A life is what we experience…each and every one of us…we experience: a life.
The feeling of being alive in the world: this is a primarily mental thing…the experience of a physical body in dimensional space. We exist as a field of potentially focused awareness within muffled sensations of enfolded flesh. Our bodies are experienced as alternately tensed and relaxed musculature, interiority, a certain visceral fluidity, and – as a result of our skeletal frame – with a sense of rigidity upon which our more subtle experiences are hung.
For the most part, we experience our consciousness as a focused awareness somewhere behind our eyes. It sort of hovers there in a nebulous space within our heads, even while it is continuously connected via sense impressions to the outside world. In addition to the somatic sensations of being within a tunnel of skin, much of our experience consists of the exchange between these sensory inputs and our thoughts.
We can recall a sequence of events…memories…moments really – instants of time. There is a series of them. They extend backward in an imagined space within us that we conceive of as an inner temporal dimension. Those slivers of memory are severely limited in number, when compared to the seemingly countless moments of time we experience.
When we scan back through the mental recreation of our memories, the ones that have been with us the longest are faded – at some point they simply disappear into the fog of half-remembered childhood. They are all we have, really, to pinion our sense of existence within a murky insubstantial past.
Of course, our identity – who we think we are – is intimately wrapped up in these early memories. They – as we are – are works in progress, for we embellish them and add to them, even as they are slowly diminished by the erasure of forgetfulness.
And so it goes, these aspects of being…being alive…are not typically our concern. We take for granted the most mysterious and inscrutable parts of our existence. This is probably why these impressions are so difficult to describe in everyday language. Volumes of philosophy, psychology, physiology, and neurology are dedicated to simply coming to terms with the most essential aspects of describing what it is like to have human life – even while billions of us experience it directly every day.
We are on a journey together now. A little at a time, we are reflecting upon our experience on a very basic level and seeing how this experience, common to us all, has the potential of uniting us not only with various aspects of ourselves, but to all of nature, the world, and the universe at large.
Image: “a life” by Tullio DeSantis, digital image, 2010.
YouTube Video: “The Wonder of You” by Deepak Chopra.