[Photo — The opening, the lines (telephone lines) of communication at the bottom, carry the stories — they ‘tell’, leading from somewhere behind the perceiver from the past, to somewhere in the future. While the perceiver can’t be seen, but only sees, looking into the gap of not-knowing…]
Practice Notes: I love a dramatic sky — undulating, dark-metal clouds that seem supported by white billows, like white smoke hugging the horizon; rain hissing, leafless branches scratching and scraping, pines a waving — warm and cozy observer, observing a gray day world.
I ask, “Where’s the self?” Suddenly, I’m self-conscious, aware of a cozy, warm feeling at odds with what’s out there. I’m aware of a flurry of action from nowhere, separate from what’s seen their and felt here, as I catch myself narrating what’s being observed as moments pass. I’m naming and ordering the words, evaluating their order and position, testing what is felt, determining if the feeling experienced is good and comforting, it engenders the desire to prolong and continue, I’m writing it in my head, an attempt to capture.
So the answer to my question seems to be, “I don’t know where the self is, but I am sensing things.” I recognized a process going on, but see no one orchestrating this unfolding, yet I feel sensory input. I notice that input, (sound, visual, tactile, etc.) is not fixed, it can’t be held. It’s there for a fraction of an instant and wiped or replaced with different input, different emphasis, that seems, at first not connected, then connected along a line, like the sound of a broken record, there’s a gap or discontinuity between the next continuous parts, as I recall what I can of the previous instant. I know the readings say the memory provides the continuity for our conventional understanding, but watching closely like this, I also see gaps, the self activity and moments fade in and out, incomplete in there formations, there are shadows in my depth, even in the midst of this beautiful scene – everything is shifting.
But then the self-process asserts and I remember some of the impressions from the prior moment, and I point to that concept as me, “There I am.” But wait, that’s an image of what I was, not what is now. I keep trying to catch myself this way, like a dog chasing his tail, round and round…
And I realized, that moment at the beginning, of just ‘loving the dramatic sky,’ there was no narrator, or concept of an objective self, I hadn’t recognized myself as perceiver yet, until I divided into a warm and cozy bystander. The ‘self-process‘ of narrating, interpreting, and looking back on a conceptual self hadn’t yet started to follow the initial perception. That instant of love and connection with what was suddenly seen was almost infinitesimal and intimate. Then, I isolated myself, while looking to bridge the gap of my isolation – attempting to complete the circle of conventional knowing. — David