Images of the Nothing

Since childhood I had a vivid imagination, to a point where the many worlds overlapped, I would pass from one to the other, transitionless. During my childhood the worlds were colourful. I was small and flew with the birds, fairies and Peter Pans playing chasing, hide-and-seek and acrobatics. I know how it feels (to fly) and jumping off ledges is no challenge to me, now.

In ingeneering, this talent of vivid imagination is very handy. I am/was able to visualise my designs, look at them from all sides, can take it apart and make it move. Then, my memory was much better, and I was able to keep on building for three or four weeks.

I did not need more, by then, I had worked it out.  When there was a scientific tackle, it would require more time since I had to refer to real experiments.  My virtual world was still convenient.  (I wrote about this in another paper Formgestaltung in the chapter “A Miracle by any other Name”)

Kawasaki-ZXR 750-911

Some machines had a relationship with me. Like this Kawasaki.  I would sit next to it on a stool and … I don’t know what I did. Then I would know what was wrong.

I am not a motorbike person, I am only generally familiar with their design. It did not matter. I came up with the broken seal of the hydraulic brake force amplifier. It’s a small rubber O-ring like you find them on the spindle of water taps.

You may have stumbled when you read the word ingeneering. This is the correct spelling. It has to do with ingenious, not with an engine. In case you would like to be convinced go to INGENIOUST.


They entered into my life in my late forties. Mostly, they were the Chinese type, incredibly huge with no or only small wings.dragon chinese crop  They would visit me and tease me to chase them.
I followed them (under my own power) out into space, it was a high-speed affair. They were very kind. They would fly slow enough for me to keep up with them. Often they would look back to make sure they had not lost me. I was extremely excited. Sometimes we would have a head on race.

Amongst the stars speed disappears, and the difference in size seems irrelevant. Distances are just beyond imagination. There we would play, and then we would be quiet, and the vastness would warmly hold us in cupped hands and hum to us.


Another type, which appeared more rarely, looked more like gryphons, were twice-a-horse size, with proportionally larger (more realistic size) wings.  Often they were rainbow coloured. They were good for riding on within near reach, the atmosphere of Earth.Dragon horse 3 crop

They were wilder and needed to be controlled.  Without it, they would only bolt around.  They were good for getting somewhere quickly.  Unfortunately, they would not wait.  When I wanted to go back, most of the time I had to fly myself.

With Chinese dragons, it was so different.  I was well aware of their superiority, in more than size.  I felt as if I were with a kind teacher.


In the next chapter, I tell you about another pertinent fact, adventure.

The endless Waterfall

In the early 1990th, driving along the old road to Sydney, I passed through Stanthorpe. A sign to the Boonoo Boonoo National Park intrigued me and off I went. Near the picnic ground were several consecutive basins washed out of the rock.

water basins at sunset
looked a bit like this

They were fed by a small river, the Boonoo Boonoo River and one pool opened and spilt its water into the next. I waded through some, others I walked around.

I was surprised when suddenly, I arrived at the ledge.  There had been hardly any noise, something one could expect from any decent waterfall. This one was different. I did not know why it was so quiet, for the moment this was ok with me.

I like standing on ledges of waterfalls. In my mind, they invite me to flow over the ledge with the water. Not tossing down for long but rising up as soon as a short fall supplied enough speed for my wings to carry me up in a steep incline, swirling around in the air and gracefully sweeping back and landing near the place where I had taken off.

I did this several times, to enforce the experience and realising it in my memory as references during times away from waterfalls and ledges. My balcony is not high enough.

a bit like this, just from a higher viewpoint

The curiosity took the better of me. Why was this waterfall so quiet? Several hundred meters farther to the left, there was an outcrop over the valley. From there I would have a good view of the waterfall.

Climbing out there was scary. I had ignored the fence. The risk was worth it. The waterfall started at the ledge, like any other typical waterfall, but when on its way down it became so faint and it disappeared in a small cloud.

I love moments like this when my child-mind is fascinated. I forbid my ingeneer to explain. I roll around in the miracle enjoying its fluffy brilliance.

But not for too long. Sussing out the phenomenon is fun too. With the right amount of water and speed the water would reach the depth of fall, at the right temperature, the water would evaporate before it would hit the ground. I enjoy those ‘aha’ moments.

I had not noticed time passing and decided to stay in a nearby B&B. I spoke with the locals about the waterfall, and they nodded. The water drops for 210 meters into the gorge. Its Aboriginal name is Boonoo Boonoo Falls, meaning “poor country with no animals to provide food”. Here you go.

The Changeover

… from seeing something to seeing nothing started in October last year when I had my first image of nothing. Now, it is two days after the April 2015 Form Retreat. An image I saw before the retreat (the first vision) turned into a significant part of a visual experience I had during the retreat. I will describe the first one first, if I explain it later, it will distract from the recent experience.

The first Vision

It was one morning, when this vision opened in me, I hesitate to say my mind.

I was hovering, like in a silent helicopter, looking at a huge waterfall. I was about five kilometres away from it and about two kilometres above. It was wider than my field of view. The fall was fed by a wide stream and tossed over the ledge with much foaming.

I was overwhelmed. When this happens, being overwhelmed, I like to bring things into proportion. “How overwhelming is this? Is it really so overwhelming?” I calculated: 180 ship-container loads of water would fall over the ledge of about 1.6 km width, every second. This is very much water, yes, I can permit myself to be moderately overwhelmed.


Surprised, I was hearing the sound of tossing water coming from my side. Turning my head, I saw the waterfall extending. Curious, I turned all way around and realised that this waterfall spread all around, a circular waterfall with its water dashing into a huge hole.

circular waterfall
image in my mind

Before getting too overwhelmed, a quick calculation: This would give the waterfall a circumference of 32 km, twenty times the width of my original view, meaning 3600 ship-container loads of water spill over the ledge each second. That’s a lot of water, a perfect reason for a fully grown overwhelm. Only then I became acutely aware of the tremendous noise.

Diving in the circular waterfallI was still hovering up there looking down, seeing the water rushing on all sides. The speed and mass of water entranced me, and gradually, I followed the falling water, descending slowly.

I had not noticed that my descent had turned into a fall, faster than the fall of the water (only possible, if I was accelerated somehow). I only noticed the difference in speed, nothing was tearing on me, like it would during an ordinary fall.

After some time, I saw the water-curtain began turning smooth and even, and later it was a wavering veil, tethering apart. Later again, streaks of clouds and soon after, nothing.

I was not surprised. This was like the Boonoo Boonoo Falls.


I still was I. I saw no reason, why this tubular hole would not go on, even forever appeared reasonably rational statement at this moment.

Then the water had vaporised. Previously, it had given me the illusion that I was falling into a circular hole. This was the case earlier on.  I had not noticed during my downward travel when the walls had disappeared.

Now, there were no walls. All was dark. Does empty space exist? It appeared so. Was I still falling? I don’t know, as I said previously, I had no sense of speed, nothing was tearing on my, and now, all reference had disappeared.


This was my first conscious real experience of nothing. Slowly introduced, I felt a real sense of nothing, a knowing of nothing. Amazingness was the prime feeling. Since I have been a flyer all my life, I felt comfortable and at home.

A few Days later

I had a bit of a bad time, struggling with all sorts of things, physical, mental and emotional. When this all felt like peaking, suddenly, I hovered over the circular waterfall. The noise covered the experiences, and I felt removed from all my struggles.

Playfully, I thought: “Why don’t I let all drop into the hole? It is so vast and bottomless and with all the water going down there, my minute bit of worry (shit) would not matter at all.” I dropped it. Amazing. Instantly, I felt relieved.

Followed by a real, tangible realisation: ‘It doesn’t matter if I do or not worry about all what pulls me down. Me worrying doesn’t improve the situation, not one iota, not for me, not for anyone. I may as well stop worrying.’


Realisation is one thing, change is another. (My ordinary mind talking): “It can’t be done. To accept, to expect an instant change is ludicrous.”

Thus, since I am human, problems walled up, again. Since the circular waterfall impression had been so strong, I remembered it this time.

I was already hovering up there, and with a yell, I let it all drop. It worked again. As they say: “Repetitio est mater studiorum… repetition is the mother of learning,” I learned.

I am still learning. I still forget this magic trick. I still need sorrow to remind me. I am hopeful. It takes twenty-one days to change a habit or take on a new one. That’s not really that long at all.

The Instigation, and first Part of the second Vision

I was listening to a recording of the mater’s voice, and I fell into utter confusion. This man talks in contradictions, paradoxes and uses the same words in disconnected contexts with different meanings. Rejection, analysing, criticism culminated in resentment. I had not been listening for some time.


I studied the mind’s the function and experimented with mine, since the late seventies. I know much of its behaviour, I am used to it. Interestingly, it is my mind that studies my mind and has learned and knows about its misleading, and false perception. Not maliciously, the pitiable thing is manipulated by perception.   My mind is still doing it. And my mind knows. I must have a split mind.


At this moment of resentment, I wondered what would be the result, if I could stop my mind from analysing and avoiding perception. Could I imbibe the information before my mind would cut in with censoring? This idea was accompanied by a strong desire and a moderate annoyance about my mind.

A moment later, a golden round pipe, about a hand-width in diameter opened in the middle of my sternum. I felt a draft of air. Some of the information was sucked into the pipe. I was happy to have grabbed it before my mind could get to it.

me with trumpet in front
Having this trumpet sticking out of my chest felt quite natural

Some still went into my ears. Somehow, I was able to increase the suction, the golden pipe widened to a trumpeted opening, and all the information was sucked in. “Got you!” I had a winner’s grin on my inner face.


Subsequently, I switched on my vacuum cleaner, whenever I felt the need to turn off my mind. I could not switch it off, but I was able to prevent my mind from interfering. This had never happened before. My mind was stunned.

At this stage, I had not pondered the question: “Where did it all go, after it was sucked in?” “What is the use of information if I don’t use it? If I don’t think about it?”

The second Part of the second Vision

Some time later, when I prepared myself to listen without my mind interfering, I saw a bright bluish space in front of me. When the information started, white fluffy balls (the size of a grass bowling ball) would float towards me.

When they were about one meter away from me, many black, inch-long tadpoles shot out of my ears, eyes, nostrils and mouth, attaching themselves to the white fluffies, until they had been entirely covered. A moment later they shrivelled up, and the tadpoles hurried off to the next hunt.

I exclaimed a not very kind word. Immediately and with some frustration, I turned on my vacuum cleaner and increased the suction to suck the fluffies in before the tadpoles could catch them.

It worked most of the time. If you ever heard a tennis ball shooting machine, this popping sound popped whenever a fluffy entered the trumped end of my golden pipe.

I guess, the following shows a part of my character: I had a nasty, conquering laugh.

Why the wigglies were not sucked in? I don’t know, and I did not care.

What caused the Suction?

Good question. I knew you would ask, therefore, I went to explore.trumpet circular waterfall. longerjpg I saw the golden pipe coming out of my back and extending as far as I could see. Looked somewhat surrealistic, a body with a long golden pipe sticking out of its back.

Suddenly, I knew, the pipe was connected to the circular waterfall near the bottom end. I could increase the suction up to the high flow speed of nothing. And as before I thought: “This can take by far much more than what I ever could suck in.” I was pleased, very pleased.


What is the point of letting information in, if I don’t process it, understand it and tuck it away in its proper place? Is there something unknown inside me, which is touched, moved and changed through this process? I am not clear on this; however, I know what goes in the trumpet pipe is as true, unchanged by my perception as it has been said.


A point on the side: In my normal life, ultimate expressions and superlatives, have been eradicated from my vocabulary. That I have reverted to them means, I must have been really impressed, extremely impressed.


PS: I hear you rightly comment: “There a quite a few images.”  Normally, one would expect that there is not much in nothing.  However, this just shows you: “There is something in nothing… and since the nothing is so huge, even if there are only a few numbers of something, it adds up.”


Wolfgang Köhler

18 April 2015

in finitum

Acknowledgement – Some pictures or part of them I found on the internet-

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