1.17.2012

Feeling the Cosmos Seethe

Everyday, all day, there are so many distractions — conference calls and meetings, bills, traffic, people.  We get so wrapped up in our day-to-day nonsense — does she like me? What did that text mean, anyway? I pay how much for cable? Man, that driver's an asshole! Is that a bump on my lip?

It is tempting to succumb to this barrage and begin to think that these are the things that really matter. Maybe they're not distractions at all; after all, this is what life has to offer.  If I can figure out what she means in that text or can let the asshole driver know he's an asshole or if I google that bump on my lip for the next four hours then maybe, just maybe, I'll feel good and be right with the world. 

But, more often than not, these day-to-day thoughts and events are irrelevant anxieties — at least the anxiety is irrelevant.  We — or perhaps I should just say I — expend too much energy a) on things that don't matter in the least; and b) on things that my energy expenditure cannot affect. In both cases, thinking about these things, negotiating these things in the endless babble in my head, is a drain on my vitality.

This is not to say that the day-to-day matters of life don't, well, matter.  Of course they do.  We live in the day-to-day world; we live with our desires and people and drivers and work and bills. We can certainly streamline the amount of bullshit we have to deal with but we'll still have to deal with some of it.

At so least once a day, I try to feel the cosmos seethe.  I try to quiet my neurotic head and feel — know — that I am just so much stuff in the endless mish mash of stuff and that this mish mash is infinite, streaming from the atomic to the cosmic.  All the nonsense of the day falls away like so much sloughed skin or like an ox who, with a shake of his rump, sheds the flies from his hide. 

Now, this is not an earth shattering observation. People meditate. But, to me, this is different.  It's not an emptying of the mind; it's not a stillness.  On the contrary, it involves putting myself in the cosmic swirl, amidst its ebbs and swells, its harmonies and dissonances, its resonances, its complexity.  I imagine meditation to involve a simplification of life (I will be the first to admit that I may be way off on this front). And there's nothing wrong with such a gesture — it's just not what I'm talking about now. What I'm talking about is mixing it up with the delirious complexity of it all, the infinite collisions and collusions, the ricochet and marbling of matter both visible and invisible. 

It's as if I shed my humanity, for an instant, and participate in the world as dust and leaf and am suddenly privy to the infinitely elaborate mechanics of the universe.  It's not that I become nothing; it's that I become this thing amidst the everything. 


5 comments:

Rabino said...

And yet you can sleep after that? I think the day-to-day bullshits are actually designed to keep us away from those anxieties. "An unexamined life is not worth living.", but hell its easier.

Cheers

Jonny Croker said...

Safety in numbers.

jem said...

I look up at the night sky, pick a star and imagine the distance between us - all the dust and nebulae and gravity and energy between us that a little pinhole of light made it through to eventually strike my eye. And how I'm hurling through space on a planet in a solar system that's also hurling through space in a galaxy that's also hurling through space. Suddenly I'm moving in so many directions at once that I get dizzy and feel like I'm falling towards the sky like a leaf on an updraft. It's an amazing, humbling feeling.

Or I consider my atoms - I know very few formed in this neighborhood. Consider the many stars that churned them out, ejected them into the great expanses, and their incredible journey here, just to be a part of the "me" collective for a day or two before I shit them out. No longer "me" but changed by me, like everything and nothing else.

But I agree, all of this helps me clear my head and the resulting sleep is bliss.

Daniel Coffeen said...

@ Rabino: What I enjoy about said seething is that it is not an examination but a succumbing.

@Jonny: that's hilarious.

@ Jem: Beautiful and exactly....you said it better than I did. Thanks.

Jonny Croker said...

I'll try to elucidate, bear with…

Imagine a giant flock of birds, only it's not just birds, it's everything in the cosmos. Everything flies. There is no leader. Things move, and are always moved. We are somewhere in this flock. As a 'thing', one reacts on a very local set of data, but the echoes and resonances of any reaction are proliferated and mutated throughout, so that change also occurs globally. Endless feedback; infinitely elaborate in a bound universe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6nvvFkbRkY

Perhaps practicing individuality need not be the contrived process of continually and consciously going against the crowd. Better, to use the movements of the things around you to inform the speed and timing of your jumps and dives, pirouettes and somersaults, and in turn allow these to be passed on, so that everything is dancing and is danced with.

I think here, one can be part of something much larger and yet not be wholly anonymous. Our style and flourish still mean something, can still make a difference. It may instantly inflected, but so long as we're alive, a little of ourselves is diluted into our universe, and if we do things that are cool and good, well maybe that universe will become more of the type of place we would like to live in. I hope so.