It’s a beautiful day, clear and sunny. I’m surrounded by tropical forest and there’s an infinity pool filled with clear warm water only a few steps away. The carpet of trees stretches far into the distance, up a mountain where you can see a tiny temple at the summit.
But I’m not paying attention to any of that – at least not right now. I’m still sitting at the table next to the pool, thinking. About what exactly? I don’t remember. But whatever it was, it seemed more important at the time than the scenery, the beauty of the nature, the water and everything else.
I’ve taken a microdose of a psychedelic and probably slightly too much. I likely have some serious INTJ death glare going on – my friends would joke that I am in “serious land”.
Suddenly I hear a friend shout –
“Aaron, life doesn’t happen inside your head – come get in the pool!”
I realize he’s right – and my multi-layer abstracting mind sees this is a metaphor for all of life.
Come get in the pool – come experience life directly.
My friend is always good for this. While we share many things in common, he’s a martial artist and naturally more involved in his physical sensations and direct experience than I am. He’s constantly pulling me out of my head and into the pool and it’s one of the reasons I love him.
If you’re like me and you like to think a lot, you need someone like this. You also need to do it to yourself, because you badly need the direct experience of life.
You need to breathe fresh air deeply, feel your heart beating, to move your body, be pushed and pulled by emotion, lust, to have sex, to travel to strange places, walk in the mountain and get dirty – you need the experience that takes you out of your head.
There’s a scene in the movie Enter the Dragon where Bruce Lee teaches a young student a Zen parable.
Don’t concentrate on the finger or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory.
“The finger” is symbols, ideas, concepts and abstractions. Instructive, useful, and even beautiful they may be – but they are not the real thing.
The “heavenly glory” is nothing but direct experience as a human being. What you experience when you are present, when you engage with what is happening to you and through you in the immediate moment with the least amount of intermediary possible.
When you are flowing through sensation, emotion, sight, sound and even thought – that is heaven. That’s where meaning comes into life, that’s where the value is and where you find truth.
You’ll find yourself with the choice between the finger and the moon – between the abstraction and the real thing. In that moment, do what my friend did for me. Pull yourself out of your head and into the swimming pool.