and inside of thinking about god is wondering what it means to be alive at all, and why is everything so goddamned mysterious.
People have all kinds of whys they are absolutely certain are the real whys, but I don’t believe them. The answer to why is not something that I will know is true from logic or explanation, but something I will feel. I’ll experience truth rather than think it, or I think so.
I am 31 years old. I was born on a small island in the Atlantic. Since then things have been confusing, but I’d like to give a report of what I’ve found out about god and about being alive.
The first thing is my awe at being here. What I mean by that is I woke up this morning and looked around. Morning light was flooding in through the window, (or whatever light does, no one’s really sure). I am alive this morning. I have this body. It is breathing. Air is being brought into it and absorbed through lungs. Air is then pushed out, stuff my body doesn’t want. The first thing I do in the morning is see. I have these two exquisite, tiny browny-green jewels in my head that draw in light and make a very good picture for my soul. They can move around and the picture that my soul sees is incredibly good, better than the best photographs in the world ever.
I’m also hearing things and feeling things; Ears and nerve endings, respectively. I can’t smell very well because I smoke tobacco, but I can smell things sometimes, which is when little particles go up my nose and turn into… smells. It’s weird to find I can’t describe a smell as a sensation. It’s like trying to describe the colour red.
I can sense something more too. Before I woke up, I was in a dream. A dream is a thing that is a lot like being alive, in fact I would say that it is a kind of life that you lead in addition to the awake life that you have. In a dream you find a world happening and you respond to it, and it responds to you. The world is almost always stranger than this world and very much more inconsistent. In a dream, I’ve gotten off a subway at a huge boat in the middle of the ocean. The dream world did not think it was necessary to explain how the subway got to the middle of the ocean, or why a boat needed a subway stop.
In a way, I could claim to have done all kinds of shit in my life. Once I was on Venus. Venus has a lot of Russians on it, I can tell you. I’ve seen ghosts. I was shot by a man outside a convenience store. I once met William S. Burroughs. I was once hugged by a blue heron.
I can fly, too.
When you are dreaming, you believe that what is happening is really happening. You don’t think that you are hallucinating or making it up. When I was on Venus, I thought I was really on Venus. What’s interesting is that when you dream, you don’t ask obvious questions like, “How the fuck did I get to Venus? Why am I not asphyxiating? Why didn’t the Russians tell anyone they are on Venus?” It doesn’t occur to you to question reality. There is a variety of dreaming called lucid dreaming when you realize you are awake. These moments feel very powerful, because you sense that you are actually in control of the reality around you. It seems like you can find secrets then.
Lucidity is defined by this little computer as being, among other things, “rational, and mentally clear, especially only for a period between episodes of delirium or psychosis.” I sort of mean that, but I would prefer to articulate “lucidity” as clarity, or an awareness of the context in which one finds oneself. So you are being exceptionally lucid when you say, “I am alive.” You are being exceptionally unlucid when you say, “may I take your order?”
Lucidity means to be aware of a more fundamental reality than is presented, and to be conscious of oneself and recognize the other selves around you. But this is a matter of degrees as well, as it is discovered that knowing the underlying truth is something that goes deeper and deeper as you look.
Anyhow, I’m starting to wander off, it’s been interesting, but let’s return to being alive.
I woke up out of a dream and into this morning, a morning that is holy because it is the only time this morning will ever be, this morning has never been and will never come again. This morning that is the mother of tomorrow morning and the grandmother of the day after that. And I realize very quickly that I wasn’t dreaming, that I was actually alive, and the world was not shifting and changing wildly. Unlike my dreams, it’s as though I can hear the world breathing too. Somehow, I sense life.
Being alive is such a simple fact that it’s significance is mostly taken for granted. The rare time that you hear someone make reference to it is when it looked like they were going to stop being alive but came out in one piece. “I’m alive, I’m alive!” People shout after a car accident or a bomb, and everyone understands they’re amazement and happiness. But if you wake up in the morning and say, “I’m alive!” people will look at you very curiously and say, “yes, you are.”
For me, being alive is a profound thing to be. It seems to me to be an actual miracle. If we define a miracle as an exceptional event that defies what is commonly accepted as ordinary, or an event that is divine in nature, then I think waking up in the morning, being alive and being conscious of being alive, is miraculous.
So I wake up and look outside, and light from the sun floods the world. There’s a big green tree, and wind is waving the big green branches of the tree and it makes a sound between a roar and a hiss. My eyes and ears tell me this, and something in my soul knows that this is not a dream. And I ask, “What’s that tree doing there? What’s a tree doing being a tree?”
Here’s the other significant part of waking up in the morning alive and not dead: for some reason I’m aware of it. For some reason someone inside my eyes and ears, someone inside the neural networks that take in and process the signals sent by these symphonic nerves, is getting all this information, all this incredibly complex technology, and is going, “that’s a tree.” That someone is the awake part, the living part. That is the soul. I imagine the soul to be a giant peeking through a keyhole.
Whoever you are that is reading this, there is an awake part of you that is experiencing these words and their meaning. If for a moment the belief systems, emotional dynamics and other personality structures, (you too, instinct) could be quiet for a second. I would like to say hi to the soul reading this:
This awake, experiencing part is miraculous. It means that life is not mechanical. It means that life is alive. There has always been a movement to prove that life is not awake, that it is a machine, that we are machines. Science, unfortunately, has been guilty of this, as we all know, giving people a disturbing feeling that since all their actions and impressions are controlled and possibly created by complex biological systems, that in the end they are just very strange robots.
Before science, religions around the world pulled the same shit on people. They informed people that their being alive was completely irrelevant unless very specific rules were obeyed, and even then being alive was only interesting insofar as it helped one god or another.
Life has mechanics, but life is not dead like a machine or a statue. That you read this and wonder is all the evidence you will ever need.
So here I am, I’ve proven that I can wake up in the morning and stare out a window. At this point I say,
Then I say,
“Good morning, everything.”
Everything about being alive is amazing. I have a body. Outside there is sky. There are all kinds of beings that are alive like me but are different and not me. And where is the creator? What gave birth to all this alive? And why?
When I was born, when I was a little baby, I was still me. I had the same soul. My personality was totally different. Back then, I was a terrible writer, and I didn’t understand hockey, and I wasn’t a socialist. My interests back then were pooping and staring. Apparently I smiled a lot.
My soul though, was still awake. I probably wasn’t as lucid; apparently it takes a couple of years for a child to distinguish between dreams and reality, which is interesting. I guess over time I got used to the idea of being human, so I went along with it and I got a lot classier once I’d accepted it. I learned that having hands could be amusing, and I didn’t have to pee if I didn’t want to, all kinds of shit.
It’s amazing but at one time my soul was inside something about the size of my finger, and I was probably about as conscious as an acorn. And maybe if my soul had ended up in an acorn, I would have grown to accept being an acorn, and not bothered so much about being conscious of stuff. Which definitely makes me appreciate the notion that a human birth is very precious and not to be pissed around with.
I guess I wonder if at one point in the past I met god, and just forgot with being so busy growing into a human.
I’ve come around to the notion that since I am alive, and that the very existence of existence is essentially a miracle far more profound than dead people waking up or statues bleeding, there must be something even more awake than me that unifies and gives birth to the world. The notion of god, the creator.
I don’t know what god is, or where. I’m pretty sure that somehow god is composed of everything. Things get confusing for me because it’s strange that everything is somehow unified and also somehow separate. There is a me, and there is a world. There is you, and that make you an “other”. For you, I am an “other.”
I don’t really need to answer this question, however. What I think is that god is alive, far more alive, if that’s possible, and awake than I am. Somehow I am part of god, I think. So my next question is, where do I meet god, or how do I meet god? I’ve tried talking to him in my head, but I just end up answering myself and pretending I’m god. The closest I’ve gotten so far is sensing that I’m no longer playing games but am starting to push out into a sense of life that is not based on nerve endings or ideas, but on my sensation of living