When all the figures sound retreat, the soft skin starts to shrivel. When dreams made real become less sweet, the orchid and the metal…My eyes burn and claws rush to fill them. But in the morning after the night, I fall in love with the light. It is so clear, I realize that now at last I have my eyes. – Genesis P-Orridge
Guess what? You have never touched anything. The human nervous system is akin to a power plant that provides electricity to a sprawling metropolis. Neurons in the brain and CNS communicate via electrical impulses creating a wave of pulses that act upon the senses and form a literal electromagnetic field around the body’s exterior. This field may or may not be responsible for the phenomenon of visible auras but it is generally invisible. Since the interactions between the electromagnetic field and objects of the physical world result in tactile sensations, the nature of which depend on the pressure exerted by the object’s own invisible electrical skin, we go through life unaware of this powerful but infinitesimal barrier. Hence, we think that we are gripping a steering wheel, caressing our lover’s face, or petting our dog when, in fact, it is only our electromagnetism that is making contact.
Mankind’s premier folly is its pursuit of security and grounding. This time honored wild goose chase is responsible for all of our anxieties and misguided efforts to reach a futile goal. It inspired us to imagine that our bodies are inhabited by indestructible souls for whom experience will change but never end. This is the delusion of perpetuity and the efforts it inspires form a perpetual feedback loop that blinds us to the reality of the inherent emptiness and impermanence of all things.
A few years ago, I attended a Dharma retreat conducted by the brilliant Anam Thubten Rinpoche. I am going to share a simple but profoundly intimidating guided meditation from that event.
Have a seat. How you sit is unimportant; it could be the lotus position, cross-legged or in a chair; just keep an upright but comfortable posture. Close your eyes. Concentrate on every point of your body that is “touching” something else – your knees, feet, butt, hands — spend a few moments feeling each point of contact individually. Now envision in your mind all of the visual phenomena in your immediate environment. One by one, allow these things to fade from your mind’s eye until you are picturing only yourself, suspended in empty space but still grounded, feeling the supportive points of contact. As you did with the visual details, imagine each sensation of support slipping out from under you: the floor, the chair, and so on. Applying some real world physics to your imaginary journey, understand that you are no longer supported by anything. You are not suspended in empty space; you are falling, tumbling through it with no ground anywhere below you, nothing to grasp above you. Perhaps your gut registered panic as it would if you were to step off the edge of a tall building. Let that be. Allow yourself to feel panic arising from the sensation that you are in an infinite free-fall. If you have the stomach to remain in this mental space long enough, the panic will surely dissipate. At that point, you will have finally experienced for one fleeting instant existence in its truest, most basic and egoless form. It’s frightening, exhilarating and ultimately, it kicks open the door to Samadhi.
You are impermanent. Now is eternal. You are only this moment. You are eternal until your metamorphic nature causes that infinite you of the moment to evaporate, a process you can watch from your vantage point in never ending now-ness. Eternalism and nihilism annihilate each other like a snake eating its tail. When Mind detaches from body, it never thinks of perpetuation or the erection of defenses to that end. It has no safety hatch and would never desire one since its egoless nature has nothing to protect. Now you know what god feels like. Now god knows what you feel like. This was accomplished by the simple act of forgetting all of the illusory ideas that view “you” and “god” as a duality. Heaven is where you sit.