*

Is there any real difference between me and anything else? Am I separate from the world? Do I stand apart from it?

Sometimes I believe that I do.

But I am more and more convinced that this feeling is a side-effect of my conscious mind. I am beginning to see my body as intertwined with the world around it, integrated and integral to the whole. I live my life just like a bee in a hive, dancing to the music of physics and biology, awash in a cascade of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, electrical charges, a seething sea of physiological triggers and responses to data input from a sensory system designed to keep almost everything out because there is simply too much information for any biological system to utilize it all, and everything I do is automated, determined by the laws of physics and the limits of my own processing power, and my conscious experience of this is further circumscribed radically by the narrowing and winnowing of even the tiny trickle of information that penetrates the sensory organs, because, really, I can’t pay conscious attention to how my liver processes toxins in my bloodstream, can’t track consciously the state of every system, organ, tissue, and cell in my body, nor the numberless ways they interact, individually and systemically, so I am left a prisoner inside a tiny cell through which only a little light makes its way, and inside that cell I am also sitting inside an even smaller locked box which is my conscious experience of the world, and in that tiny box I don’t get any raw data at all, but just a kind of cartoon show put on for my by my own brain, a show that is sufficient for me to have a sense of being alive and of interacting with an environment, but that is no more reflective of what’s “really out there” than a child’s drawing of a house, and of course it’s no wonder that I am all the time making errors about the true nature of reality. I haven’t the first clue. And I need my tiny cell, and the box I’m in inside of that, because if you dumped “me” into the raw data it wouldn’t make any sense at all to me. It would be the same as nothingness, the ground of being.

It’s important to remember that everything I feel and think and believe and experience and hope for or dread is, on a very real and tangible level, a fantasy, a trick played on me by my brain.

Isn’t it?

*

Maybe it isn’t.

*

But I can’t shake this feeling that I am a bee in a hive. The same systems are at work in my body and the body of the bee. The exact same systems. The same physical laws rule us both. Our DNA is the same, just ordered a tiny bit differently. Maybe I have a richer interior life, but maybe not. Maybe it’s the other way round. Like life in a hive, my life is ceaseless activity that seems mindless at one scale, makes sense on another scale, then goes back to mindless seeming on a yet larger scale.

My emotions are regulated by the same biochemical processes that drive respiration or reflex movement.

*

Maybe that means that the terrible things I feel and experience are not terrible in and of themselves.

Maybe the good ones, too.

*

But that’s not my experience of them.

Nor can it be.

*

Good things are good. Terrible things are terrible.

I’m willing to live with this belief, even if it’s wrong.

*

Namaste.

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