This past Saturday, I had a massage therapy appointment.  I am pretty new to massage, and finding it valuable for several reasons; apart from physical health, one of them is that it helps reconnect me to reality, physical reality.  It reminds me of the idea that I am a physical body living in a physical world; that the things around me are real, substantive, objective, and in a fundamental sense, I am too.

I’ve been having this kind of thought with some frequency lately; noticing a thing, and then feeling the reminder come to me that it is real, an actual thing that exists in the world.  Late Sunday afternoon I was driving to my parents’ house to visit, just before proper evening, when the sun was not quite set and so the sunward sides of the hills were still bright, but the valleys and shaded sides were withdrawing into an early nightfall; everything soft-edged and subtle, fall colors muted toward the shades of darkness.  High wispy cloud-veils strewn across the sky, silken-white up in the vault of heaven, burning red in the west with the sun casting fire from behind.  There is one place where the road runs straight for a while along the high north wall of a broad valley, and you can see the hills stretching on for miles out westward if you are going that way.  That evening the sun was setting straight into those hills, and it was a sight to behold.  I slowed to a crawl on the road, just so I could watch it a little while longer (and thankfully no other cars in sight to force me along).  It was spectacular, singular, awe-ful.  And I found myself thinking again:  this is real.  The sun, the light, those clouds, these trees — all of it is real.  Not just scenery, those things are really out there, and would be whether or not I was here to look at them.  They are independent of me, they have their own circles in the world I belong to, they are true, they are real.

Last night was a little rainy as I was finally heading home, after attending taiji class and inefficiently wandering a grocery store.  I thought briefly about it again; this is rain, there is water in the sky, and it is falling out of it, running away over the pavement.  Again, this is a real thing, and I get to see it.

Maybe this seems like a very strange kind of thought to some of you, my kind readers; maybe it seems just self-evident that, you know, there’s stuff in the world, physical things.  In a way, yeah, of course it is.  Maybe it is so ordinary and self-evident that it just doesn’t seem worth thinking about.  But these thoughts keep coming back to me, these reminders of the physical world, the physical reality I live within and am part of.  I think I need to become a little more aware and accepting of this reality; I live so far inside my own head sometimes, I have no regard for my body moving through the world, it fades in importance — the me-that-is-mind trumps the me-that-is-body and the world-that-is-embodied.  But without that embodiment, there would be no mind.  There would be no me.  And the way I take care of my physical self, my embodiment, also shapes and supports my mind, my thoughts, my feelings, my intuition, those realms I swim in perhaps more often and more deeply than I think is quite typical for human people.  Perhaps it is simple hubris, but I think I do have more comfort, more awareness than many people of what’s spiritual, what’s mental, what’s ethereal and intangible, the parts of “reality” that are not physical; maybe the price of that is a more fumbling, faltering grasp on the parts of “reality” that are physical and tangible, but no less important, no less real.  Maybe I need to lean on that side of the balance, learn to become more aware of the physical, more appreciative, more aware of its lessons and demands.  More able to acknowledge myself as a body in the world that is embodied.  A person, a thing that is, in all ways and respects, real.


3 comments so far

  1. Divine Bird Jenny on

    I understand exactly what you mean, and this is beautifully put. It makes me want to write something. Mind if I riff off this idea?

    This may be one of my favorite posts, ever. Anywhere.

    • stitchesandwords on

      By all means, write away :)

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by divinebird, Cris Cramer. Cris Cramer said: Thinking about reality. […]

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