Excerpted from the upcoming book by P.D. Lapinsky
Your Private Prison
Perhaps at some point during your life you’ve had the feeling that, in some way, your life could be more. Actually, it’s pretty much a given that at some point in your life you’ve wanted more. Perhaps you’ve felt that you weren’t living the kind of life you want to live. Something was missing. Maybe many things. Well, this is a pretty steady facet of the human condition.
But, perhaps the more that you desired extended beyond what you could acquire, or any of the typical experiences that one experiences, or that were available to you. Your desire for something more could not be satisfied regardless of any action you took, any decisions you made, any friends you had, any relationships, any goods or possessions. With it all, there was still something missing. And, on a certain level, you weren’t going to fill whatever that void was; not by any conventional means.
Perhaps you looked into mediation, yoga, what-have-you. You took some of it seriously – practiced diligently, stuck to it. But, even in that case, beyond any fleeting tranquility, you were more or less back where you started. Some level of dissatisfaction remained.
This is – actually – as it should be. Thirsting for something more – given the current state of what we refer to as the ‘human condition’ – should be a given. Being satisfied with the superfluous, with fleeting pleasures, a taste of serenity here and there, is hardly a complete existence. It is existing as if you were the shell of an entity, instead of the entity in its entirety. It is being without really being; a cursory type of existence.
Perhaps you have felt this to one degree or another; that what you were was something more than what you had heretofore got to the bottom of; that there was a depth to what you were that you could only sense in a very vague way. It is likely that you could not articulate this in any way that made sense to you.
Well, part of the problem is that it doesn’t make sense; not in the traditional way you use the word. It is, as it were, beyond sense; beyond the senses. It is something else for which you are looking. It does not exist in a book. It does not exist in a class or a course of study. It does not exist in your mind. It is something other.
An amusing distinction in actuality. But, more of that later.
What is the ‘human condition,’ when it really comes down to it? What do we define as central ‘human’ character traits, experiences, conditions, etc.? What does it mean to be human?
Well, as a starting point, perhaps it means to be a conscious entity, currently inhabiting a planet called ‘Earth’ rocketing through space whilst one sits in one’s easy chair watching ‘reality’ television. It could be said that ‘reality television’ has about as much reality to it as your everyday, waking reality. That would be disappointing would that were the case, no?
Anyway, what does it really mean to be human? And…are you human? Stupid question, right? Or, is it? Most certainly you are here…on this planet…doing whatever you are doing at this very moment…having what must, no doubt, be called a ‘human’ experience. But, is that the extent of what you are? Are you flesh, bones, and consciousness…whatever that means? Is all of you contained within your packaging? Or is there something more? Is there something ethereal, ephemeral, that does not conform to the parameters of what you see in the mirror?
Questions worth considering. But why? Why is it worth considering these questions or those like them? Why is it worth questioning the nature of one’s existence? What it means to be human? What it means to be existent? What it means to be a living, respirating entity at this single moment in time?
And what is time? Can you touch it? Sense it in any way? You can sense its reflection perhaps? The gradual degradation of any physical system? Beyond that, what do you sense? That is, without the luxury of a device that informs you what ‘time’ it is? The passage of the sun and moon across the sky? Day turning to night, turning to day? But what does it mean?
Do you exist in linear time? Are you subject to time? Or, is time subject to you? Are you…of time…or are you something more? Is time something of an imposition? Something imposed upon who or what you are? Does time define you?
These questions get you to start looking outside of the box, to get a sense that what you perceive to be your existence, your world, may not be – as it were – the whole picture. Beware of accepting wholeheartedly, without question, information that has been presented to you, or that you have accepted as true at one point or another in your life. Even physicists can’t agree on the nature of reality, on the constitution of the universe – one camp favours quantum theory, another, classical physics; some string theory, and others posit the existence of multiple dimensions and even multiple universes. And these are the best minds in the world coming up with these theories – not just because they’re bored and need something to do, but because we truly don’t know what this ‘world’ is – not in its entirety. We have theories that are quite good at explaining aspects of the physical universe, but as of yet, we don’t have a unanimously agreed upon model that explains how the quantum and the classical, the microcosmic and the macrocosmic work together. But, more of that a bit later.
P.D. Lapinsky www.PDLapinsky.com