how a few moments of empty-mind spiked with questions of the unanswerable kind can deliver you to your effulgent nothingness

Edgar Degas, Woman, Seen from Behind, Drying Her Hair, c.1905 - 1910


I take off my clothes,

lift them to my face,

inhale the fragrance of my skin.

By what alchemy was that unique odour created?


I soak in the bath,

submerged to my chin.

Wetness, warmth: what registers these sensations

yet never gets wet?


I towel-dry my mop of silver hair.

I marvel that it grows, it falls out;

more grows, automatically.

Can I spin one thread of hair?


I trim a toenail.

How does this perfect toe-guard

know how to grow?

Is there a how-to manual for nails (and hair and cells)?


My scissors slip.

I watch my bright blood slowly seep,

congeal, clot (or not).

Can I control a clot?


I listen to the ambient sounds of my environment.

By what miracle can I hear

the kettle boiling urgently,

and those rowdy Kookaburras?


I make coffee and slowly savour the flavour,

asking myself,

(eyes shut)

Where exactly is ‘taste’ located?


Then, uninvited, the mother of all questions shows up:

Where’s my world viewed from?

I gaze undistractedly

at my coffee cup.


I can’t find a point of perspective.

So then I try to find a viewer.

Can I find a fixed point,

a “me”?


Almost 75 years of wondering, checking for myself,

what can I report?

Well, as the saying goes:  All the lights are on but

no one’s home.


I imagined myself into existence,

only to find I am unfindable.

What I find is inescapable space.

Space that’s unimagined, and unarguably aware.


Space – ceaselessly birthing

all experience in, and as, time,

including this tricky two-step called



Aware space, dancing

as every sensation, feeling, thought,

every belief – questioned or not,

every thing and every no-thing too.


And I, hobbled and hollow-boned,

know its fancy footwork as my own.



Don’t you just love the way a few moments

of empty-mind

spiked with questions of the unanswerable kind

can deliver you to your effulgent nothingness?


– with a deep bow, ml

Art – Edgar Degas, Woman Seen from Behind, Drying her Hair c. 1905 – 1910.
Public Domain.


19 thoughts on “how a few moments of empty-mind spiked with questions of the unanswerable kind can deliver you to your effulgent nothingness

  1. O miriam….you have “done “IT’ ” AGAIN!!! what a gentle yet o so “spot on” wording of what IS!!! THANK YOU Dorothea

  2. and there you go divine M…right back into the deep end of the pool, the only end there is…
    Deepest gratitude for your beautiful, joy-filled Seeing and sharing.

      1. Thank you for reading, dear Scott, and for leaping into the deep end with me.
        I so appreciate your company on this bottomless dive.

        A deep bow to you – always.

  3. Dear Miriam, I’m new to “aware space” though not entirely so to “effulgent nothingness”… Your sublime poem is imbued throughout with a luminous, honest and humble clarity which does not permit anything to remain obscure, hidden, unexamined. You seek the heart of matter and find it. It is utterly exquisite on all levels. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful gift with us (and I’m glad I could connect with fb to comment here :-))

    1. I’m deeply grateful for your comment, dear Laura – and to fb for making it possible for you to connect this way.

      “aware space” is a signifier that only dropped in to my vocabulary recently, after a tectonic mind shift (seems they never end).

      I have a feeling I’ll be writing more about this…


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