon as possible after this meditation, record everything that you can remember. Repeat the entire journey in your mind a few times until you have the sequence of events memorized. Then in moments of reflection during the next week to ten days, review the complete inner voyage. You will find that the review becomes easy and fast-often the voyage can be remembered in less than a minute-and you will begin to become intimately acquainted with the various guardians along the way.

At the end of one or two weeks, you may wish to reenter this visualization and carry it to new levels, or you may wish to begin an entirely new sequence. When a student becomes proficient in this process, the inner pathways can lead to great heights and profound depths.

You will discover that the farther you go in the process, the more you will have to let go of your selfidentity. Many of the higher realms are guarded in such a way that one must become almost invisible to enter them. Ultimately, we will begin to experience qualities of the state of nothingness. Thus, this practice, over time, trains us to let go of our selves, so to speak, and allows us profound insight into the nature of our being.