I struggle to articulate some of the ways that my mediation practice has made me go mad. “You don’t enter this world as a bright spark of consciousness – you emerge from it.”
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Unfolding (Experience Pt2)
A little over a year ago I made Episode 1805 – Experience.
It prompted quite a few conversations with friends and acquaintances as it was one of the most honest pieces of media put out on the internet. In it I talked about how I feel conversations play out, and sometimes have shapes in my minds eye. I spoke about the way a good conversation makes me feel like I’m running behind a ball racing erratically down a hill. But it was the last the thing that surprised people that know me the most – that I no longer experienced myself as being inside my head.
At some point during 2017 I moved down from perceiving myself as being ‘behind my eyes’ inside my head and started to experience the world in a more embodied way. I am the tips of my fingers and the end of my toes. Etc.
Outlandish claims to be sure – but all true. In episode 1805 I stressed that – “Believing in the possibility of what someone is saying about their experience of the world without requesting proof, is a skill like active listening that can be exercised and built like a muscle” And I’d like to exercise that muscle with you all again today.
Twitter user Gordon Fang posted recently that:
It is exactly this problem of language leads western quote/unquote empirical atheists into all kind of loops, as they like to dissolve the distinction. They end up conflating ‘believing’ in gravity to be the same things as belief in christ or whatever, and then they get mad about it.
Instead of the loaded word Belief lets instead use the word Knowing.
For example: Many people intellectually know they are going to die one day, but they don’t actually KNOW they are going to die. It’s not something that have come to terms with and therefore fear it. There is a shift or internalisation that happens when you move from intellectually knowing something to KNOWING KNOWING something. It is difficult to explain in words if you haven’t experienced the shift. But the word epiphany gets close – you’ll just have to trust me on that.
When my perception of myself moved “down” into my body it caused all kinds of craziness. I thought maybe all this meditation has made me go mad. You can’t exactly go to the doctor and say “Doctor doctor I no longer perceive the world from inside my head”, it sounds like the opening of some weird joke …. Perhaps It WAS some weird joke.
Anyway, what happened was many of my regular meditation practices became new again. I had developed a changed perspective on who or what it is that is doing the experiencing.
I struggled for a long time with this new perspective daily on the mat and then something else happened. Like an epiphany I realised that your consciousness does not spawn into the world like a character in a video game.
You don’t enter this world as a spark of consciousness, you emerge from it.
This shift in perspective broke me. Everywhere I looked I suddenly saw the world in as constant state of this emergence. the river flowing passed me, the trees outside the window are trees just doing their tree thing. Dogs are just being dogs in the park. All emerging from one moment to the next like a tapestry or a stream in flow. But it was other people going about just peopling in the world that weirded me out the most. Eventually this perspective just merged into daily life and it was no longer alien – just fact.
But as this happened all sorts of other problems emerged.
One morning earlier this year after a long session on the mat I thought I was having a psychotic break. I was walking around my flat no longer believing in linear time.
I was making a cup of tea KNOWING that there was no past or future – only NOW… The state of ‘emergence’ around me had taken over completely.
When I’m going about my life there is only now. Everything is going through a process I can only describe as ‘unfolding’. The universe doesn’t move linearly forward like the bar on an MP3 player showing a tracks progress. Time isn’t external in this way.
Our experience of life is like a growing flower constantly opening its petals – blossoming for eternity. As the world unfolds around us it give us the perception of movement. The perception of this forward motion of time is a miss-experiencing of the momentum of the world unfolding around you. All of this came to me as I stood waiting for a kettle to boil.
It’s quite frankly changed my life. I’m a lot happier than I was about the state of the world in a Gnostic kind of sense and i’m excited to see what’s next
And besides I couldn’t exactly go to the doctor and say “Doctor Doctor my experience of linear time has changed”. But I CAN talk about it on a podcast … I suppose.
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