When we are young, we are so full of life. But life demands life. It’s never enough, so we hunger for more. We hunger for it, and so we consume it, all of it that we can get our hands on. Until it kills us.
But before it kills us, we reach a halfway point, a moment of time where we are satisfied. We have experienced and understood and grown from enough of it all to reach a nirvana, if you will, where our hunger finally quiets to a memory and we can enjoy every ounce of each second we are living in. Truly experience it 100% for the first time.
It doesn’t last-Life demands that it continue passing through us whether we want more or not.- but for a moment, a glorious transcendent heartbeat of a moment…we can put down our implements and stretch. We can sigh in satisfaction and just be.
In this state we can finally look up and observe the world around us in all it’s intricacies and breathtaking performances. Each miracle, each mystery, each detail from the obvious to the invisible, from the important to the more important to the commonly misunderstood. We can watch each second inhale the breath of life from the exhale of the last.
In this state we can see for the first time what it truly is to be a cog in reality, or existence, or whatever you want to call that great machine. We can see too, what it means to be a machine in our own right, made of smaller classes of cogs, and so on. It’s all connected. It’s all one. The farthest edges of opposite sides of the universe are only as separated from one another as are the tips of your thumbnails. Still connected. One entity united in common identity if only you look with the proper perspective.
So, before this moment, stretching back as far as birth to now, we were never really hungry for life. Not really. After all, how can you expect to gain anything new from consuming parts of yourself?
That would be like watching a perfectly enclosed reservoir collecting droplets of its own condensation dripping off the ceiling and expecting the water level to rise because of it.
What we were really hungered for was perception. Realization of identity and ultimate purpose.
We were looking for the freedom in the fetter, the view inside the painting, rapture in the melody, the glow behind the eyes, the ghost in the machine.
Throughout our history men have glimpsed this view and hid from it, afraid that admitting we are not islands will rob them of their freedom to accept and reject different parts at their leisure. There can be no freedom in a land-locked state of interconnection, they’ve told themselves. As though all islands weren’t connected to each other anyway, once you took away the misdirection of the waters.
The truth, that such association is actually the means of ultimate freedom is ironic. The truth that there is no greater freedom than this fetter is so well hidden as to sound ridiculous, yet so obvious even the wind ignores the chains links while it passes through them with a laugh.
As I said, this vista doesn’t last. It cannot. Such a view is only at the summit, the peak between the hungry and the overfed. The needy and the needless. After that we continue-by then we have forgotten how to stop!-and absorb more and more from life until the medicine that sustained us becomes the poison that destroys us;or at least our shells. But even then we remain in place in the great machine that was and is and will be, this circle without a beginning or an end. We remain a part of this everything.
Now then, why does this matter? Because if there is anything bad in our world, it is a part of us and it shouldn’t be. Like a sickness that an immune system has a duty to cleanse from the body, we have a duty as members of this united existence to do our best, trying to help the collective while not losing sight of the importance of the individual pieces. Learning how to do that, I think, might be one of the greatest things possible.