I remember it like "it" was yesterday. I was 17, sitting half-lotus in the Himalayan foothills, middle of the jungle. As "green" Magic-the-Gathering -wise as it gets. And I got to thinking. And thought led me to my dear friend Descartes. Who thought and therefore...was? Something seemed off. A splinter or two in that mind. And no disrespect to the brilliance, since it was brilliant as it got. But we're all human at the end of the day. Anyway, I got to thinking, and the caboose of this thought train led to a thought experiment. And it went something like this.
Imagine you operate the central control panel of your experience. Some of that Inside Out shit. Levers and buttons galore. Take a look around. See the button that controls your sense of hearing. Yeah. Turn that off. Cool. So now you're deaf. You just pressed the button, light's off, so sound is gone. Keep perusing. You see that button next to it, which controls your sense of taste? I dare you to keep sipping on that fucking pumpkin spice latte after pressing it. And pressed it you did. So now you can't hear or taste. Riddle me this, in case you can't catch this drift, keep pressing those buttons.
One by one. Turn off your sense of smell. So now all you can do is see and feel. Now turn off feeling. How light you ironically feel now! No haptic sensation. No friction, no pressure, no warmth, none of that. All you have now is your mind and your eyesight. Now put your thumb and forefinger on the thought cadence lever while your other hand's forefinger rests upon the sight button. Press the sight button. Now you are just a mind. No five senses. You are in Descartes territory now - the realm of pure thought and pure thought experiment.
If you can still keep up, then you understand all that constitutes your experience now is "thought." So you're essentially meditating now. Every few seconds and you experience a new thought. Maybe it's your mind's eye, or mind's ear, or mind's tongue, etc., but it's all just your mind. Now will yourself (despite not feeling or seeing your fingers on the lever) to move that lever the other direction and effectively slow the cadence of your thoughts. Instead of experiencing a new thought every second, now it's every 10 seconds.
Now every 60 seconds.
See where I'm going.
What is going on?
In the "space" and "time" "between" thoughts, "you" were "nothing." But WERE you nothing, truly? Descartes would say yes, since you are fundamentally a thinking thing. But ARE you fundamentally a thinking thing? This thought experiment says nah.
Buddha says fuck no.
As did I then - and now.
You simply are. You are pure, boundless, infinite, awareness. The blank canvas upon which all experience is painted. And with this realization, comes infinite freedom and bliss.
I found this corpse - “Prose.” -
summoned lightning like Ozzy;
No More Tears, indeed.
Let's get this party started. Said I as A sipped an especially potent potion whilst posting most comfortably in seat 1F. One F is all it takes to ace it all so fill up your fucking cups, y'all. Seriously. If I could light up right now, this post would already be as illuminated as a 33rd Degree Mason. The buzz has me thinking...alas, twenty seconds have passed, so the first five signifiers of this sentence are evidently damned and insignificant insofar as they led you astray. I'll pause again to tap my mental cigar in its silver ashtray, now hit play. I meant fast-forward. Like a year or so from now. You and I will be conversing near the bow of this ship, sipping on something surely more delicious than what my lips and tongue find so scintillating at this time, using our eyes to look far-off into a horizon marked by new shore, new adventure, a new world that makes the party of this weekend, that this pathetic post sincerely hoped to spark, look like a tiny little star compared to some superclusterical art.
I dreamt last night it was the year 2100.
The paradigm in medicine was that the human body is essentially a software program - the molecules comprising it are code. Every software program has bugs - elements of the code that result in the user experience not working as intended. "Disease," in this new paradigm, was simple a bug in the code. Every bug is fixable. For every problem there is an equal and opposite solution.
In this hyper-advanced, surprisingly utopian future, in which I found myself an "old" man, disease was a thing of the past - including the disease that we used to call "aging."
Explaining Gravity & Time
All this advancement, all this sophistication - and yet we still know nothing. Concepts such as time and gravity are still so elusive. Consider one possible explanation.
Hindu mythology says Brahman is Infinity - all that ever could be, as one - and Brahman manifests itself as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva - The Creator, The Sustainer, and The Destroyer. Spinoza remarked, "The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things." Similarly, for every objectivistic way of seeing the world, there is an equal and opposite poetic way of seeing it. One side of the equation is sheer wonder and magic - the gods and goddesses themselves. Another side is pure, cut and dry, plain and simple, as mathematics.
Consider "Brahma" is simply the universe's tendency to create something from nothing. Quantum physics wouldn't disagree that "matter" arises from an infinite field of apparent nothingness. So perhaps "Brahma," understood objectively, is "Brahman's" power to create anything from nothing. We see this tendency manifest itself in phenomena such as spontaneous healing. Newton's First Law should be trimmed by Occam's Razor. The most fundamental law, it may seem, is that of Creation. Something arises from nothing. Then what?
Then, it exists.
It doesn't immediately go away. It remains. It sustains. Something holds it together. Something keeps it bound as a discrete unit within the universe. Perhaps, then, "Vishnu," understood objectively, is that which keeps things intact. "Time" and "gravity" are just different labels for this second most fundamental law, that is the universe's propensity to sustain, continue, remain.
Finally, things don't last forever. Buddhism's tenet of impermanence is undeniable. Things eventually break apart, wither away, decompose - die. The Second Law of Thermodynamics and "Shiva" - just as time, gravity, and Vishnu - are one and the same. Shiva, then, is a third fundamental force of nature - nature's tendency to destroy and be destroyed - the polar opposite of time/gravity/Vishnu.
These three forces are ultimately the same force that animates everything - the paint marking that blank canvas that is pure consciousness, nothingness, emptiness.
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I lost control. And that's all she wrote. But then, no joke, I saw poetry in motion. Reality rhyming while I'm mindful of minding business big or small. I came to crawl out of my ego-crib, proceed to promptly sit up straight, witness to reality demonstrate its way with the Way. Okay? And here's what the jam-band would say. It's all atoms dancing, electrons prancing, gluons laughing - but then keep diving, your scuba gear binding, you will get to finding, that there's no separation, just pure space-ness, and upon the amazement and elation that mind-brush will be painting, you will feel the utter and absolute opposite of anxious.
January 2, 2023. On the freeway with my husband and nine-month-old daughter. Left lane, 80 MPH, speed of traffic, 30-or-so feet in front a red sedan suddenly veers into its rightmost lane, not realizing another car is right next to them. The driver overcorrects and next thing I know, both cars have struck each other and are spinning out of control - right in front of our trajectory. Glass shattering, smoke billowing - death smiling at high noon. I don't think. There is no time to think. I quickly look to my right lest making the same grave mistake. No issue. I veer right and don't have enough time to check the next lane. I take a leap of faith and veer right again, just missing the demolished vehicles. I don't have the time or peace of mind to consider what meat sandwich my family and I would have become should we have been stopped by those two cars. I haven't imagined how many more cars joined the pileup. I'm still in shock, and full with gratitude that - within that 1.5-second span - I was able to safely move three lanes and avoid what would have happened.
Had to get this off my chest. Thank you for reading.