Peering Outside/Inside (Moments, Stories, Perspectives).
I did play with the exercises, and as usual I loved the readings. But in the end, all I can think to say this morning seems to reside on the edges of actual practice.
Following up on an exploration of what we might be able to learn about death from life, and about life from the prospect of its ending, I wonder: what might Time, Space, and Knowledge feel like when our foothold in this local time and space, and our individual perspective within it, begins to melt? One day it surely will–the natural consequence of one particular kind of time running its course.
I’ve known several people who died on the operating table, and before coming back they found themselves viewing their own body down below while calmly observing the medical staff talking and reacting to beeping monitors. I believe these reports completely and listen to these stories with fascination. These experiences seem to push the envelope of ordinary space and knowledge. But is ordinary time still playing out moment by moment?
When a lifetime passes before our eyes (as reported by those who have had this experience and have lived to tell their story), it seems that this is evidence for the possibility of accessing another kind of time. (I personally had to be revived from a drowning accident when I was two-years old, and this perhaps accounts for my interest in such matters). This morning I wondered if it is possible to remember aspects of our life that we ourselves were not physically present to witness.
Charles Dicken’s fascinating story about Ebenezer Scrooge (“A Christmas Carol”), suggests this possibility. Scrooge is shown his lifetime from a wider perspective than a simple rewind of his own experiences. He sees how others were affected by his actions, and in this wider recognition (that he has been throwing away the opportunities of a precious human life), something is rekindled, and the frozen repetition of past hurts and fearful self-protections melts in an outpouring of his awakened human heart.
Now that’s the kind of time I want to contact in this very life, while I still have the opportunity to step through the walls erected by a need to protect the claims of the self.