Ram Van Contemplation


Published: November 15, 2007

Sitting in a Ram Van is like sitting in a confessional—there are no secrets.  Discussion topics range from sexual escapades to religious conversions.  Random complaints and pseudo-philosophical rantings, combined with a loud radio, bumpy road and Manhattan traffic can make a 30-minute ride unbearable.

Inside all the chaos in the Ram Van, I close my eyes, shutting the shutters to the windows of my soul.  Suddenly, I see Nothing.

“Ram Van is leaving Lincoln Center with ten passengers.”

“Alright, tell them to buckle up.”

“Please buckle up.”

I take in a deep breath, and as I exhale, I begin to drift toward the heart of Nothingness.  There is Nothing above…below…and around me.  I lie suspended in Nothingness, and as It gradually and gently absorbs me into Itself, I notice the tension in my forehead, face, shoulder and back begin to dissipate.  As Nothingness works Itself into me, my breathing becomes slower, deeper and more natural.  My heart beats steadily in harmony with my breathing.  Lub-Dub, Inhale, Lub-Dub, Exhale, Lub-Dub, Inhale…

“Are you serious? She didn’t?  I can’t believe she…”

That’s disgusting…

“Oh yes she did.”


Nothingness gracefully approaches me from all sides.  Initially, I hesitate, but slowly, I begin to trust Nothingness and allow it to engulf me in Its embrace.  I pour out my anxieties, frustrations, distractions and pride into Nothingness, and like dye, Its overwhelming and otherworldly silence seeps into my soul and colors it with the veneer of celestial peace.   Lub-Dub, Inhale, Lub-Dub, Exhale, Lub-Dub, Inhale…It overtakes my whole being, and I become one with it, but I still retain my self.  I reside in Nothingness and It resides in me and…

“The Catholic Church brainwashed me.  Believing in God is so irrational.”

“You should read Kierkegaard.”

Call mom today—it’s her birthday…

…indescribable joy, happiness, and gratitude overwhelm me.  I surrender all control but seem to gain more.  I am weak before Nothingness, yet I feel stronger than ever.  I let go and let Nothingness take all that is mine, yet I feel so whole and fulfilled…

What’s that smell?

“Can you stop at O’Hare, please?”


My “shutters” quietly open, and at the speed and brilliance of lightening, the whole world blasts though my windows and right down into the stomach of my soul.  I step out of the Ram Van, but step into another “Ram Van”—a place also suspended in the heart of Nothingness.  With Nothingness all around and in me, I slowly walk back to my dorm.