Monday, July 18, 2011

The Moment Before Zero

“If zero is the place where the physical world begins then the moment before zero is the place of angels and demons, the starting point of the soul...Finding and returning to zero is a skill that cannot be underestimated...”

--Stephen Tobolowsky, "The Tobolowsky Files," episode 42

I am obsessed with a new (to me) podcast I discovered last week called "The Tobolowsky Files." In it legendary character actor (you probably won't recognize his name, but if you have ever gone to the movies, you WILL recognize his face) Stephen Tobolowsky tells stories from his life and career, but with a decidedly spiritual twist. 

It was episode 42 (entitled "The Moment Before Zero") that made me fall in love with this podcast, and just a little bit with Stephen Tobolowsky. 

On one level he is talking about acting. How the actor must always "return to zero" after every take so as not to display the naturally ensuing emotion of the scene before the action takes place. On another level he is talking about nothing short of the creation of the universe. 

Let me see if I can get this right: according to Stephen, if the Big Bang Theory is correct and there was a moment in time in which the Universe and everything in it (or at the very least the potential for everything in it) was created then there must have been a moment BEFORE that moment - the moment before zero. 

This is the moment, he says, "of magic and imagination" and "the place of angels and demons." 

As I sat there listening for the first time I had no idea who this man was or even what his name was, but all I could think was, "I am in the presence of genius." I was so enraptured with this idea that it was, very simply for me, a moment before zero. 

This is the place that I am searching for. The moment BEFORE the mind kicks in and starts THINKING about things, the moment of pure experience, true joy, unadulterated living. 

It is that moment in meditation when you forget yourself, "the gap" that sometimes opens up in your mind when you are in that pure state of just BEING. 

The moment before zero is a holy place, a sacred place, a place of angels and demons and sometimes, if we are very lucky, of mere mortals as well. 

I encourage you to try The Tobolowsky Files and see what you think. I also encourage you to find your own "moment before zero" as often as you can.

[Tomorrow on Dear Soul Sisters we attempt to answer the question, "Why are we here?" And talk even more about Stephen Tobolowsky and "the moment before zero." ]

1 comment:

  1. I heard this on the radio today and had the same reaction. Guy is tits. Even had my usually inane 13 year olds mind twirling. Look forward to hearing him again.