Friday, November 13, 2009

Without A Body

Those little fingers move, picking up a pen. Nubby pink toes grasp the air as they move her forward, keeping balance on the large globe beneath her feet. She turns her head to the right, her eyes searching for the bright flash of red that just blinked out of existence. She is a body. A moving, flesh covered body. She walks, breathes, talks, I see her jumping on a bright green hillside, her arms swinging wildly as the soft whiteness of her moves through space. And I see her as real. She sees herself as real. For what can be more real than a body? It is the eyes she sees through, the vessel that takes her from supermarket to concert to warm bed. Is it the body that defines life? I breathe, therefore, I am. I take four steps, therefore I am. I sing a little tune, therefore I am. If she stays still. If for some reason, her body no longer responds to the command of her mind and she sits in a padded chair, unable to dance, jump or walk, is she still “here?” Her body exists, we can see it. I watch it remain motionless as four small black wheels guide her through wide city streets, but what does she feel? Is she trapped? Made powerless and motionless by the body. She can see, perhaps she can talk, but what is still inside? What is it that looks out through those eyes, what is it that still questions? Maybe the being. Maybe the still sleeping machine without mobility. I remember having a sickened feeling as I watched a man in a high-tech contraption. His head was held upright by metal poles, a tube and ventilator helped him breathe. I though to myself, “I could never live like that. Wouldn’t it just be better to die?” Motionless, still except for, perhaps, an active mind. What are we without a body? Maybe this motionless woman paints the picture of what we will all soon be without a breathing, carbon-based body. Trapped? At the mercy of something else? Is this woman with shriveled legs and skinny arms more prepared for the black spaces of the Bardo? Will she more easily recognize the falseness of the body? The illusion of the self? Or will she travel the chambers, looking for something to enter, looking for someplace that she can be “herself” again? How do we determine existence? How do we extract it from the void?

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