I sometimes wonder at the reason for things. It could be anything, whatever catches my mind for a while and allows me to submerge myself in thinking on the subject. My trade as a trucker allows me a great amount of time to do just this, and I've indulged myself shamelessly.
I've reflected on the condition of physicality. We are all physical beings, that goes without saying, but why. That basic question has been the bane of my existence, keeping me in a perpetual state of the child asking why. I cannot do higher math, and I don't think it's because I'm incapable. It seems to me that at some point one must accept certain postulates in order to progress to higher levels. Instead of accepting these postulates, I get stuck on the why and finally chuck the whole proposition.
I'm fascinated by physicality. We are composed of elements, compounds, and various other more exotic combinations of physical materials. How is it we experience and perceive so many things? Feelings, thoughts, sensations cascade through our minds and bodies. When we lie in the sunlight we experience the warmth as a pleasurable sensation. Does a rock also experience the same pleasure? How does the sea experience the sensation of being converted into vapor and rising to become a cloud?
Our bodies are a marvel of complexity. Each of us is a self contained chemical factory, manufacturing necessary compounds from raw materials we take in. We experience pleasure in that acquisition, the joy of eating. To duplicate the ability of our body's ability to create amazingly complex substances would bankrupt many small nations. We possess this complexity and it cost to us was nothing, other than the twinkle in our parents' eye.
Our bodies are also electrical generators, creating current which transmits signals to our muscles and nerves. Without this current we would be incapable of movement, speech, sight, any of our functions.
We are composed of more than flesh. There is a mental component, and a spiritual one as well. Our physical selves are acted upon by various forces and energies, allowing the essential being we each are to experience different sensations.
We tend to view things in terms of superlatives. Our first flight, our first kiss, our first broken bone, all stand out in our experience like stones standing stationary within the flow of a stream. Instead of marking these major events, perhaps our goal should be to savor every occurrence. We are surrounded, indeed immersed, in an ocean of experience. It is up to us to draw the most from each one.
I think I'm advocating a style of wallowing in physicality without surrendering totally to its seduction. To surrender would be the definition of hedonism, pursuing pleasure for the sake of itself. Instead I prefer to take each thing as it comes, savoring it as much as possible, then releasing it.
While we each usually avoid experiences which are painful, we can acknowledge that even the painful things in our lives bring an intensity, a focus usually missing from our everyday existence. In that light, pain is not an absolute negative but rather a mixed blessing. We can be grateful for having had the experience and for having survived it.
I imagine I'm much like everyone else in our society. I'm driven to complete a series of supposedly important tasks each day, sometimes to the point I'm oblivious to my surroundings. I forget to savor my coffee, smell the scent of the flowers, reflect on the blueness of the sky in the day, or its darkness at night. In order to complete my tasks, I wall myself away from experiencing so many things in this amazing smorgasbord we live in every day.
Our senses may be a gift to us, one which allows us to interface and interact with the physical world. Imagine the process by which certain molecules when drawn into our noses excites either pleasure or displeasure. Then imagine these molecules whisking us away into the land of memory, almost reliving certain events long past. The scent of baby powder taking an old woman instantly back to holding her newborn child.
Each sense we have can do the same thing. A taste of something which transports us back to our Mom's kitchen. Hearing a song from the long ago that instantly recalls a mood, capturing us within the ghost it invokes.
It is hard to quantify our experiences in comparison to other living creatures. Do other animals experience the same depth of sensation as we? We know that some animals exhibit emotion at certain events. Our inability to communicate draws a veil over knowing how much we share with them in the depth of our experiences.
A step farther removed is the experience of inanimate objects, such as the rock mentioned earlier. It is heated, cooled, and washed by the elements much the same as we ourselves are. Does it experience pleasure at the warm sun, pain at the freezing cold of winter, tiredness at the constant erosion it undergoes?
We are locked into these physical bodies, captured in the stream of time, committed to the journey all the way to the end. Some postulate that they have had out of body experiences (OBE), free from their physical selves for a time. I cannot either accept or deny that possibility. Quantum theory to me is condensed into the idea in a universe where anything is possible, anything is possible.
What I do know is this: we are all on a journey from we know not where to an uncertain destination. This of course begs for the entrance of the subject of faith. The religions of the world endeavor to explain the origin and the destination of our journey. I happen to subscribe to one particular branch of belief, but the fact remains I don't and can't know until I pass through the veil. I know what I believe and I know why I believe, and that's sufficient to empower me to continue.
I think my job at this point is simply to enjoy the trip, to marvel at the magnificence of this gift of physicality.