A dream (cue dreamy music):
“I was walking down a path in a misty forest and I came to a gate. A man at the gate said, ‘Correct, go in. Incorrect, stay out.’ I nodded agreement and the man said, ‘What is greater than God, more evil than the devil, the poor have it, the rich need it and if you eat it, you’ll die?’
I didn’t know. I said nothing.
And the man said, ‘What is between Earth and moon?’
‘Nothing?’ I said—as if it were a question.
And the man said, ‘In our universe even a dark void of empty space absent of particles is still something,’ and in a blink, ten years passed—which seemed long (as far as blinks go).
And the man said, ‘All matter is made of atoms and sub-atomic particles ruled by probability—not certainty. You consist of particles. Particles hover in a state of uncertainty, but you don’t. You remain solid. Why is that?’
‘Your experience of the world is constructed by sensory and cognitive capacities. Your understanding of reality is a mental representation—not reality itself—but you can experience reality directly and enjoy it immensely with a shift in perspective.’
‘Instead of thinking of yourself as a being in a world ‘out there’—as in, ‘me in a world outside me’—assume a more universal less egocentric perspective. Let your feeling of self extend.’
(The man was clearly insane.)
‘The universe is defined as, “the totality of existing things…. everybody, all people, the whole world… all together, all in one, whole, entire, relating to all… turned into one…. One.”
And the man gave instructions for cosmic reflection:
‘Step One: let your senses fall victim to being here and now as it is. Be here as here being here. Feel the feeling of here. Be here like any other creature self-aware.’
‘Step Two: look at the space between things as connective. An invisible nothing connects everything into one big thing. We are as nothing—like spirits here and gone but we have one thing the universe needs to exist: Conscious awareness. Without conscious awareness, there is no reality. Reality rests on whether or not there are eyes open.’
And suddenly reality is the dream and the dream is reality.
And the man said, ‘You might wonder what’s going on in someone’s mind, but what is mind?’
And I said, ‘Your brain is a physical substance. It contains billions of neurons relaying electrical signals. Your mind is a product of signals fed by energy from the sun consumed in the form of plants and animals (aka food). Everything is entangled. Like Oliver Swofford said, “Glibby gloop gloopy. Nibby Nabby Noopy, La La La Lo Lo.”‘
And the man said, ‘How do you define a shoreline? Is it water or sand?’
It is both. (Duh.)
And the man ignored my belligerence and said, ‘The inner workings of your mind wash over the shore as you shape and mix yourself with the world.’
‘Our experience of self interconnects with the world. One’s inner world is relational to the outer world. We think of our mind as a brain inside a skull like a peanut in a shell. We all feel alone. Sometimes we might even think we don’t belong, but peanuts cannot be separated from the immediate world. Likewise, if you see your mind and the world as relational, there’s a shift in a sense of belonging.’
‘Subjective worlds interact with objectivity. It’s difficult to disentangle a subjective view of the world from its interaction.’
‘Your mind is not simply the perception of experiences, but those experiences themselves.’
To sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists, our minds are extended by the effects we have on others and others on ourselves.
Thoughts are ethereal. Cloud-like. Invisible. Spiritual? Thoughts are gaseous abstractions floating. We are alone in conscious awareness but our minds are not just brain activity. Perceiving your mind as a product of brain functioning can make a person feel all alone but to appreciate the benefits of interrelations with the world, all one has to do is open one’s mind to receive it “as is” without ambition or critique.
Einstein perceived space and time as interwoven into a single continuum known as space-time. In space-time events occurring at the same time for one observer could occur at different times for another (source).
If life is a full-bodied movie involving five senses, memories are flashbacks and time itself is but an emotional fourth dimension you can move around in with some imagination.
Just enjoy it.