Today, in the slightly mischievous spirit of Unity Tuesday, let’s try a crazy exercise. We never do this kind of thing, especially not in the middle of the day.
The thing is, it’s just so easy in the course of any given day (whether it’s Unity Tuesday or not) to fail to recognize the true nature of our waking daily lives. It is always easily taken for granted, but being alive is crazy and wild even if it’s ostensibly ordinary, and even if we often experience boredom or any of its cousins. We may fail to perceive it, but that doesn’t change the facts. Even if there are aliens out there (and there damn well might be), most of the things in the whole wide universe are definitely not alive.
That’s the vast, vast majority. And, even among the tiny number of things that are alive, most of them – by far, most of them – don’t experience awareness, much less comprehension, like we do. We, and, except for the aliens, we alone are the universe opening its eyes and looking at itself. Yeah, yeah, hippy woo woo – but it’s just the basic facts. We are basically the only part of the universe capable of looking at the universe and saying, “Look, the universe!” while pointing our finger and maybe even laughing a little. Only we can do this. This is crazy.
Whatever you do today, you are walking around on a planet, which is a rock made up of top-notch solar system waste material flying through space at speeds we can’t conceive of, even though we’re traveling at those speeds at every moment of life. Whenever I think I have problems, I try (I almost never succeed, by the way, but whatever) to remind myself that I am a crazy animal hooting and hopping around on a waste-rock in space. And, hey, there’s no accounting for taste, so I can’t speak for you, but I just think that’s a really fun thing to be.
What’s even cooler is that the possibilities for the reality-state of my soul are even broader and crazier. They can be anything, really. Want to know what the reality-state of your soul is today? It’s different every day, but if you want to understand what it is right now, just do this exercise. I’ve done it myself by accident many times, and I’ll just freely tell you some of the things my soul does on an average day:
- Sometimes, my soul floats on a blue Hindu raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with no land in sight. What is a blue Hindu raft, you might ask? I can’t answer that question, but I know one when I see one (or think it up in my mind).
- Sometimes, my soul spends the day as some kind of Bedouin wandering into town from the badlands to visit the marketplace and chat with non-Bedouin friends and sell my wares.
- Sometimes, for whatever reason, my soul is a grizzled retired sea captain who lives like a hermit inside of a lighthouse in Newburyport or Gloucester that everyone has forgotten about.
- Sometimes my soul is piloting a small but fun spacecraft around from star to star up there, just having a blast.
Go ahead, laugh it up! Judge away! That’s why I shared – think whatever you want, because what you imagine is going to be just as strange (and, dare I say, symbolic in that magic and archetypal way) as mine are. That’s the point of the exercise. All that is required is five minutes of meditation, wherever you are. Everybody should have a phone that can act as a stopwatch; failing that, a program on your computer; failing that, just use the damn clock. Confused about how to meditate at your desk, with people walking by, e-mails flying in, shouts and phone-rings and all manner of cacophonous clatter all around you? Don’t be. Just do it. I’m not great about doing it regularly, but I have done it tons of times. Nobody knows, and even if they wonder what you’re doing, they’re just going to think you’re weird, which is damn well probably how they look at you already. I’m not telling anybody they have to close their eyes or sit a special way. That would be weird, and I don’t do it myself.
Just stare straight ahead, minimize your e-mail so it doesn’t distract you, let your eyes unfocus themselves, and go into yourself, into whatever feels like a “center” to you. Take your consciousness there. Seriously, nobody knows. They just think you’re looking at your monitors – if they’re watching you obsessively, at most they’ll suspect you’re staring off into space. Put your headphones in to make it less likely that anyone will try to talk to you. The noise and the motion around you will be a distraction at first – or maybe even throughout the five minutes – but if you just relax and go inside, you can make it so that it all blends together into the background like the nonhuman sights and sounds of the forest or the beach. Really, we’re fooling ourselves if we think this landscape environment to be all that different from those ones. So just experience the whole scene as it really is.
Now, you’ve got a lot of leeway in this exercise in terms of style and approach. You can sit or stand however you like, be still or engage in any kind of motion you like, and, most importantly, you have full and open freedom of choice with regard to your sonic experience. We are not ascetic Buddhists here, nor are we purists of any kind – use sounds or music to your advantage! I have been known to play Gregorian chant, or Hindu chanting (which may or may not have to do with the existence of the Hindu Raft), or traditional Arabic melodies, or Bach – but anything that strikes your fancy and allows your soul to be carried away to where it really is right now is what you want to go with. Five minutes – choose it carefully in advance.
When the time begins and you’ve decided how you’re going to do it and what you’re going to listen to, just let yourself go. You’re walking the earth today, you’re a crazy animal living life, but you’re also stuck working, stuck in an office, and that sucks. But you know that’s not all there is. Let it all fade into a blur, see the curtain, see behind the curtain…then see what you see. Where is your soul? What else are you doing besides being a worker at a console? It’s not about concentration, it’s about relaxation and receptivity. If you just chill yourself out enough and go inward enough and release your hold on the anxieties and perplexities of the moment in front of your face, by the time you pass the halfway point in your five-minute exercise, you’ll see it.
Please, if you go through the trouble of this whole exercise only to discover I’m wrong, complain in the comments section. I’m dead serious – if I cause you to waste this five minutes and you actually put in a good faith effort and you don’t see your own personal version of some crazy Himalayan landscape, you have the right to complain. I feel sorry about that.
That will not be the result for most of you. Because you are likely to find yourself engaged in occupations and locations even weirder than the ones you already made fun of me for having, I understand if you want to keep them to yourself. If you are willing to share them, please do – but whatever it is that you see is for you, not me.
With this weird little exercise completed, you can now proceed through the second half of your Unity Tuesday knowing not only that you are a human being creature on a planet, but that your soul is having a blast – or whatever it’s doing – in some crazy other place, because it’s free. Free as hell.
If you get this far, I’ll raise you one more just by saying that there’s a lesson to be learned in that. A lesson learned over time.
For today, just enjoy it. Truly, happy Unity Tuesday.