160929-infiniteMacrocosm to microcosm. The video:

A quick zoom out to interstellar regions, galaxies collapsing into pinpricks behind you. On this scale, looking back across billions of light years, everything humanly knowable is annihilated. Immensity beyond comprehension.

Then zoom back in. Star system, solar system, planet. Closer and closer, diving into a human eye, through the retina to the vascular to the atomic, traveling past the electron shell to the nucleus. A matryoshka doll of universes. Palm-sized infinities. Granular worlds.

One viewer comments, “How important am I really?” and the obvious answer is “Way, way, way less than not at all.”

So point made.

But not accepted.

In 1996, neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor had what the shamans might call an ecstatic experience. Her left hemisphere went offline, and since that’s where the “me” resides, she was instantly unable to distinguish herself from her environment. The palm of her outstretched hand and the tile wall of the shower she happened to be standing in merged, and shortly she became “like a genie released from her bottle,” limitless.

Surgery repaired Taylor’s brain, but she never recovered from the stroke-forged awareness that we really are, in the words of Dr. Bronner’s famous soap label, “All-One,” part and parcel of everything that is. Hence the title of her TED talk, “My Stroke of Insight.”

Not to make comparisons, but my own boundaries are less distinct these days than they were when I Was a Teenage Asshole. I’m less competitive, less comparative. How big or how small I might be relative to this or that person, place, thing or idea isn’t nearly as interesting as it used to be.

The monkey mind objects, of course, and vehemently. He bares his sharp, yellow teeth, flings his poo at the wall, and screams, “All-one, my hairy ass! I’m me! Meeeeee!!”

Bad monkey.