Thursday, March 11, 2010

Citizens of 4F, March 10, 2010

My walk-sprint to the bus stop is successful, and I arrive there several minutes before the bus arrives.

As I relax against the back wall of the enclosed shelter, and my mind becomes slow and receptive, a street appears in my experience of mind——as with all experiences, it is a mixture of sensory data coming in from eyes and ears and skin, plus memory, plus subjective feeling.

It is Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, between Third St. and Fourth St., at 5:33 pm on March 10, as experienced by myself.

This street that appears in my experience is utterly unique, and will never appear again. At no other time will the light and overcast weather be exactly the same; never again will the melting ice and snow create exactly the same sculptural shapes on the sidewalks; never again will my own mood and memory and outlook be exactly the same.

This street, utterly unique and temporary, appears nowhere else but in my mind. For no one else is this street exactly the same as the one I experience. The fellow standing next to me——although he might see a few details that resemble the details in my own experience of the street——is experiencing a different street than I am. Perhaps his emotional day has been such that the street seems terribly dreary and foreboding, not the mysterious and symbolic street that I am experiencing right now. Perhaps his hearing is much more acute than mine; perhaps he has more perceptive sense of color, and sees a more vibrant display in the reflected lights of the wet pavement.

Not only is my street unique to me, but in the very next moment, I will myself experience an entirely different street, as when the bus pulls up to the curb, there will be a glad urgency to get home to a warm supper followed by relaxed time spent reading or planning the spring garden. Slight differences in sight and sound and smell and memory and mood will create an entirely new experience. In fact, merely noticing what I am currently experiencing causes it to vanish and be replaced by a new experience.

This is the nature of all phenomena, all experiences. They occur only in our minds, they are utterly unique and belong to us alone, and they are instantly vanishing in the very same moment they first appear.

Depending on your outlook, this realization can be quite terrifying, or it can be jubilantly freeing.

That too, may change moment to moment.

No comments: