The discovery

my trousers What is absolutely real to me here and now, is typing these words on the keyboard of my laptop. The typing makes a noise. I see the screen and some things around the screen and meanwhile I also hear a rooster crowing in the distance. I have an itch on my arms from a sun allergy and my left index finger hurts. I am also hungry. It is time for lunch. Outside I see through the window that the weather is nice. Meanwhile, there are also thoughts about what I am writing here and how I will proceed....

And so I experience my reality as, and in, a flowing stream of impressions. There is no more. That's all I know. Maybe I'm dreaming all this, but that doesn't matter. In any case, it is the only thing I experience and really know at this moment.

Everything else I think I know I only believe and that on the basis of, hopefully, reasonable arguments. For example, I believe that I am not dreaming right now and that my girlfriend sitting next to me actually exists, in much the same way as I do.

I further believe that this body was born 68 years ago, will wear out with age (even more so), and that one day it will die. I think that is reasonable, because that is what I see happening around me to people and other living beings. I also believe that conscious experience will then disappear forever, but I don't know that for sure.

I experience moments when I feel good and moments when I feel less good or even bad. I am usually in good spirits and carefree, but sometimes I am anxious, angry, jealous, needy, bored, sad or dazed. I see things in the world that greatly frighten me, or make me angry. Five minutes later I have to weep with emotion at seeing how happy our dogs are when they can run. I hurt people and get hurt. It all happens.

What else is there to add to this? From moment to moment, THIS is it. As simple as that. And I don't do anything for it. I also can't do anything about it. I find the world, ready and waiting. The clock ticks above the mantelpiece. I watch my hands typing keys. Sometimes the hands wait a moment and then resume. Oops, spelling error. Tap tap tap. The aftertaste of coffee.

The world is an overwhelming and stunning experience. The night sky, all the plants and animals, the cities and towns, the mountains around me. The functioning of my body, the dreams in my sleep, the people I meet. Memories.

So ordinary, so extraordinary.


"Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the scars of damage, to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say "Look!" and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads."

Mary Oliver, "Mysteries, Yes"