The world exists only as it is revealed through our senses.
And my senses are so believable.
I’m missing something when I think about consciousness, especially when I try to make the leap from duality thinking to non-duality understanding. My life is so real to me, so definable, touchable, feelable. And consciousness, that divine non-duality consciousness, is something I vaguely know, occasionally touch in meditation, and which I define mostly on an intellectual level as I listen to sages and philosophers.
Meanwhile, my slice of life – the feelings and events of my own days – are deeply imprinted in my mind and body. Let me give a small example. Dad called last night. I’ve come to admire him over the last few years, though it wasn’t always so. Growing up, I was Mom’s pal, her biggest fan, still am. For the longest time Dad was just that man in the house who annoyed me with his conservative politics, his hunting and his assumed male privilege – if he sat, someone female would come by and serve him a cup of coffee, someone like my mother, who never fully embraced the equality of women. Not me, except under duress, and then I’d make sure the coffee arrived with a frown. I begin to digress, but do you see my point? We had a great deal to argue over, and we did.
He called last night after spending the day with my mother at rehab, helping her through her fourth stay, her fourth repaired bone in three years, this one a hip; they’re 90 years old now, and he takes care of the household for the most part with mom doing as much as she can but not nearly what she did for all those years before. I see the layers of their marriage these days, layers hidden to us kids for most of our lives, layers of caring for each other, of knowing each other completely and loving each other all the more because of it.
He called to give me an update on Mom’s progress – slow but coming along; she’ll be home in a few weeks, but it was a rough day at the rehab facility. Mom was feeling low, tired, wanted him to take her home, didn’t have the motivation to do another day of therapy, another day of not being able to walk to the bathroom without help. Dad and I talked, but mostly I listened as he went through the day, and especially, his concerns that Mom might give up. And that, we all know, is the end for someone 90. That giving up. I reminded him of her previous stay in rehab and how she, as anyone would, had ups and downs as she got through that. Our conversation roamed a bit to other things, to Dad’s charity work, to my garden, and to my niece, his granddaughter, enjoying the truck he just gave her. All good things in the world.
“Thanks,” he said as he was hanging up. “I was feeling low, and I feel a lot better now.” I could hear the change in his voice, sense the truth of it.
How often do you have a chance like that, to give a gift of comfort, to someone you love? Maybe more often than we know. Maybe not.
But that’s our slice of life, that love, that bond, and it is powerful. It fills the heart. It’s definable, touchable, feelable. It’s real. And when the feeling is good, I want it with all my being. I want to hold it, capture it − I reach out for it.
And divine consciousness of non-duality?
Can it offer something equally as palpable? As compelling?
Sometimes I think it can, and I want it, too, non-duality with its limitless knowing, and also my world, so limited by the senses.