Taking Interest

Today was just one of those days, a day to let the mind wander and follow patiently wherever it may lead.
A day like any other, except that it seemed grey and monotonous. Today my Lebensraum felt very small and rather than feeling a vastness that left room to breathe deeply, limitations appeared to be all too real.

I was wandering along, following my dog when I came across a cherry tree. I allowed myself to be interested and gazed at the blue sky through the tree’s light pink flowers. It was suddenly quite interesting to contemplate that this tree was a mere reconstitution of the basic elements that existed in my own body. I and the tree were one and the same, it seemed. Quite strange, I thought, looking at the delicate flower petals and how the sunlight gently played with form and feature. Then I wondered if the tree was aware of me, standing here, contemplating. My mind led me to recall what I knew about the Quantum world and so I remembered that flows of energy exist, unseen, between all material objects. Energy was radiating out from my own presence and somehow was interacting with energy fields of the tree; any perturbations my body made in space were bound to resonate with the tree; since we both had mass, gravity pulled on both of us and each attracted the other; and yet we were prevented from touching at all by small electromagnetic forces. Whatever I did, I could never really ‘touch’ the tree; all I would come in contact with would be its energy fields; our movements tied together in an endless dance of push and pull.
Having decided that the tree had to be ‘aware’ of me, at least on the physical level, my mind brought to my attention how even the slightest wind caused the leaves and flowers to gently rock back and forth. Again, my mind brought forth what I knew about trees and I had to smile when I realized that the tree itself reconstituted its inner structure to resist a particular pressure, if that pressure persisted.

I also recalled that lots of plants slowly turn their leaves towards the sun, towards incoming energy waves. So, not only was the tree aware of my presence but it was very aware of its immediate world. Then my mind wondered if the tree was conscious – a physical awareness translated into an immaterial subjectivity. I, afterall, was conscious. I knew that I existed. Did the tree have the same experience? Having read a book about Buddhism, my mind presented me with the conundrum that even my own subjective ‘I’ was an illusion and that all levels of consciousness, except one rooted in and shared by the universe as a whole, were related to the ego. Who I thought I was, my experience of ‘I’, was perhaps a trick of the mind, a fantasy of the ego; so my memories of Buddhist text reminded me. If this was true then the only consciousness that was ‘real’ was the one that I shared with the tree; stripped of all fabrications and ego creations, my consciousness – the I in me – would be bare existence, connected with and vibrating amongst the world’s many pulsating energy fields.
The tree, perhaps, having escaped the distortive force of the ego, existed at that deep level of consciousness. It existed as an ‘I’ that was not tied to any particular mass or body but that was interconnected with all life, all space, all being. That thought was quite interesting but a little bit too
big for me and so I walked on.
Strangely enough, I had another thought on my way back home. My mind posed the question: what if no person alive on this world today had ever seen his or her own reflection. What if nobody knew what they looked like except from the reaction and feedback of other people? What a very strange world that would be, with very different priorities and very different angst. I thought about what big a part our own reflection plays in constructing our identity. To be beautiful or not to be beautiful, to be perceived beautiful or not to be perceived beautiful, to self-perceive oneself as beautiful or to self-perceive oneself as lacking beauty; all are closely tied to the feelings along the entire spectrum of
emotion.

The outer appearance is so often tied to our inner life and if one is lacking, the other loses its balance. Now, what if all of this did not exist, my mind asked. A thought experiment: I look at you and I look at her and I look at them. I see difference but would I connect this difference to
levels of appeal? Do we not make judgments on beauty on how we perceive ourselves? My mind then asked: what about the animal world? animals have no idea what they look like. Interesting proposition. Animals also have little social angst tied to identity. Theirs is a survival and interaction based on evolutionary imperatives. What, I wonder, was the purpose of giving humans access to their own reflection? What was evolution thinking about when she decided to craft a self, an ego?

Getting close to home, my mind now turned to other imperatives. Food was suddenly of highest interest and my stomach displaced my mind as guiding force for a select few hours.

Having eaten and sitting comfortably on the couch, watching my dog sleep, my mind again asked if I detected the significance of today’s events. Let me venture a guess. Perhaps, even in the dullest, grayest days in life, there exist moments and opportunities for wonder. Sometimes all that is required to partake in such moments is ‘taking interest’, stepping closer and allowing the mind the freedom to take us for a ride.

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