there I am, walking down a busy city street, skyscrapers overhead. people, cars, bicycles, birds. it’s all humming.
walking downtown brings to your attention how big a city is. how much goes on every day you’ll never be aware of – it’s too much.
on this day I didn’t notice the activity. was vaguely aware of the buses and lights. my mind was searching inside my body.
what would the city feel like to the spider-like organisms crawling across my skin? what is their shared experience of this moment? what about the simple amoebas swimming through my eyes? what would this look like through their lens?
shift my perspective to the cells that make me up. how much bigger does everything seem?
stepping off a curb, what about the atoms that make up my cells. in that space is the noise of traffic even evident? the distance between myself, the cells that make me up and the particles that make them up seems very close, but in the size-scale of an atom it must be light-years.
looking at the distance to the next block and the people walking past i try not to gauge it from my perspective but from atoms.
one pigeon, small to me, is countless particles. the distance between us mere feet – unfathomably vast.
the space between us also filled with particles. not empty. the whole world is static energy.
I go far enough, everything is connected. a never ending field.
the game for the day is how small can i be and remain aware.
returning home that night the game is long over and off my mind. sit down to meditate and the moment i fold one leg over the other my vision is filled with white light. my body begins to dissolve in glowing particles.
to long term meditators, no longer viewing themselves as a singular thing, dissolving is not unusual. what strikes me is how suddenly it just begins without a thought and the colors.
at first my mind floods with only white light and the buzz of shaken soda fizz. every part of me evaporating into air.
then the white becomes a rainbow hue. by its own design my attention moves smaller, to feel the individual cells dissolve into spectrums of light and color.
there i notice it’s not micro bubbles but squares. i’m pixels. every part of me i think to pay attention to dissipates before my thoughts. birds flying before a running dog.
i don’t chase. watch myself go. notice the distinct sense of everything around me being a hologram.
the next morning i wake up to run and drive to the park. on my way i reflect on feeling myself dissolve into pixels. reflect on the game trying to move my consciousness into the smallest layer of reality, where particles and matter become incoherent.
let the feeling move into me i park.
it’s still early, just after 5am, the lot is mostly empty but the early light is showing.
standing by my truck i watch as a mother and her baby ducks walk straight towards me. the baby ducks swarm around my feet, not even feathers yet, crying, “meep! meep! meep!”
not reacting to them i observe but acknowledge this is weird. i’ve walked near little ducks before and the mother is always very protective. ducks may waddle lazily out of your way but they don’t walk towards you and certainly don’t play falling over your shoes.
they don’t understand what i am.
my mind is still wandering, feeling a micro quantum space. it must change how i feel to them like the in-between. they don’t register me as a person so there’s no automatic program for them to follow.
the babies and mother meep on their way. i make a mental note it was odd and start running.
a mile in i’m passing an open area of lawn next to the lake. far away in the park two ducks start to take flight.
watching them they veer slightly towards me. nothing unusual keep running a few feet.
ducks aren’t changing course. heading right for me.
they must need altitude to fly over me, happened a million times – too late!! i yell out throwing my hands up to shield my face as one of the ducks flies directly into the side of my head!
its foot scrapes my ear as its body slams into me and i taste feathers, maybe the wing, in my mouth.
i fall sideways, spitting, to get away.
the ducks fly off.
shocked i look around to get a sense what happened. two women walking behind me looked startled.
keep running as i try to piece together what would cause a duck to hit an object when it had plenty of time to move.
maybe it didn’t register me either, like the baby ducks. i don’t believe it. the duck hit me hard! my face throbs.
200 feet later a big flying insect flies straight into my forehead. it smacks hard. i saw it flying in a few feet before it hit but they usually buzz on their way – not smack you square on.
i shake my head. this is getting out of hand. sure, it’s not unusual on its own, except i can’t remember being hit by any bugs ever on my runs other than clouds of gnats.
i pick up the pace. this is getting unsafe.
stay at home for the morning as normalcy returns. afternoon comes and i go walking for an errand.
walking is a chance to shift out of work mode. i drift back into the micro space but mindful of the duck i pay more attention.
standing at a corner there’s a white car pulling in front of me just behind the crosswalk. their light turned red and they want to turn right.
the crosswalk signals go so i take a step out in the street. the car starts creeping forward. few more feet directly in front of it now.
that’s when i hear the engine rev and see out of the corner of my eye its accelerating for the turn.
with me right in front of it.
i leap sideways just enough for the car to come under me as i land with my butt half on the hood. slamming both hands down i look up as the car just as suddenly stops.
expecting to find a single driver who was too distracted looking at oncoming traffic to notice a pedestrian walking in front i find instead… a car FULL of eyeballs.
eyeballs now so big you’d think they saw a ghost that came out of nowhere! the woman in the passenger seat sits, frozen in shock, with her mouth hanging open like they just hit bigfoot.
three passengers in the back seat are leaning forward all with the same expression – eyes shooting out of their heads and mouths hanging open like a cartoon.
standing for a moment staring at them. i don’t believe it. five people.
a car full of five people and nobody said stop?
the driver is frantically waving his hands. i can see him yelling, “Sorry! Sorry! I’m so sorry!” from the closed windows.
i’m baffled, but unhurt. i give a reassuring wave, shake my head and point at my legs so he knows how close he got. had i not been paying attention he would have hit my legs and bent my knees sideways.
other pedestrians pass me, with one Australian commenting, “good on ya mate.”
i don’t know what that means. except it is good.
safely back on the sidewalk i burst out laughing. all in the same day. ducks, bugs and now cars! it’s crazy but confirmation. i’m happy.
back when i first started meditating my mind, as many may do, stretched outward.
out across planets and galaxies, far across the universe looking at pictures from Hubble trying to get a sense of all that is.
expanding awareness went the same. feel down a street, into a building, across a country and over the world.
and though i gave it little attention i recognized it’s like a circle: whether you go out very large, or go in very small, they both seem to reach the same point.
always more to discover.
so for the budding explorer of quantum awareness take note:
subatomic particles don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars. or ducks. thats an experience unique to our stratus of reality.