Creative Nonfiction

I was looking at the stars, admiring their serene beauty, wondering who made them. I knew logically and scientifically how stars are made, but still I wondered, what if it’s all more than just dumb matter? How can something so beautiful and profound as the deep dark night sky, sprinkled with diamond powder, be just an amalgamation of atoms bouncing in a sandbox?

Looking up always prodded the deepest questions in me. Even when I simply looked up to forget my problems and just be with nature, as my mind calmed down, it started wandering. And almost always, I found myself reaching out there, trying to grasp some hidden meaning of life, trying to bridge the gap between the stars with my mind.

But that night was different from the others. It sends shivers down my spine every time I remember, and a longing to experience it again. That night was special, it changed my whole perspective of life. That night of midnight meditation.

As I was gazing up at the sky, for god knows how long, my fingers and nose were getting numb from the chill and my eyelids became heavy. In that fuzzy state between wakefulness and sleep, I thought I heard a voice.

“Hearken to the Void,” it said. There was no one around for miles. I was alone at the cabin, in the middle of the woods. I was doing a solo retreat; spending time by myself, meditating and contemplating life. 

The voice was so quiet that a random thought could easily overpower it. And it was coming from within, but not in the sense that my sleepy mind was talking to itself. Rather, it felt like the universe itself spoke to me, giving me an answer to my questions.

Listen to the void, I thought. What does that mean?

As a response to that, a silence began to grow within me. I was sitting outside on a cushioned chair, covered with a blanket and it was the dead of night. Everything was quiet and only my clothes rustled loudly every time I shifted. But this silence that appeared, it wasn’t just lack of sound. It wasn’t that ringing noise that you hear when everything is very quiet.

No, this was pure emptiness. It was nothing. And it was starting to rise within me.

I became frightened, but I also knew I should follow the advice of that voice. 

Hearken to the Void…

So I listened to it. I reached into the nothingness with my mind…

...and reality melted away all around me. The trees opened up their trunks from within, like someone pulled their bark away and exposed the trees’ insides, which were empty. The cabin disintegrated away into darkness as well, and so did the ground and everything, including myself. It felt like my head rolled backwards and folded in on itself until my mind was on the outside of my skull.

Suddenly, I didn’t exist anymore. My body evaporated. My limbs, eyes, ears, gone. My sense of self and identity, gone. 

And yet I could still see. There was black space all around me.

And even without a self, I was still there, somehow, having this strange experience of being everything. It was so alien and bizzare and downright crazy, but at the same time, it felt like the most pleasant, natural and homey state that I ever experienced. Like this is how it should always be.

A bright flash of light erupted from the void. Somehow I knew the light was blinding powerful, but since I had no eyes, I wasn’t blinded. A shockwave rushed through me and in it, I felt the heartbeat of the universe. Unborn stars, planets and galaxies thrummed within it, like placing a hand at a pregnant woman’s belly. A primordial womb.

Somehow I knew I was witnessing the Big Bang, or some version of the theory. The birth of the universe. The start of everything.

From what was previously an utterly empty void, space, energy and matter appeared. From unity came separation. What was once one became many. I watched as these new components began to interact with each other to create more diversity and complexity. 

And pretty soon, the newly born universe was filled with stars and planets, with light and color, shape and form. Everything was happening in a fast forward kind of style, so probably millions of years passed in mere seconds for me.

I could see the entire universe, all at once. A tiny flicker of light flashed and I watched as the Milky Way began to spin. A small candle flame lit up inside it and I noticed our Sun ignite. And not far from the sun, an incredibly tiny dust particle became suspended in the light of the star and I realized it was the Earth, our home. 

Looking at it, so impossibly small in this vast expanse of creativity and beauty, I felt a sudden sense of the deepest gratitude for that tiny dust particle. It seemed so small, so helpless and so fragile. I was glad that I had no body, as I was afraid a simple exhale of breath could send it tumbling into the sun’s candle flame. Just like that, everything and everyone we ever knew, could be gone. 

I watched as that tiny speck slowly became blue and then green and then yellow with a network of lights even as it passed into shadow. From oxygen, to life abundance, to humanity.

And then, it suddenly became strikingly obvious. 

The Earth was made for us.

Either by a power of purpose or a power of random, it was created and formed for us.

And it is perfect for us, just the way it is. The perfect conditions, the perfect arrangements, the perfect combination of elements, everything needed for life to flourish.

Everyone I ever knew lived on that dust particle. Everyone that has ever existed, that has ever been born and died, has spent their life living there. Every scientist, inventor and engineer, every artist, composer and poet, every saint and sinner, every great hero and every worst dictator, every mother and her child, every father, king, peasant, every priest, every murderer and every philosopher. And all the other countless ones, who were never lucky enough to be chosen by the correct set of DNA, all the potential people who could have been born, all existed as that potential on that tiny speck.

Every war was waged there, every plant ever sown, every field harvested, every structure built, every empire torn down. Every discovery ever made, every revelation and insight acquired, every question ever asked and every answer given, was all done there. On that fragile particle. 

Our whole world and understanding of life and existence, everything we know, everything we’ve ever experienced. 

Our hopes and dreams. Our fears and sorrows. Every hopeful child and every lost adult. 

All there. On that speck of dust, so tiny and insignificant, yet so profoundly essential.

It is our Earth. Our planet. Our only home.

And I am one of the people who live there, on it, right this moment. Right now, I am somewhere down there, sitting on my chair, having a dream of being me. Just like so many others are. We are all in it together.

I realize that division is an illusion. There are no countries, no nationality, and no superior race. There are no borders, no one best way for how things should be, no one leading scientific paradigm or religious dogma. We are all one, thinking we are many, yet at the same time stemming from the same patch of soil. Like a hand whose fingers fight with each other, not realizing they are part of a greater whole.

Humanity is not a plural word anymore, it is singular.

And as I realize that, I begin falling back down. My consciousness and awareness shrinks down from encompassing the whole universe, to being locked and cramped inside an individual skull once again.

I am again. But I am not the same. The experience, be it a dream, an imaginary hallucination or a real phenomena, changed me. It left something behind. Though I can’t quite quantify the change and put my finger on it, I have become more aware of the bigger picture of my existence here, on this Earth. I now realize that we all live life from our own individual perspectives, and to us, our own perspective seems like the only one that there is. 

And think about it. If that is the case, then all we need is for one person to wake up, right? For how else can change occur, if not on an individual level?

So as I gaze up at the stars again, I think of how misguided our beliefs must be, to allow for such horrible things to be done to ourselves and to our home. Demonization, conformity, war, government corruption, scarcity, famine, egomania, self-absorption, greed, blind hatred, pollution, violence, ignorance, distraction, deliberate blindness and denial, societal brainwashing, false idolatry, indoctrination, hypocrisy… 

I shiver at the simplicity of the solution. Individual responsibility, awareness of one’s actions and honesty about one’s beliefs.

I shiver again, as I notice all these things in myself, realizing I am no better.

As I watch the night sky, in my mind I hope for more people to look up at the stars once in a while, and think about their life and existence. It seems like such a small thing, yet it has universal ramification. As all actions do.

“Hearken to the Void, my friends,” I say to the blinking stars as I stand up, and finally go to sleep, knowing full well I’ll need my strength for all the changes I’ll start implementing in my life tomorrow.

Responsibility starts with me and you.

And so does a better world.

April 30, 2020 21:51

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Noel Thomas
02:17 May 01, 2020

Great story! I loved the philosophical approach while still maintaining a narrative. Keep writing!


Harken Void
09:50 May 01, 2020

Thanks man! Glad you liked it :)


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Harken Void
09:50 May 01, 2020

Thanks man! Glad you liked it :)


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Tvisha Yerra
02:53 May 12, 2020

I don't understand how a person can have such skill, that allows them to write horrors that chill you to the bone, and philosophical stories that make you ponder for days.


Harken Void
08:24 May 12, 2020

I'm glad you enjoyed them both. All I can say in 'defense' is that I'm merely a servant of my muse. She's the real genius hehe ;)


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