The experience of a guided meditation (which may not have been what it was called, but is what I have dubbed it) was nothing short of psychedelic. It has been a few days and I have ruminated on some things, getting a clearer understanding of them, while others that were so immediate the day of the experience seem faded, distant, their original gravity hard to empathize with. What is clear from my recall is that there were three distinct components/segments of the experience, defined not only by the physical mediation of the experience (walking to, sitting, returning from) but also by the frame of mind (and thus the frame of perception).
On the walk to the park, I spent the first several minutes trying to erase my linguistic assumptions/encodings of the world around me. What would it mean to see a car the first time, either just as the archetype of automobile or as distinguishing between car/truck/van/bus? This was incredibly difficult and required most of my attention, leaving little left over for actually minding the sensual experience. After some time I felt I was at least able to see the cars, even if not through a completely uncategorical lens. Where I found it almost impossible to remove preconceptions was with alphabetical imagery. Every sign I saw immediately broadcast its words, seemingly before I even identified the constituent elements (letters, words, syntax). Where a building might be abstracted as a natural if incredibly angular extension of the landscape, the words on signs, curbs, vans, trash all betrayed themselves as artifacts of a codified human linguistic construct. But all of that really just focuses on my eyes.
Just as I could not detect the moment when letters become words/become meanings, I was unable to satisfactorily pinpoint the conversion of movement impetus and muscular engagement. The incredible complexity of locomoting my body seemed to light up my nervous system at every terminus, with no discernible follower or leader. Feet and toes curl to compensate for shifting ground; concrete, grass, gravel, dirt, riverbank, steps, stairs, sidewalks, rocks.
I could smell the exhaust, then the grass, the dust. I sensed smell as it changed, but only when I remembered to remember to smell could I smell that which remained the same. My nose as a transition detector; threshold metrics.
Then I sat.
And I stopped moving. I stopped looking from side to side, up and down. I looked forward, seeing everything and trying not to focus on anything. A flag in the spiral shape of a wind sculpture, a mesh metal fence, a stream, a tree, a blade of grass and its (mill/bill/trill)ion ken. I feel tense muscles and relax them, revealing new tensions so I relax them, revealing new tensions, so I relax them, revealing new…
The light starts to shift at the point of perception -- darks grow lighter, lights go dark, I see the infinite grains that make up my contiguous field of perception, each unimaginably small and constantly in flux, being redrawn, dancing and flickering. I see the light wrapping around tree branches and blades of grass, projecting hard lines where impeded. The shadows become an extension, an integrated whole with the objects that they mirror. The shadow black becomes a grey scale, dozens of shades of black layered and mingling. A man and woman and two small dogs move through the frame of my eyes and I feel them in my body, a wash through my spatial construct of self, pulsing and vibratory. I close my eyes and try to sense them as they pass and I do. I cue from my ears and start forming an image of my space from the sound and I find that it is vivid. The suns warmth seems to envelop me, demanding my attention and recognition. Then the wind, thousands of invisible hands all egging for a shake, a moment of intimate recognition.
And then we reconvene and walk back.
I want to talk about the experience, but find that words seem laughably inadequate. I want to ask why buildings are square when nothing else seems to be in nature, but it sounds trite when I form the words in my mind. So I walk. I see simple details in wiring from house to house, strange worm like beasts that suck in and pass out electricity to power our bizarre lifestyles. Beautiful iron work of leaves. Gradients in
"constant" fields of color. Things I have seen and never looked at. Feelings I have had and didn't recognize, like seeing a color never seen and, failing a word, is simply called red.