I’ve discussed the difference between emptiness, a quality of space within consciousness, and nothingness, in nirguna (quality-less) Brahman.
Recently, I ran into a clip discussing nine “Levels of Nothing” by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. It was interesting to reflect on how there are degrees of nothing. This may give us a sense of how much deeper Brahman is from emptiness.
His model of 9 levels:
1 – no visible objects (yet still air)
2 – No matter, a classic vacuum.
3 – No matter-energy, including particles
4 – No matter-energy, including radiation and fields
5 – no space-time, no virtual particles, a quantum vacuum
6 – no laws of physics
7 – no God or consciousness
8 – no abstract objects or ideas like mathematics
9 – no possibilities
Even ideas need consciousness, so level 8 should come before level 7. There is no such level as “no possibilities” as we find potential, even in Brahman. As virtual particles require space and time, I would split level 5 up. Space and time arise distinctly but become the container for all expression.
Another way we could frame the levels is with a stepping down through the koshas. Dropping the physical, which is a lot of the above chart. Dropping the energy body, then the mental body and fields. The subtle structure and the intellect are next. Then the vacuum state where the world expression first begins. And the field of creation where space and time and laws of nature arise. And finally, the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness itself. Then you’re left with qualityless Brahman.
As may be obvious, this is degrees of transcending or samadhi. Also, in Unity stage, we progressively unite these in consciousness. Then we transcend consciousness into Brahman stage.
Philosophers ask why is there something rather than nothing? There’s both. And curiously, they’re the same thing, seen in different ways. It’s all a perspective. And you don’t usually find the maker of the bus on the bus.