"Only three cultures arrived at a concept of ZERO independently: the Maya, the Babylonian, and the Hindu of India" states Martin Brennan in The Hidden Maya.
The Mayans seem to have had two types of zero, to go with their two types of writing. The first kind was a fairly staightforward text style that was used for doing computation; that zero is the eye-shaped symbol in the upper left picture above. The second type was the flowery symbolic writing they used for monuments, shown in the bottom row.
~from Zero in History
But how did the Mayans choose that eye-shaped symbol?
Here is what my squirrel Bucky told me yesterday morning:
The old Mayans would often have little squirrels as pets. In searching for a symbol to represent the concept of zero, what better symbol of the transcendent state, the portal to the next dimension, than the sleeping baby squirrel?
Bucky told me that some old Mayan gazed lovingly at his baby squirrel and saw immediately the perfect representation of "zero". The Mayan concept did not mean "nothing". To the Maya, zero signified both a completion of a cycle and a portal to a higher level in infinite cycles of limitless ages!
The rapidly approaching date of December 21, 2012 is the end of many cycles of time in the Mayan Calendar. And in the Long Count that day is 18.104.22.168.0. See the chart below found in Wikipedia by searching "Long Count".
On the final page of Jose Arguelle's epic book The Mayan Factor, which he wrote to prepare people for the Harmonic Convergence back in 1987, he states:
"Then it shall be ready. The unique moment, the moment of total planetary synchronization,
22.214.171.124.0 on the beam, will arrive~ the closing out not only of the Great Cycle, but of the evoltionary interim called Homo sapiens. Amidst festive preparation and awesome galactic-solar signs psychically received, the human race, in harmony with the animal and other kingdoms and taking its rightful place in the great electromagnetic sea, will unify as a single circuit. Solar and galactic sound transmissions will inundate the planetary field. At last, Earth will be ready for the emergence into inter-planetary civilization.
Then, as if a switch were being thrown, a great voltage will race through this finally synchronized and integrated circuit called humanity. The Earth itself will be illumined. A current charging both poles will race across the skies, connecting the polar auroras in a single brilliant flash. Like an iridescent rainbow, this circumpolar energy uniting the planetary antipodes will be instantaneously understood as the external projection of the unification of the collective mind of humanity. In that moment of understanding, we shall be collectively projected into an evolutionary domain that is presently inconceivable.
And yet, we shall know. Like infants in a vast new playground, we shall retain the highest and most exalted vision. Purpose will be illumined to new levels of spontaneity. Everywhere shall be heard the Voices of the Galactic Federation: the Elders, the Ancestors, the great Boddhisattvas and Saints, the Maya returned, our deepest Selves, the Cosmic Mirror, the Raiment of Space and Time made One. As one voice, the announcement
shall be made, heard by one ear: And now the adventure begins!
Now, some will say that I have woven a fantasy, a utopian tale that is unrealizable in such short time. But I have only woven from that which the Maya left behind and which the teachings of mind's vastness make accessible to all. According to the prophecies of Shambhala, following the final conquest of the three Lords of Materialism by the spiritual armies released for the closing of the cycle, there will be a 500-year Golden Age. As we ride the final baktun fractal through this dark moment of Faustian denouement to ultimate planetary release from our self-created bondage, let those warrior-shamans among us take heart. For it is through the open portals of the heart that the future returns in all of its radiance.
Humbly presented as a gift to the children, I close with the Mayan code of honor:
In Lake'ch: I am another yourself.
Completed 1 Imix, 12 Zotz, October 6, 1986, the Eastern Year 7 Muluc
Boulder, Colorado, Central Rockies, North America