I think it must be something to do with the natural opiates that are released when working out, but when doing cardio., I often have these insights that have something to do with molecular biology, physics and human nature. Hope you enjoy them.
I had two such moments tonight and the first one took place at the New York Sports Club. As I was pedaling on the stationary bike bike, holding steady at 97 RPMs, at around mile 19, I remembered a fascinating video posted on BoingBoing the other day, which was a journey into a human tooth. The camera doubled as a microscope and took us closer and closer into the physical essence of our teeth. At the core of our teeth, is calcium carbonate, a crystal. A perfectly, symmetrical, lattice-like, crystalline structure. Holy crap! I thought to myself. Our teeth are perfect crystals… our bones must be something similar! If at a skeletal level, our very architecture is crystalline… of course we humans categorize, organize, file away, and make things neat and orderly. Of course we humans… and many life forms for that matter (bees , termites, birds, horses, dolphins, geese to name a few) create either physical structures or social structures that are complex, multi-layered, orderly and hierarchical. It is in our very essence to do this. Not to mention the molecules and atoms that make everything up is ordered, hierarchical and crystalline.
Order, structure and hierarchy is the nature of the universe and so of course it will show up at a molecular level, a cellular level, at an individual level and at a cultural level too. No wonder why we feel lost without order and hierarchy. Yea, I know it is un-cool in our postmodern culture to have any kind of hierarchy and I know there is a fair amount of chaos out there in nature too, but I posit that without order and hierarchy in our individual and cultural structures, we are lost. We not only feel lost inside, as individuals, but we as a culture become a soupy mess. So in conclusion, routines are good. Discipline and regularity is good. And hierarchy in your relationships is a very good thing. Especially when what you are living for is a brighter, more creative and more conscious future together.
Revelation number two took place as I was power-walking west on 145th street. I realized that I am constantly looking to form myself… I am always looking to form my character and to put myself together. I am perpetually looking to locate my opinions, my beliefs, my current attitude and emotion so that I can form an image of myself in my head, which I can then, safely and securely project into the world.
But it dawned on me, that all the things my teacher Andrew Cohen has been saying about “being no one”* hit me like a ton of bricks. I began to stare far off into the distance. I let my face go slack, and my eyes grow wide. I was still speed walking however so I am sure the people on the sidewalk must have thought I was a little odd, but I was just stunned. What if I just stop all this assembling my self image… and embrace what it means to be no one. Suddenly I was filled with a large amount of energy and space and ease and excitement. I did not have to assemble myself. I did not have to force an image of myself into the world. I was no one… at root, I am no one and what a relief. What delight when we realize that we do not need to do anything in particular, or know anything… because deeply, at root, at our deepest core, we simply already are… and what that is, is no one… it is just a deep ease in reveling in the fact that we, I, you, me, we simply are.
No, this does not mean we stop doing things, it means we live even harder, with even more ferocity and freed-up energy, creativity and focus to create a better future together, especially with all of our consciousness liberated from focusing on and creating our self image!
Hope that made sense.
Please stay tuned for the next installment of revelations on the treadmill.
* For more information on being no one…please set aside an hour and watch this fascinating video with Thomas Metzinger, Director of the Philosophy Group at the Department of Philosophy at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. The video begins to get to the point around 19 minutes in.