I am the prosecution and the defense, the judge and the jury, the defendant and the trial. I am the truth and the lie. I am the ground of a drama that plays itself out each waking moment, and in my dreams as I sleep. Within me the universe dances its mysterious dance of consciousness and ignorance, awareness and illusion.
From the deep well of subatomic processes, my material self erupts into existence, coiling itself into a double helix, the atomic, molecular substrate of the vehicle I know as “me.” Here the universe reaches into the void and builds itself out of itself as a temporary living material moment in time. In me the universe makes transitory meanings, pronouncements, temporarily gelling into the illusion of permanence. At the same time it experiences the pleasure of being lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of a sailboat, gliding on the constant valence of a hydrogen/oxygen ocean. The ocean inside me vibrates in sympathetic resonance. I sail nowhere and everywhere.
In me, the universe, from time to time, raises its eyes from a narrow, mundane, day-to-day focus and looks into the ocean of the night sky. There, once again, in me, as me, the cosmos experiences awareness and time, a slice through the middle of now, somewhere between the infinitely large and the infinitely small.
“Who am I?” the universe asks itself. Am I a monkey and a man? Am I the torrent of hormones coursing through my veins as emotions? Am I my job, my car, my lover, my friend? Am I my thoughts? Am I the answer to my questions? Am I a point in time and space, trying to know myself from the inside out, or the outside in? Am I the names of things? Am I the meaning in the poems I write to myself?
What amazing experiences the universe has of itself. Plucking an orange from its tree self, it tastes itself in its primate self's mouth, and knows the transitory experience of sweet, juicy pulp. Without me, does the orange know the sweetness of its own taste? If I do not sniff the air, does the Jasmine flower enjoy its own perfume? If I did not know you, would I know my own sorrows and joys?
At the Claremont Village Grill the universe eats a fried chicken dinner self, and looks out the window from a counter seat, where it marvels at the play of color and light. From its limited perspective, it pretends a setting sun bathes everything in rich hues, while primate selves ply the sidewalks like monkey boats, searching for coffee and chocolate.
It is a dizzying dance. One moment my head swirls with the images of stars, and I dream galaxy dreams. In the next instant I fall to earth, and the churnings inside me focus my attention on who is here and who is not, as if possibilities crossed over an unseen line and vanished forever into never’s. Is it strange that “what isn’t” commands our attention as if it were real? What else are memories, but chemical states the body hoards, as if there weren’t enough now’s to go around? It is an amazing trip, when I remember to step out of the chemically conditioned soup I’ve become.I
I look at the world from the cradle of my skull, and try to sense the All-in-all. It is a stardust brain, in a stardust body, focused on the interface of always and never, measuring time with despair and hope, and all the feelings in-between, interwoven through the synaptic tangle of my human primate mind.
I thrill when I remember to experience myself as an interface of soft touches, and waves breaking on the beach; in the sound my brain makes, pretending to wail like seagulls in the wind, or the whhisper of breezes through branches in trees. This is my body, a molecular machine that programs itself to stand up and look around, and eventually, after stripping away gods and certainties, and the tyranny of its self-programmed emotional milieu, to ask itself how it came to be aware in the way it is, and to see itself in every rock and star and blade of grass.
How is it that we are aware; that we are at all? And where will we put our attention next?